When we were in college together, Rodney and I used to cram each other’s campus mailboxes full of FunMail. FunMail could be anything we found that amused us, anything we made that amused us, or anything that we thought would amuse the other. As long as it was amusing and could be shoved into the small campus box, it was game.
It was not surprising for me to find things like glitter-filled pantyhose, handmade buttons, oddly shaped twigs, hand-drawn cartoons and poetry scribbled on torn bits of colored paper and safety-pinned together, nearly deflated balloons filled with paint, humorous stories written in his distinctive scrawl, a small box of hair, Barbie Doll arms, a bottle-cap lined in cork with a tiny picture of a kitten stamped inside, and even comic books with all the “talk bubbles” whited out and new, Rod-approved phrases penned in.
One year, unbeknownst to me, he signed us up for the Big Boy Birthday Club. I was delighted to receive a Big Boy Decoder Card, and for some time afterwards all of the notes we stuffed into each other’s campus boxes was written in Secret Big Boy Code.
After graduation he moved to San Francisco and became something of a starving artist. Not deterred by a lack of funds for postage, he set about signing me up for all sorts of free, wacky magazines and brochures. I always knew he was behind my getting things like “The Chickenboy Catalog for a Perfect World” and “Ruby Montana’s Pinto Pony” because my Secret Big Boy Name was on the label.
It’s unfortunate that I do not have access to my camera this week (as hubby has it with him) because I have just received the largest FunMail parcel ever! The bulging priority envelope was decorated with loads of hand-drawn characters, Barbie tape, action hero glitter stickers and wacky poetry. Inside were alternative newspapers, loads of vegetarian menus from around SanFran, art happenings, and several CDs wrapped in eye-blinding vivid paper, including one of his own band, Minnie Pearl Necklace.
He wrote across the parcel in small pen “This is to entice you to visit me, my dear….”
Maybe this will be the year I make it out there to see him. It’s been 15 years since we last hugged.