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1995feb17. The day after Valentine’s Day, I received a letter from “Compatible Connections,” addressed to “THE SINGLE PERSON AT ... ” It contained two pieces of paper - one, a letter of introduction, and the other, a list of questions.

“In today’s world, single people are faced with a challenge that is unique to the onset of the 21st century. It is not in meeting new people or even finding relationships. The challenge is finding compatible, fun, lasting relationships. This eludes single people of all ages.

You know that somewhere, there is the person who shares your leisure interests, your moral outlook, the person who has an intellect, temperament, economic and education background, that’s right for you.”

The letter continues with the normal singles connection minutiae we’ve all become familiar with. The enclosed list of questions, however, are from Mars. I present them to you in their entirety.

Should the theory of evolution be taught in public schools?

Should single men and women ever take trips together otherwise unescorted?

For you to be happily married, must you have an extremely affectionate spouse?

Is religious instruction necessary for all children?

Can theft ever be justified?

Does our society place too much significance on sex?

Do people feel you are a critical person?

Do you normally repeat the “Good Jokes” that you hear?

Can you be made to “Fly off the handle” (lose your temper) easily?

If children want to select a specific religion, should they be permitted to do so?

Is going to night clubs permissible for those people that work with children?

Do open displays of affection among teenagers tend to bother you?

Does the opposite sex hold a very strong attraction for you?

Comparatively speaking, did you enjoy your life as a child?

Would you prefer to spend most of your time with other people?

After you die, will you be penalized for your sins on earth?

Is a jury trial the best way of obtaining justice?

For a successful marriage, do you feel romantic love is a must?

Does being shy cause you problems?

Do your moods rise and fall for reasons you can’t explain?

Are you called upon once in a while to lead at social functions?

Are you a consistent church goer?

Should women become attorneys and judges?

Do “Off Color” jokes and stories tend to disgust you?

Would a quiet spouse please you more than a lively one?

Are you sensitive about certain things?

In your opinion, are social functions worthwhile?

Would you rather associate with “God-fearing” people who attend church?

Does a Supreme Being control mankind?

Should more stringent divorce laws be enacted?

Is sexual compatibility necessary for a successful marriage?

When entertaining friends, do you really enjoy yourself?

Do you often feel “Down in the dumps” – just plain miserable?

Do social activities appeal to you more than staying home?

Is tremendous good on earth brought about by religion?

Is it all right for married men to associate with “other women” outside of business?

In your opinion, are you an affectionate and warm person?

Does an open display of affection normally cause you to respond?

Does membership in social organizations and clubs appeal to you?

Do you believe in a “life hereafter?”

Are most viewers adversely affected by shows displaying sexually suggestive performers?

When you are with strangers do you feel uncomfortable?

Is your attitude toward life usually happy and even tempered?

Are you usually a sound sleeper?

Do you feel your prayers are answered by a Supreme Being?

Is it all right for women to ask men for dates?

Should children be given sex education in school?

Is the company of the opposite sex more enjoyable to you than that of your own?

Does nervous tension cause you to have aches and pains?

When criticized by others are your feelings easily hurt?

The bottom of the page lists the copyright date of the form: 1969.

1995feb17. Route 66 Fiasco (part 4 of 4).

Yes, I’ve been a bit lax in serving up this latest fine missive. Please understand, the holidays always take a while to get used to. For instance, you may be receiving holiday-type cards from me (if you’re one of those people on the list that actually knows me apart from these strange words appearing on your screen and the ever-popular X Magazine, which will not be talked about at all in this missive, ain’t life grand?) within the next month, and I think you’re going to like them. They’re satin, they’re lace ... they’re beautiful.

Lucky takes a dive in the first round: The Routed 66 trip.

[Note: This factual account of the Route 66 road trip contains references to gunplay and is recommended for mature audiences. It also has the word “bastard” in it.]

If you’ve been paying attention to previous missives, you may have seen more-than-passing references to the highly touted X Magazine staff car Christmas exchange, an event which went horribly awry and left the celebrants in odd state of shock and disbelief. To wit: it threw a rod in Bloomington, Illinois. The car drove like a champ all the way to Michigan City, Indiana, the hand-off was made, Doc (looking resplendent in his Santa suit and Bono “fly” sunglasses) and Burford (playing the part of “elf,” phoning major airports trying to arrange a pick-up of the rest of his costume on the way) drove off on a foggy night with the heater cranked, ready for adventure. When they stopped for the night, they were refused lodging at a Famous National Low-Cost Hotel Chain Thing (1:00am: “Ummmm ... we have a BIG PARTY coming in tonight, don’t we?” “Yeah, YEAH!”) but were accepted at the Days Inn (“Where America Shops/Works/Eats/Sleeps”). The next morning, the car ran funny (that is, funnier than a car with the top cut off and Little People frescos on it could run) for awhile and then left a 300 yard oil slick behind it while putting several holes in the oil pan. Reports are sketchy at this point (The Drop-Off Crew, including the author, were secure in Chicago proper during this fracas, put up by Liz) but apparently shots were fired at Lucky; the elf was packing heat. Six holes in Lucky’s head (all responsibly placed within a small distance of each other) finished the bastard off for good. The rest of the Drop-Off Crew went to retrieve our stranded heroes (and the bran’ spankin’ new battery!), while I took a train home, physically exhausted from a strict regimen of being mysteriously, continuously ill. Sure, I left out a lot of details, but I wasn’t there, I was trying to sleep while listening to my seatmates, the only people talking in that car; a thirty-seven year-old dad and his eight-year old son. It has nothing to do with X, or anything, for that matter, that’s why I’m sharing, with you, some of their precious conversation, which got more interesting as dad slugged down a great number of beers (Yes, the diner car serves alcoholic beverages ["Who’s your Bud? I AM, DAMMIT!”] to qualified customers, who can then take it back to their seat and pass it to anyone they damn well please; in this case, however, our hero drank alone):

“Remember when mommy crashed the white car?”
“Remember when mommy crashed the brown car?”
“Remember when mommy crashed the other white car?”
“Yup. Did you ever crash a car?”
“I got a dent in my truck, but that was even before I met your mommy.”

“Now, all you have to do is, tell the judge that you want to live with me.”
“That’s all?”
“Yup, and then I won’t have to pick you up and you won’t have to ride on the train!”
[much later]
“So we'll go pick out a new truck. What do you like?”
“The big one ... ”
“Yep ... as soon as I get my license back, we'll go right in. Five years, boy, have I been waiting.”

For the rest of the story, go to Deuce of Clubs: Wagnernugen.