There is regular mail. Many kooks prefer this, as their remote dwellings are not wired for modern telecommunications.
There is telephone. Many kooks are unaware of caller ID, which takes the sting out of the anonymous "Deep Throat" sort of call.
Me: (guardedly) Hello?
Kook: I wanna give ya an anoner — an annonymuh — I wanna tell ya something without my name in it.
Me: Oh, hiya there, Al.
Kook: (spluttering) Click.
There is email. Anti-spam programs generally take care of this, but sometimes something slips through. Kooks like attachments; an email from a whacko will be festooned with them.
And there is the fax, a machine for which I prefer the Hunter S. Thompson name for the old Telex machine — the Mojo Wire.
Kooks like fax machines. I think it's because they know the product comes out on the receiver's end as a semi-legible, greasy affair, similar to the mimeographed copy of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" (b/w "Party Down with Henry Ford") that started their kookery in the first place.
Now, by "kooks" I include the following: crackpots, cranks, conspiracy theorists; people who think I am a shill for the right; people who firmly believe I am part of the left-wing conspiracy.
Not to forget these chatty souls: New Age believers of every description; zealots (from Anglicans to Zoroastrians); Twelve Steppers, No-Steppers, and my personal favorite, Missed Steppers.
All of them are convinced my soul is in peril. (Last I checked, it was a little battered, but basically intact and functioning.)
This is but a sampling of the kook world.
And I admit it: I am a connoisseur of kooks. Many's the time I have wriggled out of an unpleasant political discussion by invoking the Reptilian Conspiracy.
So I can't complain when the fax machine starts making that peculiar humming sound that says "Incoming from Uncaged Looney!"
Here is a recent example. These are the first two pages, of seven, plus a closeup of some of the marginalia.
(If you would like a copy of the entire thing, send $3.50 and a SASE to "Save the Kooks," PO Box 1755, Lakeville, CT 06039.)
Working for a newspaper really is a splendid way to make a living.
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