SUNDAY MAIL | In Case You Were Wondering

mailboxesDear Mom,

In case you were wondering, the check you wrote me for $200 in order to pay for therapy has just been deposited, exchanged for goods, and now whiskey swishes around in my stomach. So in case you wondering, I’m writing this drunk.





Dear Dad,

In case you were wondering, I do at times speculate on what my life would be like if you were still alive. Miserable, most likely. Though maybe we would bond while smoking cigarettes together on the back porch. But aside from that, yes, miserable.

No Thanks,



Dear Elizabeth Gilbert,

Drink. Hate. Die.




Dear Kate,

In case you were wondering, back in 2009 when I stayed at your house to go to a friend’s wedding nearby and the next morning you woke me up as everyone in the house was leaving except for the baby and myself, it was I who made and ate all four packages of the Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip cookie dough with your large wooden spoon that I didn’t feel like washing and so I buried it in your trash can. I blame the hangover.




Dear Freud,

I wanted to inform you that a spoon and a lighter are not two random objects. And furthermore, I am not envious.

From a Pussy Lovin’ Lady,



Dear Therapist,

Sorry I was drunk last week.




Dear Ex-Girlfriend,

In case you were wondering, I haven’t given up on a reunion.

‘Til Then,



Dear Norman Mailer,

Please stop raping and killing women in the first twenty-five pages of your novels.

No respect,



Dear Next Person Who Will Sit in This Window Seat, 12 A,

In case you were wondering, the stewardess with the platinum blonde hair and cherry red lipstick smudged on her bleached sparkling teeth threw up during our flight, and so you do not have a barf bag tucked into the pocket in front of you.

Good Luck,



Dear Ayn Rand,

If you write another speech for a character in your next book, please read it out loud and time yourself in order to get an idea of how long it is. John Galt’s speech, for instance, is three hours long. I know John Galt is important to the plot, but over 100 pages devoted to his speech is the definition of superfluous. If you are struggling with this, anyone who knows how to read can help you out.

Much Appreciated,



Dear Aunt D,

In case you were wondering, my heart rate increased by 9 more beats per minute when, after I told you I was getting married, you said “Well isn’t that cute?”

Well aren’t you an asshole,



Dear the Asshole Jerkface Assclown Fuckface Who Stole My Bike From the Stop Sign at Farragut and Clark While I was Working a Sixteen-Hour Shift Across the Street,

In case you were wondering I hope you are a straight, homophobic dude and are unsuccessful at removing the “I Heart my Cunt” sticker wheatpasted to the bar underneath the seat. And the gay pride one, too.




Dear Emily Dickinson—

Please revisit the proper use of dashes—




Dear Brown Blanket,

In case you were wondering I have no intentions of washing you anytime soon even though there is a mountain range of cum stains all over you. My reason for this is that you have a confusing texture going on—a texture that somehow feels soft and pillowy when against a naked back, but feels scratchy and stiff when grasped in a non-sexual context. I get shivers when I hold you in my hands.

Thanks for Your Understanding,



Dear Girl Scout Who Sold 117 Boxes of Girl Scout Cookies within Two Hours as You Set Up Your Table Outside of a Marijuana Dispensary,

I’m wondering if you could help me learn how to find my place in the world where I will serve my purpose and succeed.

Many Thanks,



Chelsey Clammer received her MA in Women’s Studies from Loyola University Chicago, and is currently enrolled in the Rainier Writing Workshop MFA program. She has been published in The Rumpus, Atticus Review, and The Nervous Breakdown among many others. She is an award-winning and Pushcart Prize nominated essayist. Clammer is the Managing Editor and Nonfiction Editor for The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review, as well as a columnist and workshop instructor for the journal. She is also the Nonfiction Editor for The Dying Goose. Her first collection of essays, There is Nothing Else to See Here, is forthcoming from The Lit Pub, Fall 2014. You can read more of her writing at:


SUNDAY MAIL | To the Starbucks Woman

starbucks windowTo the 50ish-year-old white woman with really-poorly dyed blonde hair in the pale pink North Face vest who bitched the fuck out of the super-fabulous flamboyantly gay Starbucks barista with a gap in between his front teeth and an awesome white paisley-designed black tie on because he put only one pump of sugar-free vanilla syrup in your grande skinny no-foam latte instead of one and a half pumps and who, after the super-fabulous flamboyantly gay Starbucks barista assured you in the most commendable the-customer-is-always-right voice that there was the correct amount of espresso in your drink, rolled not just your eyes at him but your entire neck and said Well at least you know how to do one thing right,







NONFICTION | Cracking Up Is No Laughing Matter

Former Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry cracks a joke about his popularity: “I am clearly more popular than Reagan. I am in my third term. Where's Reagan? Gone after two!”
Former Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry cracks a joke about his popularity: “I am clearly more popular than Reagan. I am in my third term. Where’s Reagan? Gone after two!”

“If there was anyone qualified for the highest office in the land, it’s the highest mayor in the land,” cracked late-night comic, Jay Leno, of Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford.

For decades, politicians’ indiscretions have been fodder for late-night comedians and have provided laughs for the general public. With the recent publicity that Rob Ford, Toronto’s Mayor, received for smoking cracking during one of his “drunken stupors,” we think back to Washington, D.C.’s Mayor Marion Barry, when he was caught on video illegally smoking crack at the Vista hotel in 1990.

When I first heard about the Marion Barry incident while at college in St. Louis, I could only find humor in this occurrence. What I didn’t consider was that 1987 was the height of crack use in D.C. when drug lords were practically running the city, unemployment and homicides were at an all-time high, the city’s deficit was over $285 million and D.C.’s public agencies were in disrepair. The city was falling apart at the seams, and our womanizing Mayor was smoking crack and getting drunk. After this debacle, Barry was rewarded by Washington, D.C.’s citizens by electing him as a fourth-term mayor and subsequent seat on the City Council. While the jokes pervaded on radio and TV shows, I wasn’t laughing.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smokes his way to the top.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smokes his way to the top.

Fast-forward twenty years later, and we’re confronted yet again with a crack-smoking mayor and a cocaine sniffing congressman. I can’t help but wonder if Mr. Ford should be focused on Toronto’s tepid economic growth rate, the first decline in Toronto’s manufacturing sector since 2009 and the 28 percent decrease in residential construction? While Torontonians are confronted with these important issues, Mr. Ford not only decided to remain in office but he also was rewarded with an invitation from a D.C. radio station to join the “Sports Junkies” show, where the “avid sports fan” will be giving his weekly National Football League picks. No joke.                                        

And how about Republication Congressman Trey Radel of Florida? Rather than buying 3.5 grams of cocaine in a car parked outside a Dupont Circle restaurant, less than three miles from The White House and U.S. Capitol, shouldn’t Mr. Radel be more focused on the ongoing issues with the unemployment benefits website that’s negatively impacting Floridians?

Let’s look at some other facts. The Partnership at tells us that teenagers in America, aged 12 to 17, have:

  • Increased their use of ecstasy (aka “Molly”) by 128 percent between 2005 and 2011.
  • Used heroin in the past year rose from 373,000 in 2007 to 669,000 in 2012.
  • Misused and abused prescription drugs – up 33% since 2008.     
  • Increased their use of marijuana by 80%, and since 2008, one in ten teens report using marijuana at least 20 times a month.

An obvious point needs to be made: It’s okay for public officials to smoke crack, be publicly drunk and purchase illegal drugs when at work. In fact, they may even get promoted. They may even get a raise. But I guess we get something out of it. I mean, we get to laugh, and they get rewarded, so it must be a win-win situation, right?

In a recent article, “Mayors, cocaine and who we are,” Clinton Yates, a D.C. native and Washington Post online columnist, nails another important point. “It’s a different world now than it was in 1990. Between social media and 24-hour news networks, a white Canadian mayor admitting that he uses drugs is looked at as a source of comedy. In those days, it was a reason to vilify a majority-black city for a drug epidemic that took countless lives. The idea being: look at those people, even their mayor is hooked. Overlooking the obvious public health issue about how drugs, incarceration practices and policing issues affect communities.” And, it’s no laughing matter to anyone whose life has been “legitimately affected by drugs.”

If I got caught smoking crack on the job, I’m pretty certain I’d be fired.

So I wonder what Congressman Radel’s reward will be.


Peter J. Goodman’s first book, Win-Win Career Negotiations, was published by Penguin Books in 2002. He has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and Publishers Weekly, among other national publications. He is currently earning a Masters of Arts in Writing at The Johns Hopkins University and resides in Washington, DC.