Robert Joy

Robert Joy
306 E. 2nd Street
Ellinwood, KS

So, inside this 5×7 envelope with felt tip pen drawing, we found a hand-written letter, which reads as follows:
Mr. Perry Hoffman, esq.
All my friends said: “Send a letter to Perry Hoffman, he’s so cool. He’s the man to send mail art…He’s the king of mail art… so send him a letter !” I’m saying to myself, “Who the heck is Perry Hoffman? Is he the brother of Abbie? What makes him the king of mail art?” So I took out my trusty Shaffer fountain pen and I’m writing a letter to Perry. I’d love to just start in writing about my dull life, in which I am bored with, but Perry (the king of mail art) would just toss it aside and go do something interesting. I’d love to write about how exciting it is here in Central Kansas, but again, I’d bet Perry would get bored with that… so I’m going to tell Perry about the highway. Here it goes:

Two months ago, crews of workers descended on our little burg of Ellenwood. They were from the big city and they were bound to pave over our ancient, bumpy, lumpy, pot-holed, cracked, heat-swelled, broken off and washed into the ditch in places, highway. Zip-Zap! They came to town with all their big machines. They stopped traffic, they disrupted our tiny little boring lives. They put down the nicest, cleanest, smoothest, best damned road surface anyone could ever want. The people who grumbled before and during the work came out of their sealed up air conditioned boxes and danced in the streets. it was like the first rain after a protracted drought.

The road is like gliding on ice. The speed limit jumped from twenty to sixty-five over night. We’ve had twelve spectacular accidents since the repairs and we couldn’t be happier (three of which happened to the sheriff, but no one likes him anyway). I used to walk everywhere when the old road was still in use. now I drive. I’ve taken my old gas guzzler out of the barn and started whizzing all over the place. I bet the crate sucks and burns a galloin of gas between the grocery store and my house and I only live a block away. We just don’t give a crap out here in Kansas. We got oil wells pumping all over the place. Everyone here just gets all excited, just like the big Memorial day game between Ellinwood and Great Bend. We are planning on a city-wide celebration when oil hits a whopping one hundred and fifty dollars a barrel. I bet my old heap spews out at least a pound of smoke every block. I don’t get it repaired because I don’t have the time and our air is still clear in this part of the country… not like it is in California. anyway… I;m getting off of my story. We got our new slick highway. It’s perfect and we all love it. Then the nice spring temperatures we’ve been having most of the summer (some people claim it’s because of Global Warming) came to an end. The daytime temperatures went from the pleasant 80’s and shot up to the 100’s. The last couple of days have been searingly hot. It’s been so hot, the chickens have been laying hard boiled eggs. People have been getting air-conditioners installed in their cars. I’m not… I can take the heat. I grew up without no air-conditioners. I just walk around and do things slower. I keep telling people to “just slow the hell down!” But that’s really hard, now that our town has this great new highway. anyway… it’s been hot as (hell). The great new highway just wasn’t designed for all this heat (I’m sure it’s a result of global warming) so, last night, it snapped. A giant rift formed like ice sheets in the north atlantic. The asphalt buckled and formed a ridge right across the new slick road. We’re all going back to the old road… the bumps, the cracks, the pot-holes… I can see the town slowing down again. I’m going to park the ole gas guzzler again and wait for something new to happen around here. Come visit sometime, Mr. Perry Hoffman.
Your friend in Kansas, Robert Joy


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