Inamorata: An open letter to The NEW YORKER (Tina Brown era)

June 1, 2003

Dear Miss NewYorker,

I am a truck driver who can write. You don't know me, but I have been in love with you since I left the mother ship. My fantasy is to catch you by the hand and press you down against the sweet earth and force you to pub me. (But not next to Bill Buford's sleeping bag in Central Park). Forgive my boldness, but you are the only lust-worthy, high-born pub I have witnessed wearing an illustration of a turban-head cab-driver on your exquisite, outer garments. I have also witnessed your well-bred nostrils flaring at the sight of bleeped-out terms like s--t, f--k, c--t, and other censored mediocrities found in more bourgeois publications. You, dear lady, spell them out correctly and in fucking full. (Blessings be upon you). Since all words are good words in my realm also, you are, to me then, the pub most desirable.

Helen Gurley Brown pubbed me once in Cosmo. Afterwards, she expressed a desire to cross the country with me in my eighteen-wheeler but we pursued that no further. Our brief tryst would have been just a roll in the hay, not love, please believe me. You are a lady, not a gurl.

I am a card-carrying, peasant-class trucker, true — a living Booth cartoon — but a rare one. If you could peer into every truck cab in America, mine would be the only one with copies of The NEW YORKER hidden under the HUSTLER magazines in the bunk.

The essence of my rarity, however, is no equal to yours. You are the only pub on Earth who grows more beautiful with each passing year. Remember the day when you uncrossed your legs in public and your magazine (so to speak) flashed with color? I was there and saw everything. Impossibly, my love grew even more. It's beginning to hurt.

Years ago, when you pubbed "Large Cars" (and you dragged the rut out for two weeks) I was so jealous! Only the knowledge that you pubbed the writer and not the trucker in that two-parter saved me from suicide.

I must also confess, dear heart, that I have left copies of you in bathroom stalls. Such is the compulsion to share my adoration! Please know, however, that I have found religion in such places; I have found The Way to inner peace and become a larky, dolphin-hugger of a man. So many strange chambers one has to do one's business in when on the road — some without stall doors, or with rowdy foot-traffic outside doors which refuse to latch; some with strange odours, or mushy stuff underfoot, or solicitous gays (Peace be upon them) with their front teeth knocked out looking in at you (I could go on) – so that in order to savor the moment, so to speak, one must first seek and find The Zone. "God is in the stalls," I like to say. Having "Excalibur" in there, my faithful baseball bat, helps. And, of course, thou beside me (Peace be upon Omar). Know then, dear lady, that I have had you nestled on my lap – sometimes for nearly an hour at a time and, I expect, unbeknown to you – in some of the most exotic locales of the netherworld of commerce and rough trade. You holding your head high all the while.

I hunger for your kiss. I dream of being seen with you in pubic.

If only you were an easy pub! Yes, I know, your value would be diminished, but I would still love you.

Praying only to Lady Luck,
I remain, your ever hopeful suitor,

      John Aalborg
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