An Open Letter to an Anonymous Fan

For the purposes of this open letter, the subject will be referred to as Myra. —T.U.

Dear Myra,

I knew it was you. Not right away, but it didn’t take long for me to put two and two together.

It’s not easy being an entertainer/artist without an audience. Try as I might back in my days as a college radio host, I couldn’t get people to call on, or listen to the show, from all I could tell. Not even most of my friends.

So when I got your first “fan” letter, I was pleased, to say the least. I had a few ideas as to who it might be, but when I went to them, they denied responsibility. The mystery remained after the second letter yous end the following week,

Then by the third week, I started to notice certain things. Too detailed and boring to get into in this letter, but suffice to say that between other people’s reactions, observed behaviors, and mostly the timing of everything, I deduced you were writing the letters.

You must have been listening to the show most of the time, as your letters reflected knowledge of what I’d been talking about. Whether you listened because you enjoyed it, or listened because it happened to be on when others were listening, I don’t know. Nor do I know if you wrote the letters because you were an actual fan, or you wrote the letters because you pitied me. Either way, it was nice to get them sometimes, so I didn’t confront you in person, even though I knew. I didn’t know you that well anyway, and why mess with a good thing.

Fandom aside, I’ve always wanted to say to you directly that you were a bit rude coming down to the studio to tell me you were offended by the joke I made. Now, I’m sorry if your religious views were violated by what i said, and I apologize on principle for the offense. (As I did on the air that night, which I will get to.) But to demand an apology in person after barging into the station like a bull in a china shop? I don’t think it was called for. You called have called the station and been calmer about it. You could have written me an actual letter and signed it. It all could have been more civilized than it was. Especially given your fondness for Jesus.

I couldn’t say all I wanted to, because there was this weird dichotomy of dealing with you accosting me during my own show, and then there was “you”, the one who had been decent enough to write all of those letters. I found myself pissed as the former, and still wanting to show due consideration for the latter.

I went on the air and apologized, but also went on a bit of a rant. I mentioned on the air that, “I’m sure this offended whoever is writing me anonymous fan letters as well.” I supposed you knew at that point that the jig was up. I guess I sort of wanted you to know, and not want you to know. It was weird to be offended by someone and appreciative of them at the exact same time.

A few weeks later, fan letters still came, though, with apologies for being late. (I knew why of course.) It was never quite the same, but, to still put in the effort, even if you felt it was a pity job, merits some acknowledgement today.

As it did back then. That’s why I left you that voice mail in the last few days of college. Still not really knowing you at all, I thanked you, and said, “Think about it, and you’ll know what I’m thanking you for.” You never did acknowledge knowing it, just as I never did acknowledging knowing it was you that wrote the letters. The dance remained intact, even after all of the weirdness.

So though I thanked you back then, I wanted to again, even though I have no idea where you are. I also wanted to take this chance, after all these years, to mention that despite your kind service to me in those days, I felt your umbrage was uncalled for, religion or no. You had proven yourself intelligent by then, you could have exercised a bit more of it, and not embarrassed me on my own turf.

But, it is over now, and I don’t carry much resentment over it anymore. I guess in a way this is a reverse fan letter to you, all be it a much belated one. Hopefully you can find some good in it, as I found good in your letters, despite the brush up.

Go in peace.

sincerely, Ty Unglebower

-This post is part of the Open Letter Continuum.


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