Dik's Ravings

Dik Saalfeld '80
Washington correspondent

September 18, 1995

Dear Fiends:

Today is my 37th birthday. Please send cash and checks to:

1626 34th Street NW
Washington DC 20007
If you want a receipt from a bogus charity for tax purposes, enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope. I'll be needing lots of scratch to cover the debts I have been running up in the months since the culmination of my selfless and heroic mission to foster democracy throughout the world, an occurrence which not only set back the march of progress toward international peace and tranquility, but cut off my supply of taxpayer-based paychecks, which, incidentally, I was exempt from paying taxes on. Don't be skimpy.

Sure, I've been lax in communicating with my friends and family since my sojourn in the Balkans ended. So what? You haven't exactly been flooding my mailbox. And if you have any rude comments about the fact that I have photocopied this and am not even specifically thinking about you at this moment and won't until I get to the heinous stage of manually addressing envelopes, assuming I ever find my stupid Rolodex, then keep them to yourselves. Sure, I could have used a favored trick of mine whereby I do a computer mail merge and add personalized stuff to letters, fooling you into thinking I spent all afternoon writing a long letter to you, [YOUR NAME HERE], when in fact I only typed in your name and a line or two specific to your particular - and likely somewhat peculiar - life of quiet desperation, but my own computer crapped out and I'm borrowing one, which I have not yet bothered to customize with all of your names.

Whoa! How rude! Do I really expect people to send cash and checks even after I have insulted them?! In short, yes.

I have been doing homeowner projects in the last few weeks, made bearable by the fact that I get to use dangerous powertools, none of which I have the skill to operate properly, but which are a great deal of fun. In fact, by the time you read this, I may have lost an enviable amount of weight - enviable to someone like you, perhaps, but I remain as svelte as ever, despite eating like a pitbull on a playground - not because I am on a diet, but because I may lose blood and appendages. My favorite tool has become the fearsome Tiger Saw, a device which can cut solid steel and which has the foolproof safety mechanism of a little orange sticker warning you not to operate said device while ripped to the tits on liquor, amphetamines, barbiturates, hallucinogens, or all of the above. This cuts back on the fun a bit, but it's still a wacky good time! The Tiger Saw is held like a Thompson Submachine Gun, but instead of hurling .45 caliber bullets, it powers nuclear sawblades. Later today I'm widening a door frame and cutting a mailslot.

I hope soon to resume my Macedonian-born hobby of paragliding. I have a license, and am a member of a couple of paraglider associations. Be afraid. Despite months of intensive training, I'm still not very good. Oh, I can get up into the stratosphere and sail gracefully around, but I have the nasty habit of pulling myself up by the front risers to adjust myself in the harness. You don't even have to know anything about paragliding to know that this is a bad habit, as long as you know that the front risers are the lines that control the leading edge and that if they lose their precious function, the whole thing becomes a big wad of nylon plummeting from the sky at about 6000 miles per nanosecond, considered by most experts in physics a bad speed at which to make a graceful landing, unless your goal is to send your leg bones shooting through the top of your skull.

You know the hoses that come from the taps in your wall and feed water into your washing machine? They're rubber, not metal. This means if you don't turn off the washing machine faucets after every use, those hoses hold the pressurized water until you use the machine again. I think you should get in the habit of turning the faucets off after every washing machine use, plus, you should change the hoses every year or two - 4 bucks a pop at any hardware store - whether you think they need it or not. Trust me on this one. Did you know that if the hoses burst just after you go to bed and you sleep your average 6 to 7 hour night, you could have as much as 1100 gallons of water in your basement before you even notice? God forbid your washing machine is on an upper story, or the dang things go while you're on a 5-day, 4-night boondoggle in Vegas. It is for no idle reason that I relate this advice. Also, if you look for sales, you can get a good sump pump for about 40 bucks, and a wet-dry shop vac for about the same, should you ignore the hose thing, but you'll have to kiss all the crap you stored on your basement floor goodbye. Learned that one the hard way.

I surprised a burglar a few weeks ago. He was trying to jimmy the sliding doors in the kitchen. I grabbed a paring knife and chased him about a mile. I caught up to him, and my first thought, after using an Eastwoodesque line - "this is not your lucky day" - was "what am I going to do with this paring knife?" Apparently he had the same thought, and ran off. My days as a sprinter having ended during the Nixon Administration, I chose to call it a day and walked home. One draws a great deal of attention running down the street, in business attire, waving a paring knife. Being a testosterone-laden male, I immediately suggested to Kelley the urgent need to buy large caliber handguns, and being a psychiatrist she made me eat another one of those little pills and watch the Barney video. Again. I only got the powertools by stealing her credit card and sneaking out while she was at work. Wait 'til she gets the bill. I'll be doing some hard time with Mr. Rogers and Mr. Librium. It's tough being a lawyer in residence with a psychiatrist, where conversations usually take the form of "How do you feel about that?" and "I don't have lo answer that." As long as I know where she keeps the prescription pads, I'm happy, although things were dicey for awhile when I once told her I had a constitutionally-protected right not to have to take out the trash, and she had me committed to St. Elizabeth's for four days. I played "Go Fish" with John Hinckley. He asked me why I didn't just save myself I the aggravation and take out the damn trash, and I asked him why he only used a .22. His forehead veins got really tight and he got strapped into the rubber room. Sure, it was tasteless, but it was entertaining.