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Your Email Exchange with Ignatius J. Reilly

Vivienne Woodward

Contributor

Vivienne Woodward lives in Philly and works as the events coordinator for an indie bookstore. She can often be found drinking too much coffee in the sunny spot on her couch and over-identifying with fictional characters. She enjoys collecting hobbies, dancing to radio pop, and rearranging the book stacks on her side tables.

You decide to respond to a post written by your favorite man-of-the-people blogger, Ignatius J. Reilly. A true social justice warrior, he has undertaken a years-long project to experience and chronicle the life of a working boy in the twenty-first century. You hear that at one time, he worked as a hot dog vendor. You hear that he has taken on middling management and asserted himself on behalf of the beleaguered proletariat. You heard all of this from the man himself, but who are you to doubt what you read on the internet? You email him to express your fandom.

February 23, 12:25 pm

Dear Ignatius, 

I hope you don’t mind hearing from a fan. I just wanted to say that your most recent post about the dangers of filing was so inspiring to me. I work part-time at a law office, and you wouldn’t believe the amount of filing I have to do. I have so many paper cuts.

Keep up the good work, man.

Your reader,

Phil

February 23, 12:28 pm

Dear Mr. Philip Sir, 

I presume that Philip is your full given name, and I see no reason why you would not make use of it in its entirety. Your employers at the law office you speak of may look for convenient and plentiful ways to belittle you and offend your status of personhood rather than coghood, but I suggest you do everything in your power to resist their urging of you towards your own diminishment.

Philip, please do not impart upon me the same offense you have suffered from your own hand. You must not sink me to the levels of the depraved and vulgar internet fools who recall themselves by the most repugnant of titles, I believe they are sometimes called “handles.”

Sincerely,

Ignatius J. Reilly.

February 30, 3:47 pm

Dear Ignatius, 

I am so sorry to have offended you. I am truly such a big fan — anything that I said, I swear it was not intentional. What do you mean by “recall themselves by the most repugnant of titles”?

-Philip

February 30, 4:01 pm

Dear Sir,

I see that my effort at acknowledging your error with largesse has had the unfortunate consequence of making it go unremedied. In a manner even you, who seem to be at mental and moral disadvantage, can understand: you must pay me the respect due by calling me by my full moniker — Ignatius J. Reilly — if you wish to continue communicating. Mother calls me “Ignatius” and do not get me started on her behavior of late. Suffice it to say that you should not feel flattered at being compared to her as she exists at this present time. The charlatans she deems to associate with! If you would like to continue corresponding, please make the necessary corrections in salutation.

Sincerely,

Ignatius J. Reilly

March 5, 9:07 AM

Dear Ignatius J. Reilly, 

Apologies — I’m used to being a little more informal over email. Just another way that our employers diminish us, eh? The other day, my boss started an email like this: “Hey bud.”

Sincerely,

Philip

March 5, 10:04 AM

Dear Philip Sir,

Bud! Horrors! I am delighted we have established the proper tone. You may continue to correspond with me if you feel it exalts you in some way. You should not always expect to hear from me in an expedient fashion. I am working on a lengthy indictment of the 21st century, and this “electronic mail” is my first target. What could be more insulting to us working boys than to have our attention demanded at all hours of the day and night by these electronic notifications informing us that we have received correspondence from someone who has acquired our address through often unsavory means. Someone once posted my electronic mail address to a website entitled “asshats.com.” I should perhaps refer myself to your “law office” in order to receive adequate and past due compensation for the many medical visitations necessitated by someone’s vicious instinct to make public my personal address. Each time I opened those electronic messages from visitors to “asshat.com,” my valve would slam shut. Often, I had to miss a week of work simply due to the indignities rendered upon me by my valve. Though I was not pleased with your overly familiar tone, I must say that I was relieved to receive an electronic mail from someone who, in fact, seems to have read my work and not someone simply mocking the photo of me with my hot dog cart posted to “asshats.com” I cannot imagine the undesirables who are visiting such a website on a regular basis, but I will say that such depraved specimens surely could not comprehend the scope of my own project which does sometimes indeed involve rendezvousing with a hot dog distribution carriage.

I would continue, dear Philip, but my hands have at this moment been seized by a malady which has rendered them frozen into the claw-like shapes this personal computer keyboard forces them to contort into. I am now typing this missive with one finger, and if I do not stop soon, I shall miss my lunch, which does atrocious things to my valve. I believe I hear Mother creating a cheese dip.

Sincerely,

Ignatius J. Reilly

March 9, 4:18 pm

Dear Ignatius J. Reilly,

I hope your hands are feeling better. I know what you mean — sometimes my hands start cramping, trying to hold all of the files upright to squeeze one more small file into the cabinet. Maybe you should get a hand brace if you’re going to be doing so much typing on your indictment.

Sincerely,

Philip

March 11, 7:13 pm

Dear Philip Sir,

I have taken you up on your suggestion of a hand brace, and I am at this moment wearing two large braces on each of my hands. My movement is a bit limited, but I do believe that this method shows promise. In fact, I have taken a leave of absence from my current profession as a lipstick tester due to the condition of my hands. My hands were so immobilized by these braces that I could not get the weighty door of my current employer homebase open, it being a “pull” and not a “push,” a completely inconceivable choice that upsets my valve daily. The secretary saw me struggling, and I could see the horror on her face that I was expected to appear and do my job as if I was unafflicted. I had already arrived one hour late due to the difficulties of navigating the public transportation system with my large braces on. Therefore, I took her cue and recused myself from work for the rest of the day and now week. I find that giving oneself adequate breaks and absences from work improves one’s efficiency upon return. It is important to be well-rested.

Sincerely,

Ignatius J. Reilly

April 13, 8:47 pm

Dear Ignatius J. Reilly,

Sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you. I’m glad you are able to take some time off of work to heal — I have been working overtime to make some extra cash.

Sincerely,

Philip

April 14, 10:17 AM

Dear Philip Sir,

I am enraged reading your latest missive. You must resist the urge to provide more of your corpus and intellect and morality to the corrupt and uncaring money banshees at your “law office.” You must cease and desist at once to provide further abutment to your despicable and indecent law colleagues. It is time for you to join my latest project, which is to topple the very structures, the very fabric, of corporate obligation. I have proven my moral, athletic, and mental superiority over the degenerates of our workforce time and time again, and I now see the only path forward: end the conditions under which we are all forced into servitude under the premise of pay. We will unite and form a brotherhood against the powers that seek to control us. You, you common lad dabbling daily in the exploits of toil, shall proclaim and demand power over your former leaders.

I have only to gather a few more recruits before we can put our plan into action. I am taking this week off to attend to a personal matter having to do with my stomach and the vulgarity of its demands, but I will come back to you with more details relating to the magnificence of this design forthwith.

Sincerely,

Ignatius J. Reilly

April 17, 3:15 pm

Philip, Sir,

I have heard nothing back from you, and I can only assume that you are deep in the trenches of rebellion — I am proud that you have started without me! Keep me updated as my state of health is ominous.

Sincerely,

Ignatius J. Reilly

April 21, 4:21

Philip,

Would you like to go see a movie with me?

Sincerely,

Ignatius J. Reilly