Subscription postcards: Big money, big pills, Bigfoot

Postcard collage: A gigantic wallet in the sky above a sunset-lit Crater Lake. Text: The word "GOOD" in large, capital letters.

Hello Erin, and happy New Year from the United States! Do you have heavy-handed sarcasm in Canada? If not, congratulations: Upon receipt of this postcard, you will be the first Canadian in possession of this awesome new art form! Your friends will be wary; try to explain how great it is. Naw, just kidding. The secret purpose of this postcard is to illustrate my belief that utility is not equivalent to moral authority. Inanimate objects can not be good or evil; moral authority is derived from the proper exercise of individual agency blah blah blah should have sent you another Bigfoot postcard.

Postcard collage: Elvis and Nixon, with the text "Our Pill-Filled Lives" and an old-style TV set.

Hello Evgeniya! Fun fact: The Elvis-Nixon photo is the most requested document from the National Archives. If we lived in a fair and just world, the most requested document would be the photo of Jimmy Carter and Johnny Cash. Cash was married to Jimmy’s cousin, June Carter. What a family reunion that would be.

Postcard collage: Bigfoot in a suit, with the text "Elect Bigfoot" and another block of text that says: "Are we sliding into a period of moral anarchy? In at least some of the arts, society seems incapable of establishing standards adequate to its own protection."

Hey Steve — remember earlier how I was telling you how I try to send postcards that appeal specifically to you? As a fellow artist, I thought you would want to be kept up to date re: our slide into moral anarchy. I am not sure if the text in this postcard refers to Bigfoot’s campaign platform, or if it’s a commentary on Bigfoot’s candidacy, or if it is a criticism of this postcard itself.

Subscription postcards: Mammals, spiders, and the Internet explained

Postcard collage of hamster, house, and Crater Lake

Hello, Sharon! This is a postcard that I picked up back at Crater Lake in October. I had some animal adventures there: There was a mouse in my house. In fact, I had two mice in my house … they were living under the back seat of my van. I was concerned that they would chew through the wiring and leave me stranded, but I was more worried that the dogs would see the mice and chew up the van trying to get at them. Fortunately, my dogs, though lovable, are neither observant nor smart, and I was able to trap the mice without their knowledge.

Postcard collage of Mount Shasta and the Internet

Hello Kathleen! Remember when people didn’t know what the Internet was? Now everybody knows and it’s everywhere. I need to find out how that happened, because I want everybody to know about and have access to a 1975 AMC Pacer. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all had 1975 AMC Pacers to go with our Internet?

Postcard collage of Mount Saint Helens and gigantic spider

Hello Jennifer! It is spider season in the Pacific Northwest. From October through about January big ugly spiders — approximately the size of Mount Saint Helens — start getting chilly and they look for new winter homes indoors. The best defense against the winter spider season is to live in a house owned by a landlord who hasn’t lost his will to live and let the ever-encroaching Northwest vegetation engulf the home over a period of many anhedonic years.

Mike

ps: Once my dog Kaida ate a spider and her head swole up to the size of a basketball. She was fine, though.

The reverse side of the spider postcard.

Art by mail: Big Bird, cartographer extraordinaire

Message on postcard:
Hi Amanda! You said you like maps and birds, so you’re in luck! This is the story of the biggest map in the world, and its creation by the world’s biggest bird — Doctor E. Biggums Birdsong the Third, known to his friends as “Large Bird”, and known to my ace team of lawyers as “an entity similar to but legally distinct from Big Bird”. Even though he prefers the name “Biggums” or “Large Bird”, I just shorten the lawyer-assigned name and call him “Big Bird”.

Our story begins on the rim of Crater Lake. The dogs and I had hiked up to a viewpoint named in honor of the 19th-century explorer Frederick Raggle. Frederick Raggle Rock, or Fraggle Rock as it’s known to the locals, is one of the finest places to experience the beauty of Crater Lake. And its expansive view also makes it the most logical place to begin any cartographic survey of the Crater Lake area. It was there that I was astonished to find Big Bird hard at work with his Playskool Big Boy Laser Cartography and Geospatial Information Systems Play Kit.

“Big Bird!” I said. “What it is!”

“Oh, hi, Mike,” said Big Bird. “I’m just working on my greatest project yet.”

“What’s that?” I asked.

Big Bird looked really excited. “I’m so glad you asked! It’s an educational life-size map of Crater Lake! Every letter and number in the world will be there, climbing the mountains and swimming in the lake. They’ll be tens of meters tall, and cloned from the DNA of ancient numbers trapped in amber!”

Big Bird’s eyes narrowed. “The Children’s Cartographic Workshop will be building the map at Area 51 in Nevada.”

“Holy feathers, Big Bird,” I said, growing uneasy. The dogs’ hackles rose.

“I call it Alphanumeric Park … Life will find a way.”

Clouds blocked the sun. Lightning struck the far rim of the lake. But in the end, everything was fine.