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My Letter To Joe

Friend and fellow photographer Joe (https://www.jwsmithphoto.com) wrote me a letter.  This wasn’t some email or message over social media.  It was a good old actual letter requiring a postage stamp.  More on that in a minute.

The Rock & Roll GOAT approves of Steely Dan.
The Rock & Roll GOAT approves of Steely Dan. (Joe is hilarious)

Joe and I have many similar interests, including our photography, reading, and music.  It was my post about the Most Overrated Musicians And Bands Of All Time that really stressed our friendship.

Joe, is a big fan of Steely Dan, and they rated high on my overrated list.  This was trouble!

Joe has done as well adjusting to isolation as anybody.  So when he let me know he was going to send a letter, I was ecstatic.

Joe has an excellent blog post (among many others), about the importance of printing and physically archiving your digital images, because there is no guarantee they will be around digitally in fifty years.  This has had a great impact on how I think about my work.  So his analog letter sounded like a great idea.

Here at home, I came to find that while Work From Home is fantastic, I often want to unplug after the work day is done.  My work computer and my hobby computer are the same at the moment.  The office chair I use is the same.  My desk is the same.  It occurred to me how much I miss having an unconnected analog life.  I miss the 1990’s.

Letters To Friends

Letters To Friends: My Letter To Joe
Letters To Friends: My Letter To Joe. Bonus points if you understand the reference to Naked Lunch. Alas, this letter didn’t make it to his mailbox.

It was my turn to write Joe a letter back.  I sat down and wrote it out of my notebook.  I write such precise print (from years of drafting classes), and I’ve long lost the muscle memory for cursive.  It wasn’t long before I got writer’s cramp.

Then an issue happened.  I had just used my last stamp for something else!  What do I do?

I really wasn’t in the mood to go to the Post Office and deal with the lines of people, inevitably closer than 6 feet apart.

I had a trick when I moved out on my own in the late 90s and was dirt poor.  You see, I would just reverse the names, and then put the envelope in the mail with no stamp.  It would be “Return To Sender,” except it would be returned to the person I wanted to receive the envelope.  This worked ALL THE TIME.  So I decided that Joe would be my attempt to do this in 2020.

So what happened?  The postal carrier put the envelope right back in my mailbox, even without the stamp.  What a shame!  My letter to Joe never made it to him.

Joe, I promise to get some stamps at some point when we don’t have a coronavirus going around!

Some Images

Greater San Diego Portfolio Gallery

Exploring Joshua Tree National Park Portfolio Gallery



10 thoughts on “My Letter To Joe”

  1. Stamps. I still have some in the back of a red binder with all of my report cards and school pictures. Beyond that, I am not certain when the last time I SAW a stamp, let alone needed one. I miss many things from the 90’s. Having to taste stamp adhesive to be able to send a letter is not on that list.

    Now I’m going to shock you here….I agree with you whole heartedly that Steely Dan is, in fact, overrated. My biggest issue with Steely Dan has more to do with defining what a band is versus their renditions of musical soup salad. They have had more studio players rotate in and out of the band over the years that to help the reader understand these rotations, Wikipedia literally has a colored chart to help illustrate it. I have the same issues with Van Halen pre and post David Lee Roth, and Axel Rose’s version of Guns And Roses without Slash. Maybe Joe is just a super into the rocking sounds of the melodica? Food for thought.

  2. Thanks for the attempt Tracy! It’s very much appreciated and I’m sure I’ll see that letter in the not too distant future. BTW are you familiar with Roon music software? iTunes on steroids. Testing it out now.

    • Joe, I will check it out. Alex and I were just discussing yesterday getting the Windows version of the Foobar 2000 to run on his new iMac. As I told him, I only stuck with iTunes/Apple Music because I don’t want to lose my Play Counts haha.

      Hope you enjoyed the non-delivered letter. At least it made for a fun Blog Post. Now on to those stamps I need…

  3. Joe must be a guitar player. Players will typically appreciate the licks that drove Steely Dan music. Incorporating that studio level technical playing was a big departure from everything else commercially. Crossing into a few genre outside of rock, they were an acquired taste for many people. My wife agrees with your assessment.


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