In three months of blogging, I’ve restrained myself by only mentioning Paul Shambroom three times. Paul has been a longtime hero. Beyond the greatness of his work, his career as a Minnesota artist has provided a significant role model for me.
But now I have the ultimate material to take Paul down. He recently sent me an email with the Subject Line: Dear “Eccentric-sad Americans by iconic water with big camera” guy. Here is the content of the email:
Dear Mr. Soth-
Please help unravel a mystery. You seem like a smart guy, the kind of guy who understands complex connections between seemingly disconnected things. After reading on your blog about people like Mitch Epstein who don’t have Wikipedia entries, I checked myself for the first time. (OK, it was the first time this week.) I discovered that I don’t have one either! It’s like I don’t exist. Just then a strange thing happened. I took a sip of coffee and noticed a warm liquid seeping into my lap. Yes, I’m getting old, but not “Depends” old, if you know what I mean. It turns out that the coffee was coming out from between my ribs. I’m slowly disappearing. A look in the mirror confirmed that I’m not all there!
Are you with me so far? Now it gets REALLY complicated. I had just received a package, a Russian magazine with some of my photos in it. (Also lots of cars, electronics, and naked women. Competition for the Russian Maxim, I guess.) I noticed the UPS envelope from Moscow was sitting on my desk RIGHT NEXT TO my trusty 1982-vintage Static-Master negative cleaning brush. A while ago I did a calculation based on the half-life of Polonium 210 (138.4 days) after 24 years, which gave a result of 8.8383e-20 for the relative strength of my Static-Master source. I don’t understand scientific notation too well, but I know that’s a REALLY small number. Feeling well in the safety zone, I had started using my Static-Master to stir my coffee. Yesterday (before the leaking episode) I noticed that my coffee was warmer AFTER I stirred it! A coincidence? I don’t think so.
My physical self is fading AND I don’t exist on-line because I don’t have a Wikipedia entry. I’m fading away like a cyber-space Cheshire Cat! What’s happening to me? Are these things connected?
Here’s my theory- I think the Russians put a replacement Static-Master with a fresh Polonium source in the magazine package. Plus- I believe I used to have a glorious multi-page Wikipedia entry with links, illustrations, testimonials from old girlfriends, etc, but it was removed (by those same Russians) before I ever saw it!
There are some holes in this theory, though. I was hoping, Alec, you could help me tie up these loose ends:
- Why didn’t the FBI agents (who usually sit in a truck outside my studio disguised as Qwest employees) do something to intervene? (sorry I’m getting ahead of myself and should explain- they’ve been there since my nuclear weapons project, some other guys have joined them since I’ve been working on Homeland Security.)
- How did the Russians know I stir my coffee with my Static-Master? (Wait, I know- they hacked into the iSight camera on my new MacBook.)
- How did they switch my OLD Static-Master with the new one (nano-robots inside the UPS package?)
- Most puzzling- what was the motive? Were the Russians mad at me because I never photographed THEIR nuclear weapons (or their town council meetings, as if godless ex-communists even have those)? Are they working WITH the guys in the Qwest truck?
Needless to say, I am quite unsettled by all this. I was hoping that you could help solve this. Or, if you’re too busy farting around in Kentucky, or perhaps just not smart enough, maybe the brilliant readers of your blog could help. It would give me great comfort to have closure in my final days in the physical world.
Sincerely yours, Paul Shambroom
I’m worried about Paul. Can someone help? Can we get the guy a Wikipedia entry and/or an endorsement deal with Power Shammy?