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Senior Correspondent

To: Benjamin Franklin
From: Yo Momma

July 1777

Benji, why haven’t I heard from you? While you were signing all those declarations and had the quill out couldn't you drop me a line? I received your thank you note for the Chinese urn, but I hoped for a real letter. Not that your letters are always cheerful. Why do you still resent being one of seventeen children? You had to wear hand-me-downs. So? Your sister isn't that much bigger than you. If you’re so smart, why didn't you tell your father that an ounce of prevention was worth — well, never mind.

Ben, there are a couple of things I want to talk to you about. I heard you were seen in Congress last week wearing those stupid tiny spectacles called granny glasses? Are you a granny? No! So stop it! Get something more fashionable. Speaking of luck, you are pushing yours. Everyone knows about your little escapades. If you’re not careful, your wife — what’s-her-name — is sure to find out. I've learned about the new one you’re sneaking around with, Penny Pupnik. Ben, listen to your mother, I’m telling you for your own good. The next time you are with her and you hear your wife approaching, you’d better hide her in the vase. Believe me, a Penny urned is a Penny saved. Oh, stop groaning.

Speaking of smashing, that’s exactly what I wanted to do to your nose after I read your latest remark: “When man and woman die as poets have sung, his heart’s the last that moves; her last the tongue.” That was so typically choov … Chauvin … shavinis … well, you know what I mean. One more slur like that and you’ll have to change the name of your almanac to “Poor Benny’s.” By the way, there is no k in the word “almanac,” sweetheart.
I’m worried about your instability. You have been a cartoonist, a printer, an editor, an inventor, a scientist, a philosopher, a statesman … I mean, how do you think that looks on your employment application in these tough times? Frankly, Benji, I think you need counseling which is the actual purpose of this letter.

I’ve learned about a wonderful new therapy group. I’m sure you’ll benefit from it. A couple of the people attending may be in worse shape than you, believe me, so you needn't be shy. One of them, Marie Curie, insists on being called Madame, of all things. Anyway, her husband persuaded her to attend the meeting because she cannot cook worth a darn. He says every time she goes into the kitchen he hears pots rattling and things bubbling on the fire, but when he asks “What’s for dinner?” she says “Nothing!” It is driving him nuts. Then there’s a man named Morse. What a nervous Nelly he is! Can’t sit still for a minute without tapping his fingers — on tables, chairs, anything he gets his hands on. Just don’t sit next to him unless you need a massage.

I think this twelve-step program would be good for you. Listen, Benji, I only want you to find yourself — to be happy. Perhaps, if you listen to your mother, you’ll amount to something. Most of all remember what you yourself told me. “If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it from him … ” Just what the heck does that mean? Get help!


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