Recently I was going through my December mail (I like to let my mail age for several months, in case it contains scorpions) when I came across a letter from a Mr. Fred Jellin, who identifies himself as a vice president for Baker Maid Products, "the largest producer of Fruit Cake of the finest quality."
Mr. Jellin was unhappy with a column I wrote about a Christmas tradition that my mother and I invented, in which we celebrated the annual arrival of a gift fruitcake by slamming it in our kitchen door.
Mr. Jellin allowed as how this column might have been "written tongue in cheek," but states, "we don't accept this kind of humor when the subject is fruit cake." He further states that "we bake and ship 2,000 cakes a day!"
I was frankly shocked by this letter. Like most people, I have long believed that nobody actually makes fruitcakes.
I believed that all fruitcakes were formed thousands of years ago by some kind of horrible natural catastrophe involving (1) fruit; (2) cake; and (3) a radioactive meteorite. I subscribed to the widespread theory that these ancient fruitcakes had been circulating as "gifts" ever since, being passed from person to person, with nobody ever actually eating them.
And now I find out that there is an organized conspiracy, calling itself "Baker Maid Products," that is deliberately making more fruitcakes, and putting them into circulation at the rate of 2,000 a day, and bragging about it!
Here's my question: You know how scientists claim that global warming is causing the oceans to rise, and if something isn't done, eventually North America will be covered by water as far inland as Mason City, Iowa, the result being that -- among other disasters -- the nation's entire pig population could be stung to death by jellyfish?
Well, what if the real problem is not that the oceans are rising? What if, in fact, the continents are sinking, under the weight of all these new fruitcakes, which are the densest objects on earth, other than World Wrestling Federation fans?
When is the Food and Drug Administration going to recognize what is happening and take some kind of firm regulatory action against "Baker Maid Products" involving nuclear missiles? And wouldn't "The Pig-Stinging Jellyfish" be a good name for a rock band?
Speaking of fruitcakes: I also received some unhappy mail from an "L. Edwards," who got his (or possibly her) dander up over a column I wrote about the California power shortage.
"L. Edwards" was particularly upset about my explanation of where electricity comes from, which was that when lightning strikes the earth, it goes underground and hardens into coal, which is then burned in generators to form electricity.
"SHAME ON YOU!" wrote "L. Edwards" across my column in large letters with a marking pen. "Electricity does not harden into coal! I think you should be wary of telling untrue scientific facts."
"L. Edwards," you are certainly entitled to your opinion, and far be it from me to suggest that you are a great big wienerhead.
But it just so happens that my theory that coal is hardened electricity fits perfectly with the thinking of some of the world's leading scientific minds. And when I say "some of the world's leading scientific minds," I am referring specifically to Mr. Harold Jones of Tulsa, Okla.
In response to my electricity column, Mr. Jones sent me a letter explaining his theory, which he summarizes as follows: "Electricity is smoke!"
Mr. Jones contends that electrical circuits work by means of smoke traveling from place to place inside wires.
By way of proof, he points out: "Every time you let the smoke out of an electrical circuit, it no longer works. You can test this at home. If you have a wall outlet that is black where the smoke has leaked out, plug something in, and you will see that it no longer works."
I would like to see "L. Edwards," or any other so-called "critic," poke a hole in Mr. Jones' tightly reasoned theory.
It is probably the most important scientific breakthrough since Albert Einstein discovered the Theory of Relativity, which states that time and space are relative, which explains why time goes slower, and space gets smaller, when you are with your relatives. I assume that Harold Jones will soon be receiving the Nobel Prize, which comes with a nice cash award. Plus, you get a fruitcake.