The Precedence of the Swamp Thing

December 24, 2006 at 5:49 pm 3 comments

When I lived in the dorms in college, letter writing was more mainstream than it is today.  That’s a sign of the times– it was before email had really taken hold.  Checking mail was always a highlight of the day, going down to the lobby and getting letters from my family or my high school friends.  Well one day a little pink slip showed up in my box.  It turned out someone sent me a letter with insufficient postage.  My instructions were to come to the Post Office near University Mall to pay the debt in exchange for the letter.  I did not have a car at the time, so I believe me and Brian Nenninger and possibly Alex Moskwa spent an evening learning all about the BT so we could take a bus out to the post office.  I don’t remember what the letter ended up being, but I do clearly remember it not being worth the journey.

A little later in the year, Alex started getting mysterious voicemail messages.  Some clever guys in his dorm dubbed Alex “Swamp Thing” and would leave ground breaking, late night messages such as, “Hey Swamp Thing, You Reek.  You Reek, Swamp Thing!”  We always got a kick out of listening to the messages especially when the calculated pranksters forgot their extension was being appended to the message. 🙂 

Brian and I excelled at silly projects to entertain ourselves in the wee hours of the night.  For example, one time we took it open ourselves to decorate a forgotten bulletin board on the fourth floor of our dorm with information for the Virginia Tech Pencil Twirling Club.  Another time, we left message to a….well, very promiscious, female friend of ours on the ceiling of the study lounge.  It pretty much read, “Hi <name of girl>, On Your Back Again?”  It took a while, but she did finally found our message and interestingly enough, she was in the company of a male when she found it. 😉 

Well one evening, Brian and I decided to target Alex with our boredom.  At the time, we were pretty infatuated with a symbol font similiar to Wing Dings.  This particular font included a skull and crossbones image.  So one night, we printed out a page full of little skulls (think Font Size 6 or smaller) and then lovingly cut out each and every one of those skulls.  Next we generated a letter to Alex.  It started off with “HEY SWAMP THING!” then we used our favorite symbol font to articulate a simple message.  Below is a quick reenactment:

This is another sign of the changing times.  This letter was pretty innocent and funny.  I think nowadays a letter such as this would not be viewed so lightly.

Anyway, we put all those tiny, recently liberated skulls into the letter, folded it up and then we mailed it without a stamp.  So our thought was Alex would get the pink message about the letter would have to take the bus all the way to the Post Office, pay the postage and open it to find our goofy message AND as a final slight when he opened it, all the tiny little skulls would scatter all over the place making a mess.  It was a brilliant plan.

Unfortunately, the three of us always hung out at Brian’s dorm room to watch TV, eat sweets and play Doom on the computer.  Alex was on Brian’s computer and noticed a weird file called “SwampThing”.  So before Alex could ever receive the notification about the letter, the “surprise” was ruined.

This week, thanks to my delays at O’Hare airport, I didn’t quite have much time to get myself situated before returning to the office and leaving town for the Christmas holiday.  As I rushed around yesterday getting everything situated for my next trip, I took the very last batch of Christmas cards down to my mailbox.  I managed to get them there just in time– a little while later the mailman came by and exchanged our outgoing cards for a couple of incoming cards and a bill.

A couple of hours and roughly a hundred miles later, a  realization suddenly struck me.  I addressed every envelope, I sealed every envelope and affixed a bland return address label on each one.   BUT…. I never stamped the latest batch of cards! 

Please, please, please, please, please, please, Post Office.  Please tell me you’ve changed your policy about making the recipient pay for the missing postage. 

That last batch of Christmas cards contain a lot of people I don’t know that well.  They are recipients through marriage– Sean’s extended family and childhood friends.  Although I’m sure the recipients would not have to take a public transportation trek to the post office, I seriously don’t think it would be a worthwhile investment.

Hi!  You don’t know me!  I married someone you barely know!  Listen to how I hiked in Colorado and Tennesee this year whether you are interested or not.  Oh yeah, one more thing– please pay 39 cents for the privilege of reading this.

Maybe this is yet another sign of the changing times.  What was good and amusing in college, is a bit of an embarassment now.  What was good for the Swamp Thing, is certainly not fitting for Christmas Cards. 

Entry filed under: Alex Moskwa, Brian N, Christmas Card.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Clint  |  December 25, 2006 at 3:49 pm

    How much do I have to pay for the priviledge of reading this blog post?!

  • 2. tgaw  |  December 29, 2006 at 12:42 am

    Phew. Most of the letters were back in my mailbox today.

    Though I did note one to an ill woman in a nursing home is missing…. Nice! 🙂

  • 3. Christina  |  December 29, 2006 at 5:03 am

    Funny story, but I remember Alex being called Swamp Thing in high school too. Hmmm…


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