Letters To The Editor #1: The Space/Time Nutter

I could tell this was A Letter From A Nutter just by holding it, before I’d even read a word. Printed on very thin white paper and with the header and footer contact details set slightly skewiff, as though photocopied and stuck on in haste (by a nutter), the letter’s top right hand corner featured a line drawing of a man in a fedora with his back to us carrying papers. Underneath are the words:

Time Transiter

Below that, the even more mystifyingly marvellous:

The Phoenix CIRCA Anno Domini

Anno Domini what? you might well ask… the answer is revealed by the letter’s date:

April 10, 1011

Having thus established conclusively that the letter was either a) from the middle of the Dark Ages or b) from A Nutter, I proceeded to read it.

Dear Sir:

This has to do with a photo on page 247 in your 2004 ASSTRONOMY [sic] – a Visual Guide. What I need is a statement as to the circumstances of the photo… The implication is that this is actually a photograph of WIMP (or MACHO?) material.

[I had no idea what WIMP or MACHO stood for, other than the obvious male stereotypes… so I googled them and learned that “WIMP is an acronym for weakly interacting massive particle and MACHO is an acronym for massive (astrophysical) compact halo object. WIMPs and MACHOs are two of the most popular DARK MATTER candidates.” Thank you Wikipedia]

Could you forward this letter to someone who might be able to fill in the what and whence for of this photograph? [emphasis – and grammar – the author’s own].

Your response would be greatly appreciated as it would be another input for my theory of the universe’s final end.


George Surname Changed to Protect Me From Nutters, Ph.D.

Author & Publisher

[Of course he’s a Ph.D. And of course he’s an Author and Publisher. The fact that he managed to spell not only my company’s name – which he must have seen printed in the darn book in the first place – and the name of this city but also the name of this country incorrectly is, I feel sure, mute but eloquent testament to his success at both.]

After a quick search I actually located the image in question on page 274, rather than page 247. After years of practice at deciphering nutter code, this was only the second place I checked.

And it is, predictably, not a photo of dark matter – of neither the wimp nor macho varieties – since that would be a physical impossibility beyond even my talents as a photo researcher (I don’t have Doctor Who’s mobile number and the Klingons are notoriously touchy when it comes to sharing pictures. They even banned lolcats), but a computer-generated model, mapping the inferred location of dark matter across the universe, calculated by observing its gravitational pull on galaxies.

I was delighted to be able to point The Nutter in the direction of the team at the Paris Astrophysics Institute who made the model. Good luck with that.

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13 Responses to Letters To The Editor #1: The Space/Time Nutter

  1. Colm says:

    Ha! Butter up the nutter with utter splutter. Gets them every time.

  2. sledpress says:

    You get so much nicer nutters than the ones who pass across my sights (deplorably addicted as I am to the area’s local news blogs).

    But then, a nutter who still writes on paper has a panache and sense of amour propre totally lacking in the skeeves who just blast delusional paranoia all over the Internet.

    • Woo says:

      Nicer, certainly. However, they do rather tend to be depressingly persistent. Once they’ve made contact with someone – anyone – at a publisher, they think its their Big Chance to get their book idea published. I try explaining that we don’t publish submissions, only books we generate ourselves, but they won’t have it. Ever.

  3. So now imagine that the nutter (in this case a religious sort) is on your massage table spouting utter nonsense about the end of the Universe and how you should prepare for it. I just love the apocalyptics.

    I have found that locating a trigger point and gently (okay, maybe not so gently) leaning into it while saying “Now take a deep breath in. . .” stops them from speaking. I don’t get a lot of letters from nutters. I did get one from a lawyer the other day that made me laugh out loud when I finished reading it. It was a request for information about one of my massage clients who came and got a few massages because his back was hurting him due to a car wreck, which he didn’t bother to mention at the time. That whole scenario could actually make a book, but I digress from my point. The sentence that really tickled me first was, “Please include new patient intake forms, prescription drug records, telephone call records, radiology reports and consultant reports.” Say what? drug records? Uh, I am a massage therapist, my scope of practice. . .? Anyway, I thought about the very sketchy notes I keep regarding my clients in an attempt to comply with the regulation that says I must keep records, and then read the next sentence in the letter and started cackling out loud. “Should the requested information file exceed 100 pages, please contact our office prior to processing this request.” They’ll be lucky to get two paragraphs.

    Not the same quality as your nutter letter, but still it made me laugh merrily.

    • Woo says:

      Ha! That’s priceless. Maybe you could send them the towel you use on that client, with an offer that they can use it for DNA profiling… as long as they launder and return it 😉

  4. Fugitive Pieces says:

    I wonder if he looks like this one. Presumably, allowing his breath to escape could be catastrophically disruptive to the whence for of the Universe…

  5. piereth says:

    You have GOT to be kidding. WTF?

  6. doctordi says:

    Oh, that’s AWESOME.

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