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Open Letters to Entities Unlikely to Respond

Open Letter to Carpet

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Usually when you write a letter, the recipient writes back. But sometimes, they just can't. From time to time we air open letters to people and entities who are unlikely to respond. It's part of our ongoing series with McSweeney's online magazine. Writer Colin Joyce took some time out of ripping carpets out of his new home to send along this correspondence.

An Open Letter to the Man Who Installed the Carpet in 1974 for the Previous Owners of the Home We Just Bought.

Dear Man Who Installed the Carpet in 1974 for the Previous Owners of the Home We Just Bought,

Questions have flooded my mind over the past few weeks while my wife and I have been redecorating the home we just bought, and the majority of them can only be answered by you.

Question 1: Did you charge the previous owners by the staple? Rows upon rows of tacking boards I can understand. You wanted to keep the carpet down. But did you have a clause in the contract that allowed you to charge this poor old couple more for every staple you used? In the doorway from the hall to the second bedroom, I found over 80 staples of two different types. And even if I could overlook that, why are there about 40 staples in the middle of the room for no readily apparent reason? And while we're on the subject of the staples, did you also spin yourself dizzy before you took to the task? The staples are all a jumbled, nonsymmetrical mess. Do you know how many staples I've had to either nail down or pull out? Do you have any idea what kind of delay you put on our laminate-flooring installation? I hope you sleep well on the mattress you stuffed with the extra money you made from the poor old bats who owned this house before us.

Question 2: Had you no sense of scheme? The overall choice of green-brown was, in the '70s, the only choice to make, it seems, so I can't totally hold you responsible for that. But what I can hold you responsible for is the decision to change the color for the main bedroom from the forest-dirt brown to the bright burnt orange. Seriously, have you no morals or ethics? Even if it was a choice by the old couple, somewhere in the back of your brain a red flag must have gone up and you chose to ignore it. You chose to not say, "That would have to be the ugliest color combination I've ever heard of." Perhaps you were still lightheaded from your whirling-dervish-like stapling job to protest. I don't know. But it confuses me so.

Question 3: Did you hate everyone in the universe? You had to know that at some point the carpet would be coming up. That it would eventually be replaced in some way, shape, or form. When the idea came up to wall-to-wall-carpet the bathroom, why did you say yes? Why oh why did you say yes? Do you have any idea what 30 years of old-man pee smells like? And did you not understand that as he got older the old man who owned this house before me would have less and less accurate aim? And what of times of sickness? With vomit? Did you not think of this at all? Or did you hate the world so much you thought, "Ha ha. I'll make the poor sap that changes this carpet retch and stink like the lepers from the Middle Ages. That'll show him. It'll show them all!" Well, I am that poor sap, sir, and I need to understand why you made it so that my wife had to stay away from me for three days after I pulled up that bathroom carpet. Old-man pee is very muchlike cat pee in that it doesn't go away easily, no matter how hard you wash your skin.

Please help me understand your choices. I need closure on this harrowing experience and only you can help me.

Frumpy Jones

  • Music Bridge:
    Flacana 01
    Artist: Melodium
    CD: Flacana Flacana (Audio Dregs)
More stories from our Open Letters to Entities Unlikely to Respond series


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