Travesty Tuesdays : The Professional Edition

The problem with being a writer is that people assume you can write. Which I can. Sort of. Actually not really. If you look around WordPress you will realize that I don’t have a Bachelors degree in English and it shows. Also, more often than not, I understand grammar don’t.

This fact doesn’t prevent friends and family from asking me to compose letters and whatnot for them. The most recent request came from my young cousin Candy, who has a stripper name and a heart of gold. Ostensibly a potential employer wants a letter of recommendation. While I am the first person to recommend Candy and her work, I’m not sure I should be the person to do it. Nonetheless I tried.

Dear Super Ballin’ Employer from our Country’s Capital,

What’s up yo? I’m fine, thanks for enquiring. News traveled down the pipeline that your company has a position open. My cousin totally wants it. Like wants it wants it. Like a chubby kid wants cake at fat camp. Only unlike the overly muscular fat camp directors, you should give Candy her heart’s desire. But not the fat kid, give him more time on a treadmill, not the job.

Candy is super awesome amazeballs. Her work ethic is second to none. She would work in her sleep if she could. In addition, Candy is knowledgeable about her field. Or at least I think she is. What she does is very technical so I kind of get lost midway through her explanations but judging by the length of them, I can say the kid knows her stuff.

On top of being really hardworking and educated, Candy is short, this doesn’t sound like a selling point until your company moves or downsizes and you need to stick someone in the tiny corner cubicle. Or if you fly her somewhere and want to use the legroom to transport equipment- not only would Candy be happy to squish herself into a ball to create more space, she wasn’t going to need that legroom to begin with.

So basically Candy is great. You probably shouldn’t even bother interviewing her just call her up and say “Your cousin convinced us, here’s the job and this is the list of benefits we added because you rock”. If you have any further questions don’t call my cell, it has a strange greeting on the voicemail saying you can only leave a message if you are on fire, so I wouldn’t want any of your more literally minded employees receiving burns on my account. You are totally welcome to email me though, but don’t expect me to respond, I’m giving you my professional email which I never check- .


Inscrutably yours,


The Great Unwashed


Message to Candy:

Is this what you meant kiddo when you asked for a letter? I gave it my best college try. I bet for sure you’ll be working and rolling in the sweet sweet cheddar in no time. No one can resist your dynamo combination of personality, brains and work ethic when it’s coupled with my writing.

Travesty Tuesdays The Arctic Edition – Part One

Occasionally my weirdness can’t be contained to those who know me and I branch off into writing to complete strangers. Happily, Sula, my closest friend is keen to deliver my nonsense to the people that she works with in the Arctic for three months out of the year. Theoretically these letters were meant to comfort her crew members and remind them that the South and civilization is actually not all that, whether or not they accomplished their goal is another thing. Here are a couple bits of correspondence that I penned to Sula’s crew. To celebrate the middle of the season, they open my writing and read it aloud to one another.

Dear Mara,

You’re like a horse that’s coming back to the barn right now. Is that the correct phrase? I think what I meant to say was that you’re on the homestretch, so you are going faster, or time is going faster, or you’re eating hay. Wait, that came out wrong, I’m sorry. I might need to review my sayings. Regardless, it’s like in a marathon when you pass the halfway mark and start speeding towards the finish line.

I’m here to tell you to slow down, the South, it isn’t all that. For starters people have all these unrealistic expectations, like one should wash more than once a week. Up in the Arctic you’re like a fresh-faced, rock star of hygiene if you rub a wet cloth over one or two parts. And smelling good isn’t ever a requirement. Can we both just agree that this particular aspect is awesome? With all the showering I have to do down here, I feel like I’m never dry. Also nobody congratulates me for washing my underarms. So take a moment, stop and smell the mild body odor, you should enjoy the unwashed benefits while you can.

With warmth and just a touch of greasiness,

The person who inexplicably has trouble making friends- they always seem to move away from me when I get close to them.


Apparently after Mara read this letter aloud to the crew, Luke one of the other crew members said “Unwashed is so right,” It would seem that I am not the only person who feels society’s cleanliness expectations are excessive.

When Sula gets home, she regales everyone with tales of the tundra. While it all sounds exciting and heroic, I know in my heart that I have never been and never will be that tough. I won’t even take my seat belt off in a car, let alone remove it on a tiny twin otter airplane the way that Sula’s crew does only to then throw their own sense of safety to the wind as they make a human seat belt for the equipment bouncing about in the small aircraft.


Dear Leslie,

I get it; home and the feel of those freshly laundered garments are so close, that you can almost smell the faint scent of “Dewy Rain” on your shorts. But before you get too excited about indoor plumbing and cell phone reception, let’s take a second to appreciate the wilderness street cred you’re building here.

Every minute you spend roaming the tundra, is a minute more of life experience that you have to lord over your friends and family. Or maybe you are a nice person and don’t do that- I’m not, I ran marathons for a decade for the simple reason of bragging rights. When you stroll into any party after this you can be all like “What did you do this summer? Costa Rica? Oh how exciting, I just went to the Arctic and kept myself alive on the frozen tundra through a combination of my wit and determination, but you had to sleep under a mosquito net- that sounds exotic.”

Or at least that’s what I would do, if I was brave enough to live in a remote camp, each chilly step of the day would be adding to my tome of “Why I am Awesome and was Possibly Partially Raised By Polar Bears.”

Kind regards,

Someone who once cried because their feet were cold on an overnight back packing trip.

One of Sula’s crew members was a giant. Like Hagrid but only skinnier. Please note, I am only exaggerating slightly.


Robby after a couple hundred hamburgers and a donut feast. (Photo Credit:

After having seen a photo of the crew’s lodgings with each bunk bed jammed right up next to the following one, like some sort of sleepy game of human Tetris, I pitied Robby and imagined trying to sleep an entire three months in the frigid cold packed up like a folding chair. However, there are some benefits to being the largest human around, so I chose to focus on those in his letter.

Dear Robby,

I know this is exactly what you wanted this morning- a letter from a random lady who has no clue about what it’s like to live in the Arctic. I’m here to tell you Robby, that it’s ok. I totally understand what you’re going though. Well actually not, I’m super short, not so short that I receive sweet, sweet government compensation for my lack of height but short enough that my feet never touch the ground and every shelf is the high shelf. So really our worlds could not be more different.

Getting back to the heart of the matter, the end is in sight, I know, and while it would be nice to be back in civilization, where else in the world would you be king of the smaller people. Here in the Arctic you’re the tallest man around, you alone decide who eats dessert if the cookies are stored on the top shelf. That’s a kind of privilege that should be valued and revered. So yes, home has washing machines and socks that haven’t been worn every other day for six weeks, however it also has NBA players. As long as you are in the Arctic Robby, you are the tallest thing going, because I heard that even the shrubs are bowing to your height up there.



The woman who needs an adult booster seat in order to safely drive a car.

Indistinguishable Mondays -Naked Backs and Wildlife Non-Sightings

It’s the first day of the work week. This can mean only one thing; time for more of my bad photography!


In the album the caption below this picture says “A bird!”

I have yet to find said creature. It’s my guess that I stumbled haphazardly into the woods and pointed my camera at the ground thinking that ten to one there had to be some sort of wildlife there.

At least I didn’t label it “Iguana!” That would really be a head scratcher because this was taken in Algonquin Park.

I began the day by sorting through all of the pictures I’ve ever taken so that my readers will know my starting point. In the process I managed to find some paperwork that I had cleverly hidden in a place I would never think to look, nowhere near where I store important documents.

It’s almost Tuesday so I’ve decided to make this a two-for-one post and throw in some Travesty Tuesday correspondence. The following is the actual email I sent to my mortgage broker, who is thankfully also my Aunt so she had at least some idea of how difficult it would be to work with me.

To :

From :

Subject :Who said Stacks of Dirty Pictures Aren’t Useful

Aunty Camelia,

Guess what I found while looking for pictures to put up for “Indistinguishable Mondays”?

My Notice of Assessment. Score one for completely inefficient and disorganized filing systems.
I will send it on later today when I’m not sorting through photos going “Whose naked back is that?’
and “Why do I have so many photos of naked backs?”
I am a very responsible adult. You should probably send your daughter to visit me during her February break, I shall teach her important grown up things like how to take months to file paperwork.
Much love and apparently many skin photos,
The Great Unwashed
In a show of poise and unshakable professionalism Aunty Camelia* sent me back a sincere and concise thank you.
*Names have been changed to protect the identities of those people who are helpful and patient, even if said person did once try and feed me puffed bulgur.

The Great Unwashed Wants YOU as a Pen Pal Because Who Doesn’t Love Manatees With Facial Hair?

Recently while searching for my lost passport I found a stack of blank postcards.

And I thought what many people think in this same situation “I want to write awkward messages to distant acquaintances.” Hence I approached my Dad who works with a lot of people, some who have met me, some who have only heard of me.

The Great Unwashed “I want to write to your clients. I’m sure Camilla Parker Bowles would love a postcard of a manatee with a moustache.”

Dad “First off I don’t think you understand what I do- I don’t work with Camilla Parker Bowles and secondly I’m not giving you my clients’ addresses.”

C'mon who doesn't want this in their mailbox?

Even the queen Mum would want this postcard.

Next I went to my sister Diana.

The Great Unwashed “Lend me your address book, I want to send postcards to all of your friends.”

Diana “I don’t have an address book and please stop sending valentines to my roommates. It’s really weird to receive hearts with goofy smiles from strangers in September.”

Stacey's Bad Word. Can Canada Post ever top this?

Stacey’s Bad Word. A new way to express my affection for Diana’s friends.

I was at a loss. Short of distributing postcards to all of Roscoe’s patients which he claimed “Would be a violation of ethics and their privacy” I had no one new to send mail to.

And for a moment I despaired. What would become of Travesty Tuesdays? My beloved series of posts which sometimes appear on the second day of the work week that feature odd correspondence sent to those I know and love. But much like the act of riding an armadillo to work, after a while receiving poorly drawn stick figures and descriptions of falling in the shower becomes the norm over time. My family simply does not appreciate receiving Easter cards about attempting to hog tie raccoons the way they used to. I needed a new audience to send my ramblings to.


(Photo Credit :

Thus I am calling on my Unwashed public. If you would love nothing more than a vintage Babysitter’s Club postcard about the bus ride I took with a recently paroled drug dealer who is about to become a baby daddy please send me your contact information.

Fair readers, if you choose to help me tackle this pile of postcards I promise not to share your personal information with anyone. I also pledge to only send you one postcard. Unless you are one of Diana’s roommates in which case I popped yet another valentine proclaiming my undying love in the mail just this morning. I also promise that I’m not a 350 lb women’s prison guard. At best I hover around a third of that size and am occasionally mistaken for an eighth grader.

In the interest of protecting everyone’s privacy please send your mailing address to * rather placing it in the comments below.

Alternatively you can private message me on Facebook by “Liking” The Great Unwashed. Or if you are feeling a little mischievous you could send the address of your arch nemesis.

*My email seems narcissistic until you realize that it’s meant to be a reminder. I also have a post it with the words “Put Food Here!” on my fridge because it’s just awkward to store leeks in your sock drawer.

Based on the sheer number of these kinds of postcards that I found I can only assume I meant to create some sort of miniature paper city of  monuments for a tiny Godzilla to destroy. Only possible conclusion.

Based on the sheer number of these kinds of postcards I can only assume I meant to create some sort of miniature paper city of monuments for a tiny Godzilla to destroy. Only possible conclusion.

Travesty Tuesdays- Crazy Feline Felonies


Dear Readers,

The next three posts will be about cats. Please note this is not a blog about cats, mostly because I don’t have any. It would violate the agreement that we have with our landlord, where we commit highway robbery each time we pay rent and they ask us not to have pets.

This group of three West Indian manatees (Tric...

Endangered species or slowest assassins of the sea? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Also cats are not my favourite animal. If pressed I would say my favourite animal is the manatee. But that’s only if I’m not in the water with manatees. If I was I’d be shouting “Why in goodness name do you want to know my favourite animal? Can’t you see these manatees are going to kill me by swimming over me and not realizing I’m trapped underneath them?” It’s one of my greatest nightmares- death by an inert group of manatees.

That being said, for someone who is not an avid lover of cats I’ve spent approximately eighty percent of my life living with them and ten percent of my life cleaning their litter boxes. The disproportionate amount of litter box cleaning that I’ve done may explain my lack of unabashed love for the creatures.

My sister and mom on the other hand spend their life amassing cats and loving cats. They also enjoy taking photos of them and looking at photos of cats. It is my understanding that this is standard for all cat lovers.

Without further adieu, my most recent communication to my dear sister.



I thought I should contact you first before the organization does.

Your Crazy Cat Lady membership is being revoked. I wrote a post about our recently deceased cat. Needing a photo to go along with the post I turned to your Facebook page. Not only did I fail to find a photo of said cat, but my search failed to turn up any cat pictures at all on your Facebook profile.

As you are supposedly “the cat lover” in the family I found this oddly suspicious. Further inquiry turned up a photo of a daschund that was once tagged “Diana’s best friend”. More searching turned up a comment you made of “OMG cutest thing alive” in response to a photo of a Golden Doodle puppy.

By this point I was quite alarmed and questioning who my sister really was, it was in that state that I telephoned the Crazy Cat Ladies organization.

They’ll be by at some point this week to confiscate both your cat tree and your floppy crocheted hat.

I think it goes without saying that you’re not to buy cat nip or any other feline related paraphernalia for a year.

Much love, I’m sorry I had to turn you in.

The Great Unwashed

Travesty Tuesdays- I Don’t Know If There’s a Title To Encompass The Contents Below

Over the March Break my youngest cousin came to visit me. I had grand plans for what we would do. But between my young cousin’s penchant for sleeping til mid afternoon and my tendency to go to bed early, we were unable to fit everything in. We did however manage to take over a hundred pictures for me to use on my blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts. This creative photo op came at the cost of another planned activity, something that I only remembered after my visitor had returned home. The following is a letter I wrote to rectify the situation. And the letter after that is the letter I wrote to rectify the situation that I tried to rectify.


Dear Young Person,

Last week I awkwardly photobombed your Skype session with your friend Candy* in order to obtain your address. It was my intent that Candy would practice the lost art of letter writing and send some post to you. However because of poor time management on my part this never occurred. I realized the other day that not only did I fail to instill the importance of handwritten correspondence in my youngest cousin but I also robbed an innocent young person of the pleasure of receiving a letter in the mail. An exciting experience if there ever was one. So I am writing to you now. Though it occurs to me that I have no more to say so I’ve included a poorly drawn cartoon of what Candy and I did instead of writing to you.

Because the only thing better than receiving a letter from a complete stranger is receiving a letter and a drawing, complete with unintelligible labels. Also best of luck everyone in deciphering my writing. As my Gran says “We love getting your letters! Especially after we figure out what they say.

Because the only thing better than receiving a letter from a complete stranger is receiving a letter and a drawing with unintelligible labels. Also best of luck everyone in deciphering my writing. As my Gran says “We love getting your letters! Especially after we figure out what they say.”


Dear Candy,

Roscoe intercepted my letter to your friend. He said that it was wildly inappropriate for me to write to someone I’ve never met and have only seen when I awkwardly leaped into the background of your Skype conversation. He suggested I should write to you instead and that you could show the young person in question the letter if you so chose.

Roscoe’s been raining on my parades of late. Just last week he broke up a starfish racing ring I’d been trying to set up.

“But it’s brilliant” I cried “Starfish don’t have any knees for mob thugs to break!” Roscoe gruffly replied “It’s the people’s knees who bet on the racing that mobsters break.”

Perhaps he did me a favour, I’m now seeing that I should start a people racing ring for starfish to bet on because then no one’s knees would be hurt by the mobsters and it might combat the obesity epidemic this country has going.

Much love, thanks for visiting me,

The Great Unwashed



*Names have been changed but only in the post because otherwise it would just be really strange to send a letter to a person who you don’t know about a person that they know but whose name has been changed. The concept alone makes the above sentence confusing, and the poor grammar just adds to the problem.

Travesty Tuesdays- By The Way You’re a (Food) Daddy

So I wasn’t planning on posting this Tuesday because I didn’t feel Travesty Tuesdays needed to be a weekly occurrence for my blog, but then I wrote “I’m Not Pregnant, I’m Just Fat”. Which led to my ponderings of -is it acceptable to message an ex-boyfriend to say that you’ve named your food baby after him?

And because Roscoe wasn’t home to stop me from doing wildly inappropriate things like messaging my ex-boyfriends about their newly created food offspring, my strange started running rampant over Twitter which led to the following message which was sent to the Jeremiah in question.

Dear Jeremiah*,

Once upon a time I was young and lovely, and you were significantly older than me but also still lovely. And we went out on a date. I thought you were hot stuff.
Now I am married. And I have a blog. I just wanted you to know I named my food baby after you.
I always really liked the name Jeremiah.

Sincerely yours,

The Great Unwashed

*Names have not been changed because not surprisingly, Jeremiah has not gotten back to me, Also he wasn’t actually an ex-boyfriend, I believe we only went out on one date. I did however think he was good looking what with him being a male model and all. That concept alone blew my nineteen year old mind, the fact that he was seven years older than me was just delicious icing on a sweet, sweet male model cake.

Travesty Tuesdays -Just Your Standard “How’s School?” Email

Prior to sending this message I had seen the words “How’s your booty?” written on this young man’s Facebook wall. The poor soul in question is one of my cousins. He and his sister, for whatever reason seem to suffer the brunt of my weird communications. For ones so young they bear the hardship remarkably well.


Dear Mr. Hooling*,

As it seems to be a courtesy among the younger generation to begin each communication with a question of the state of your backside I was tempted to inquire about the welfare of your “booty”. However I suspect that “booty” has the potential to encompass many things which are not directly related to one’s sit upon and may not in fact relate to your seat at all! Hence I shall begin another way.

And so in this frigid and dark time of year I ask you sir, how is life? Is it a flannel and microfleece layered slog or is it a youthful stumble through the streets arm in arm with a comrade?

I certainly hope for the benefit of the future generation’s ears that your schooling is fraught with the second kind of activity. However given the climate of the city you live in, it may have elements of the first.

Remember you only get to be sexy once. Unless you’re the group of eight year olds I dealt with today who spent a portion of their spelling lesson spouting “If you’re sexy and you know it- CLAP YOUR HANDS!” in which case a fifth of your life is spent in a perpetual state of knowing sexiness.



*Names have been changed to protect the identities of young people who are probably embarrassed to share 12.5% of their DNA with me.