If you stare too long into the muck of this world, soon enough the muck of this world will consume you. It is best then, even as we fight the good fight to make this world a better and more equitable place for all, to take a pause and find pleasure right in the midst of seeming distress. The quote from the movie Training Day comes in mind where the character played by Ethan Hawk said “all you can control in life are two things, your tears and your smiles”. So consider the launching of the Ghion Mailbag an attempt to find laughter even as we are bracketed by endless bad news.
So on this cool and overcast Fort Collins evening, I headed out to a local eatery to mix it up with the “the locals” and get a sampling of the lighthearted humor that is abundant in Northern Colorado. Let me give you a bit of an insight about the Ghion Mailbag, modeled after one of my favorite writers and sports commentators Bill Simmons’s “Sports Guy Mailbag”, this is an attempt to tear down the wall between reader and writer and in the process use humor and wit to discuss everything from sports, pop culture, and yes even politics. The intention of the Ghion Mailbag is not present a dissertation or to put out five point plans on how to solve Donald Trump’s continued mangling of the English vocabulary. The aim is to find humor in the most mundane observations or even answer serious questions with a bit of wit and levity.
With that said, welcome to the first installment of the Ghion Mailbag. I fielded five questions from five random people, a couple were from conversations I had earlier where I shared with random strangers my intentions behind the Ghion Mailbag and three were from folks I met while eating at the Alley Cat in Old Town Fort Collins. Fort Collins will serve as the launching point for the Ghion Mailbag. The Ghion Mailbag will be a weekly feature every Friday where I will field comments and questions from readers via email or occasionally in person. If you want your question to be a part of next week’s Ghion Mailbag, email the questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. With that said, on to the show.
Q: Would you rather win a year’s supply of free Starbucks Unicorn Frappucinos or the new McDonalds Crab Meat Sandwich? Noah, Ft Collins, CO
A. Whoa! First off your name is Noah and it’s raining outside. This was supposed to be a lighthearted article but now you have me thinking twice about the wisdom of not signing up for that swimming lesson at the Fort Collins Club. Just remember, when you finish that project you might happen to be working on, I put your question first so this should earn me a free pass to get on the ark right? But to answer your question, I think I would go with the McDonald’s crab meat sandwich for one reason. I still love the McRib sandwich any company that can turn a cardboard box into something so yummy has to get the nod. By the way, does this mean our choice will be between a unicorn frappucino or a crab meat sandwich on the ark? Maybe I should stop writing this article and start building my own raft. Big shout out to the Pizza Ranch in Loveland Colorado where you are the manager at. I’m thinking though, why not get a year’s supply of pizzas for the ark instead of crab meat sandwiches for the ark? Just a thought Noah.
Q: In the movie “the Usual Suspects”, is it just me or was there some sexual tension going on between the character played by Benicio Del Toro and Stephen Baldwin? Chris, Fort Collins, CO
Yo! You too! I always thought the same thing. First, let me channel Jerry Seinfeld here and say “not that there is anything wrong with that” before I lose a loyal fan base in Dupont Circle. By the way, if you see me tease people in future articles on the Ghion Mailbag, like for example I might poke at how Ethiopians love to say MTS, how women drive or how men become toddlers when taking orders from their wives, just know its all in good fun and there is nothing malicious. We should learn to laugh with each other about our quirks without laughing at each other. But back to your point Chris, there was definitely some tension going on between the two, it pretty much became explicit (spoiler alert) when Del Toro’s character was killed and you could see the expression of love lost on Stephen Baldwin’s face. Side note, Stephen Baldwin is actually not a bad actor, but he is overshadowed by his brother Alec Baldwin. It’s like the Sheen family, I guess in Hollywood there is a quota as to how many people from one family can become legit stars.
Q: How do you feel when you take a Tequila shot? Mekdelawit, Fort Collins, CO
Tequila! As my fellow Ethiopians say, “Bey bey bey!” There is a reason tequila sounds like to kill you. As far as your question ehete (sister) tequila usually has me between praying to the porcelain gods and doing a mamba on chandeliers. I’ve made more bad decisions than Sarah Palin in Alaska due to Tequila. I decided to give up Tequila for good after the famous incident in Miami back in 2004. What, you think I’m going to tell on myself? I plan on running for president in 2024 so I’ll keep that story to myself. Oops, Donald Trump just published my birth certificate and this time he is actually right. I was born in Ethiopia. Oh well, there goes my dreams of being POTUS. I guess I’ll stick to being the editor of the Ghion Journal.
Q: Is it possible to find love like Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling did in the Notebook? Jen, Fort Collins, CO
Nope! Not touching this one! Last time I admitted I saw a snippet of the Notebook to a dude at the deli, he laughed at me for 5 minutes straight. I had to disavow any and all associations with the Notebook and start talking about Mark Bavaro and Fort Mustangs to get my manhood card back. Grant it, the guy was from South Philadelphia. I would talk smack about South Philadelphia but seeing that South Philly was the only city I’ve been to where I actually felt like Haley Joel Osment in the sixth sense before he got a handle of seeing dead people, I’ll let discretion be a better part of valor and exclude all of Philly from getting my jabs from now on. No Dallas, you do not get the same treatment and you best believe I’ll be talking much trash about the Cowgirls, Tony Romo and …..oops I just fumbled the rest of this sentence. This always happens when I say Tony Romo!
Q. What are the chances of the New York Yankees winning the World Series this year? Ken, Fort Collins, CO
The only team I hate worse than the Cowgirls! The damn Yank-deez! First off, what is a Yankees fan doing in Colorado? Aren’t you supposed to be a Colorado, Rockies fan? Oh never mind, I forgot that the Rockies are a AAA team. Well there goes my Colorado readership! But on a serious note, back to your question, let me answer it this way since I am a Red Sox fan. How about 2004! Every conversation from now on about the Yankees will be answered with the year the Red Sox broke the dreaded curse by beating the Yankees! By the way Boston, I want a statue on Yawkee Ave right next to Ted Williams because the “Sawx” won the World Series on October 27th, 2004, which happens to be my birthday and I was there in Boston partying it up with the rest of Bean Town. And you thought it was Big Papi that was the hero of 2004. It was Big Teddy, you can just make it a small statue next to “the Splendid Splinter”. But on a somber note, sports will never be the same after 2004–nothing will compare to the pure ecstasy of the baseball post-season in 2004.
On that note, this ends the first installment of the Ghion Mailbag. Check back next Friday for more from our readers and from random encounters in my travels. As noted above, if you have future questions you want me to answer or pontificate about, email the questions to email@example.com using the subject header of “Ghion Mailbag”. Thank you everyone, have a great evening and a greater weekend. I am going to unwind and watch the Notebook tonight. Oops! I mean I’m going to watch MMA ultimate fighter!
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.