From: Randofo1@aol.com
To: krayala@stevens.edu
Subject: A word about the future.
Date: Tue, 29 Aug 2006 22:56:51 -0500

Recent High School Graduate:

Your cousin Danica says I have to encourage you, so let this be encouraging. Let it be known that the future is a funny place, but I would avoid laughing in its face or it will shank you with a box-cutter. You see, not only is the future a funny place, but it is also an extremely violent one with little sense of compassion. In some manner, the future is like a clown. At least, that is always how I envisioned clowns to behave. I've never really encountered a clown up close and personal and for that I am grateful. The future on the other hand, that, I have encountered. And if you can believe, not all that long ago I was in the same position that you find yourself in now. I had just graduated from high school and I was living with my parents and wanted nothing more than to move far away and go to college. For you see, college is a land in which candy rains from the heavens and is collected in the pressed together bosoms of females who are trying far too hard to assert their independence. And you may think that these waifs are naive, wild, fun and maybe even cute depending on how large of a drunken stupor you find yourself in. However, the next day you will come to your senses strapped to your bed with duct tape and robbed of all your valuables. And you may even be tempted to call Danica, just one more time, and arrange for another date, but I wouldn't recommend it. You see, Danica is your cousin and I doubt you would even go on a first date with your cousin, let alone a second. And since I have great faith that as you move forward into the world you won't date your cousin, you do not have to worry about arranging for a second meeting with her to find out what she did with all of the stuff she stole from your apartment on the first date. You will find that most stable relationships start with bringing a girl home to burglarize your apartment. You will also find that potato knishes are cheap and tasty treats. Whether or not they are baked or fried, potato knishes are good. Which brings me to my next point, as you move forward into the world, you may encounter things that are new or strange to you and trust me on this, seventy-three percent of the time, I would recommend eating them. Unless of course, the warning label says otherwise. Then you should call the National Poison Control Center. Learn their number, it is important. It is also important to find a laundromat that will wash your clothes for you for less than a dollar a pound. A dollar a pound or more is highway robbery. Speaking of which, to avoid being robbed by highway bandits, don't go to empty parking lots, deserted waterfronts or most parts of Brooklyn at night. Never go to the Bronx for anything more than a Yankee game. And most importantly, stay away from Native American casinos. They are not really owned by Native Americans. You can not trust them. Nor under any circumstance should you ever trust anybody. Remember trust is painstakingly earned and not assumed. Most people, even the ones you think you are in love with after one date, are simply trying to rob your apartment. Especially the ones you think you love after one drug-induced date. Stay away from people who try to drug you. Do not accept drinks or candy from strangers. Keep a good eye on your kidneys. Always look for suspicious packages while riding on the subway and especially while riding on the PATH train because nobody likes commuters or people from New Jersey. Which brings me to my next point, once you have lived in Hoboken for more than a week, you are a New Yorker and you must tell anyone who asks that you are from New York. Do not tell them that you are from New Jersey or Hoboken, but New York. Your life in that taxi depends on that answer. Speaking of which, always make sure that a taxi is coming to a complete stop before walking in front of it. You can avoid getting run over most of the time by making eye contact with the driver and glaring at them as though you want to disembowel them with a shard of broken glass. It is important to know how to get what you want. Even if that involves drugging someone and robbing their apartment. It is a dog eat dog kind of world. Your parents know this, but let's face it, it's a dog eat dog world. Why would they tell you? Once you go off to college it will dawn upon you that your parents were out to get you all along. They were too overbearing or too permissive, it does not matter which. Fault them either which way and blame them for everything. Remember, you are independent now. However, only fault them superficially because that is what therapy is for later in life. You are too young to work out the details. Enjoy yourself. Go to the park. Go to the park whenever the weather is nicer than class. Winter is long and cold and summers are long and hot. The weather in the real world is only nice a couple of weeks a year in both spring and autumn. Walk with a spring in your step, keep your shoulders back and your head held high. Make eye contact with everyone, it intimidates them. Intimidate everyone in your path. Remember, it is a dog eat dog world. Don't take metaphors literally. You are not a dog and dogs are your friend, not your food. Eat healthily and eat heartily. Food is much better when you don't ever actually have to prepare it yourself. Never prepare food yourself, it is cheaper to eat out than buy groceries. Don't just eat out, but go out too. Go out a lot, but don't go out too much. Concentrate on your studies and try to graduate on time. Don't be scared to change your major. Most people do at least once. Take your time. But don't take so much time that you never graduate. It is important that you graduate and get a degree. Any degree. You will be grateful later that you got your degree even if it is in the Pedagogy of Basket-Weaving and you end up a scuba instructor in Morocco. You don't need to use your degree, you just need to get it. Ultimately, getting a job depends upon the amount of internships and free-labor you contribute to our market-economy. If all else fails, learn to scuba dive and secure a work visa. Ummm... that's about it. Good luck.

Sincerely,
Randy

and

love,
Danica
(who actually drugged me, glued me to a chair and forced me to write this letter)