816: Letters from a Nut by Ted L. Nancy

by Gerard


816.54: Nancy, Ted L. Letters From a Nut. New York: Avon, 1997. 185 pp. ISBN 0-380-97354-5.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 800: Literature
  • 810: American literature in English
  • 816: American letters in English
  • +.54: Written between 1945 and 1999

Well, as promised, here’s the second review for today.

Ted L. Nancy’s Letters From a Nut is truly the product of a deranged mind. The premise of the book is that a guy living in Thousand Oaks, California has taken it upon himself to write a bunch of letters to actual American corporations inquiring about odd matters or seeking special accommodations or praising them for strange aspects of their service. There’s not really much more I can say by way of a summation, but here are some examples of his correspondence:

  • A letter to the Bon Ami Cleanser Company asking what exactly they mean by “integrity” on their label.
  • A letter to Highlights Magazine asking if they would like to include a picture of his freckles that “kinda look like Richard Gere.”
  • A letter to the Portland Stage Company to find out if they would be willing to host a play about his 26-year-old dog Cinnamon
  • A letter to the Ralston Purina Company  praising their product in prolonging the life of his 26-year-old dog Cinnamon.
  • A letter to Nordstrom’s inquiring if he can buy a mannequin that he saw that looks exactly like his recently-deceased neighbor.
  • A letter to the Flamingo Hilton Hotel & Casino asking if he can be allowed to wear his lucky shrimp costume while gambling there.

And so on. The more incredible part is that he actually gets responses from almost everyone he contacts. Most of the responses are just deflections of his odd requests. Some, on the other hand, are more than willing to entertain his outrageous scenarios.

While there are times when it feels like he’s trying out different variations of the same joke to gauge the response, some of the letters actually laugh-out-loud funny. These would probably make for a cocktail party gag where people had to read them aloud to the group. It’s a quick read to maybe lighten up some of the more heady stuff that comes out these days. Now…off to the next book!