Forgotten Art: Norman – Newt 5

A reply to: A letter from Newt


Hey, Newt!

I am so glad you understand me about the appeal of collectibles. I was getting worried we’d have this area of miscomprehension. But you get it! Yeah! It’s just like collecting trading cards.

My latest acquisition is something really special: It’s an original Spanish-rubber rubber ducky made from 100% organic, fair trade rubber.

Right. Now that I write that out it sounds a little… OK. Hold the innuendos. It’s not what you think

I’ve been looking for more natural rubber products. The company needs to make some investments, and I’ve been pushing for the natural rubber industry. It’s more eco-friendly.

The antique collectible cat that Ira collects, Mistress Mew-Meow, is made from natural volcanized rubber. It’s a fascinating process, developed in the 1840s–it was patented in the U.S. in 1844 by none other than Charles Goodyear–you’ve heard of him–so, this process involves adding sulfur to the rubber to form cross-links between the polymers, thereby rendering the structure more durable and firm.

Chemistry lesson for the day–at no charge, I might add!

Anyway, the llamacorn that I collect is also made from vulcanized rubber, which is why it’s so hard. (Not so the rubber ducky, which remains a soft, pliable rubber.)

The other day, Ira and I were out for a walk in the neighborhood when a teen tourist tried to buy my pink and purple vintage Lollicorn–the one I told you was so rare.

I made a show of asking Lolly, “So would you like to have a new home with this nice young lady?”

But Ira was all like, “No. Get real. The vintage pink and purple Lollicorn is NOT for sale. Do you KNOW how rare these things are?”


Man, did I tell you? She’s an awesome woman.

We had so much fun the other day. As soon as her daughter ran off to school, Ira turned to me and said, “Babe! We’re free!”

GeekCon was in the city, so we hopped the speed rail and got there in time to enter the Ultimate Gaming Contest.


We didn’t win. I was distracted because I kept looking over at Ira. She looked amazing in that gaming rig. And she said she was distracted by my jokes.

I can’t help it. I can’t seem to stop cracking jokes when she’s around.

We were hungry and thirsty so we headed over to the bar across the street, and we ran into my sister.


She and Ira go way back.

Smooth, my sister is not.

“So are you two like a couple now?” she asked.

Ira IS smooth.

“Well, I’m not sure we’re together together,” she replied. But then she went on to talk about how we’re best friends and how she and Aaradhya moved in. I kept thinking that labels mean nothing–except for maybe the label of “best friends,” which, for some reason means a lot to me.

And all the time, I had this raging grin.


My sister looked at me, smiling, too.

“That’s so nice, Normie,” she said. Ah! I just wanted to pull her hair like I did when she was a bratty twelve-year-old! I settled for laughing with her.

“You’re laughing with me,” I told her, “not AT me.”

“Right,” she replied, laughing all the harder.


Look, I tell you: things are just about perfect.

I’m not sure I know what you mean or even believe you when you say you weren’t in love with your wife. I mean, you had kids. What does “in lust” even mean? Can you separate the two?

I’m not so sure I can.

I guess it makes me a dweeb to admit that. But hell. I’m a dweeb. I’ve been called worse.

So, you asked, “Maybe if you are in love with Ira, you can tell me what it’s like.”

I’m not really in touch with my feelings, so I can’t tell you what it feels like.

But all I know is that I’m smiling all the time.


I guess that’s what it feels like. It feels like a smile that starts with an irrepressible grin and spreads inside until I laugh at the stupidest things.

Like algebra. Who the heck laughs at algebra?

But last night, Ira was explaining to Aari what “solve for x” meant, and I couldn’t stop laughing. “X.” What the heck is so funny about that? “Solve for x.” Even now, it makes me laugh. It must have to do with Ira’s delivery.


I’m in touch with my thoughts, Newt, even if I’m clueless about my feelings.

And my thoughts seem to be all wrapped up in Ira and Aari. I want what’s best for them. I want them safe, happy, healthy. For me, I want them to live here, but if Ira were to tell me tomorrow that she got a great job in Timbuktu, and they had to move, I’d be happy for her. Of course, I might sell Windenburg Wind and Sun and move with her, but the point is, if she’s happy, I’m happy.


Thinking about her happiness has become like my number one mental pursuit these days.

I know it’s whacked, but the thing is, it makes me happy.


And I think it’s doing something good for her, too.

Did you know that people can laugh in their sleep?


Well, this letter was all about me. Sorry about that, man. I guess maybe that’s a sign of being in love. I’ve always heard that there’s no one more self-absorbed than new lovebirds.

It’s a disease, man, but it’s a smiling disease, and I’m not really interested in the cure.

I’m sure I’ll be over it the next time you write, and then I’ll be able to be a better pal.

For now, maybe you can just overlook that I’m a dweeb and a sap and chalk it up to a rash case of raging grin infatuation.

Stay cool, Newt.


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