I think I've mentioned it before, but some time last year I decided that Patton Oswalt was my imaginary friend, and I started writing letters to him. Now, let me be quite clear -- I am in no way connected with Patton Oswalt. I am not stalking him, and the couple of times he responded to tweets I made are rather treasured, but in that way of a fan thinking "Hey, I got 5 seconds of attention from someone I admire who entertains me, woot!" and not much else. I look upon the entire thing as something I do to entertain myself, so hold up on the tranquilizer gun and the special jacket.
With that said, yes, I have written several very long letters to Mr. Oswalt. I wrote them by hand, with a fountain pen on nice stationary (you have no idea how hard it is to find nice stationary these days, or how pricy a decent fountain pen is, so, yes, this is a hobby sort of thing). I even mailed some off to an address I found where one could request an autograph. I expect they are somewhere being reduced to pulp or compost right now, unread and unnoticed. I'm ok with that. One doesn't expect responses from an imaginary friend.
And I fully understand that the version of Patton Oswalt I hold in my head is imaginary (as are, quite frankly, the version most people who do not know him well hold in their heads -- his fans, his haters, those who know who he is but are more or less indifferent -- none of us have a real, fully developed and multi-dimensional version of him available to us. That can be said for most of the people we run into in this world, so it's not anything special. Some of us don't even have fully realized versions of ourselves in our heads.) I built it up via his comedy performances (all seen on video because he's far too smart to ever perform anywhere near where I live, and even if he did, there would be too many people in attendence for me to tolerate. I have solid reasons for preferring imaginary people most of the time, but we shan't go into that right now.) This imaginary version has a connection to me that I made up. The original actual person doesn't owe me a damn thing ever.
So, why am I even talking about it? Mostly because I want to, because the whole concept interests me, and I like romping through my own head pulling out things to look at and talk about. Don't roll your eyes. I'm no different from most of you except in my choice of topic. I could be geeking out over tiny details in Pacific Rim or the whole Godzilla canon (which does NOT include the 1998 Giant Lizard Breathes Tuna Breath on New York movie). In fact, I have and will again go into deep discussions about both these things and many others. But this, this imaginary friend thing, that's what I want to talk about now.
It's soothing to write letters to Patton Oswalt. I have the little conversation going in my head where Craig Ferguson is talking about how getting a "happy ending" from a massage therapist is never going to happen...but it might happen. It doesn't exist in the realm of probability, but it exists in the realm of possibility. Patton Oswalt could possibly one day read one of my letters, could be moved to respond, could enter into conversation with me...and he could rent a plane to fly a banner over my house telling me to leave him alone. Not probable. Yet it teases there on the edge, just like most day dreams and vague longings. But I don't bank on it, don't spend much time entertaining it. I just write my letters.
The letters go on about whatever is in my head, including the letters themselves because that's how my brain works. I talk about my life, about things in the world, wondering what his take on them might be, about books, movies, my struggle with depression and anxiety, about dogs. In fact, to my imaginary friend version of him there is little I could not write about. He's a very good imaginary friend.
And because he's imaginary, there is no need to wait around tensely for a response. There won't be an answer (if there were, I think I would be torn between giddy delight which might include dancing around the room and horrified anxiety which might involve hiding under the bed and peering out fearfully at whatever form the response took. Either way, I would likely spend days debating on reading it. Maybe I'd enshrine it somewhere, or enlist someone else to check it for explosives (not all bombs involve chemicals).
I'm considering writing another such letter. It's been almost a year since the last one (still in my desk) where I pondered if I was over the fit, if I'd satisfied whatever urge I felt. Now it's stirring up again. In part, it is because of his own recent loss, the pain of which I can imagine but hope not to experience (scrap for some other writing). In part, because it is summer and I am about to head to my own corner of peace and paradise where I can happily do such things without spending a lot of time wondering if I should be doing something else instead.
Mostly, though, it is because I did something a bit illegal recently. I recorded (in the clumsiest manner) a short segment of one of Oswalt's audio books to share with certain friends, in part because I find it delightfully funny, and in part to encourage them to buy and read the books/listen to the books themselves. I kept it very limited for fear of the Furies of DRM and Copyright going after me. Now, though, I'm contemplating posting it publicly because, damn, I want more people to read his books so that I can reference them in the best of geeky ways and know someone else will get it.
And this makes me want to write a letter.