Open Letters to Strangers

Dear Buff Guy With Orange Tank Top and Matching Orange Shorts,

Dear Buff Guy With Orange Tank Top and Matching Orange Shorts,

You probably don’t remember me, but we ran into each other at the Whole Foods salad bar recently. Well, we didn’t exactly run into each other – I saw your perfectly coordinated orange outfit, turned to my fiancé and said, “Holy shit I’ll be right back, I have to take a picture of that fuckin’ guy over there.”

I’m not a huge fan of sneaking pictures of people in public (yes I am), but I think I took your picture because I knew I needed time to process it all – more time than the situation would have allowed me to do.

We ran into each other around dinner time. I had just finished work for the day, and you had probably just gotten out of your job as a trapeze artist.

Dear Old Guy With Glorious Beer Belly,

I’m a little nervous writing this letter, as I’m pretty sure you are my hero.

Other people that saw you on the beach that day might have made fun of you. They might have said, “check it out, that guy’s shirt got stuck on his man-tits!” Or, “He looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger from Junior!” Even, “I bet his old man nutbag is gonna pop out of those tiny Euro shorts any second!”

But not me. I was jealous.

See, you get life. You don’t wonder for a single second what other people are going to think – your outfit more than proves that. Peer pressure isn’t in your vocabulary. The amount of fucks you give is absolutely zero. Is that not the most freeing feeling there is? The kind of freedom that this country was founded on?

I exist in a constant state of peer pressure. Are these jeans cool enough? Tight enough? But not too tight, right? I can’t even wear an outfit (she’s even got me calling it an outfit) that my fiancé isn’t 100% happy with, because I don’t like the disapproving look I’ll be getting all night unless I change into a shirt that goes better with the pants I have on (which she also picked out).  

Do you know how happy it would make me to throw on a backwards hat (and not give a shit about what logo it had on it), a pair of tiny, weird shorts because they were the first thing I pulled out of my drawer, and top it off by rolling up my red t-shirt over my big, jolly gut simply because it was warm out and it felt better that way? I’d punch a stranger right in the mouth – without apologizing – to feel that kind of pure, sweet freedom and peace of mind.

And your beer belly. That glorious, glorious beer belly. 99% of the world is self-conscious, and would think of that bad boy as something they should try to hide. Not you, sir. Not you. You’ve pulled your shirt up to let it out, ready to give that gut a tan. Is there anything that screams pure confidence more than a tan beer belly?

That baby just oozes life experience. Inside that ball of fat is a story – decades of stories. What were the 1950s like, gut? Tell me, I know the answer is in there.

Thanks for Everything,


Dear Inflatable Shark Trio,

Wassup bros?

What a day you three have ahead, just gnarlin’ out, soakin’ in some rays. Sad I wasn’t invited!

I’m gonna take a stab in the dark here and say that you gents aren’t locals. Travelers, perhaps? Well if you were looking to blend in, let me tell ya… you didn’t.

This is how I picture the hour or so before we crossed paths:

“Whoa dudes, we can’t show up to the beach without some water supplies! We’ll look like total kooks!” you must’ve said. With that, you could have gone to one of the many, many surf shops within 2 blocks of where this photo was taken – but that’s too easy.

“Vons!” your friend suggested. “Bingo,” you replied.

After pushing fun noodles and beach balls aside (the rookie stuff), you stumbled onto the jackpot… an inflatable, smiling, light blue shark.

Representing thousands of years of ocean dominance and striking fear into anything and everything it comes across, what could be better to ring you three in as local beachgoers? Ring that baby up at the check-out counter and hit the waves!

Carrying Sammy the Shark under your arm the same way surfers carry their boards, you three dudeskis walking up and down the beach, finding the best section of surf to get Sammy wet.

I can’t help my curiosity, but what was your plan with Sammy in the water? Watching you try to paddle out while balancing on him would be a treat. Also, were you planning on all taking turns, or trying your luck all at once? Poor Sammy’s back might give out!

Jokes aside, I admire your go-get-em attitude. Another guy out there who gives zero fucks what some A-hole local surfer might say, and just wants to hop on an inflatable, smiling, light blue shark just to feel the power of the ocean pick you up and push you all the way to shore.

Surf’s up dudes!


Dear Lady With Butt Cleavage at Ralphs,

Holy hell, I don't even know where to start. 

Look, I get it. We're both at Ralph's, not Whole Foods. There is no pretension, you can let your guard down and you aren't judged here, but I feel like you were abusing it a little yesterday. So it's time to judge.

You're barefoot. You sure you wanna be rockin' naked feet in the same Ralph's where I was once stopped outside and warned that a homeless man cut himself in there and there was blood on the floor? At least slap some of those almost-expired hamburger patties on the floor and stand on those. Also, hairbrush? No? Oh, okay.

I'm beating around the bush here, and I apologize for that. The glaring reason I snapped this picture is because you took one of the best things and ruined it for me. That's right, you ruined cleavage.

Thanks a lot. I thought cleavage was un-ruinable, but you proved me wrong. It took everything I had not to flick nickels into that loose change holder you've got back there. Couldn't you feel the breeze from that refrigerator thats keeping the meat cool shooting down that exposed crack? Maybe it feels nice and I'm missing out.

If others find it appealing, I'm sorry. But I would advise them against sticking their arm in there unless they want to get their arm stuck in that crevice in a 127 hours-type situation. Lord knows what else you might find down there, besides other weary traveler's severed arms. And the nickels I flicked.