How Not To Ask for an Autograph

by Dan Kelly:

Occasionally, I’m able to delve into my childhood and revel in just what a headcase of a little twat I was. Seriously, I was! I had absolutely no social skills; I stole other kids’ marbles from the park and ate their chicken mcnuggets when they weren’t looking. Sometimes it’s not so much fun to relive this mess but for you, the readers (both of you), I will recount for you today the clear lack of boundaries I exhibited as a child.
You’ll be happy to know that when somebody says, “Get your mitts off my wife’s testicles and get outta my yard, young’un!” I now know that I’m in the wrong. Not so much when I was a kid. As I write this, I can also recall that around this time I also had a strong longing for feathered hair. Imagine my devastation when the barber told me my hair was too curly for that.
Nonetheless, my boundaries were an issue, and I chose to exercise that lack of restraint on my favorite stars. The following is the recreation of a letter I sent off to a certain film and TV star whom would later show his tallywhacker on grainy home film footage taken in a hotel with a friend of his. How I longed to star in that underground hit.
I’ve done my best to recreate the actual letter, but the contents are pretty much word for word. That shit is seared into my brain like herpes; wherever I go, I take it with me. I can’t get rid of it.
I don’t have any pictures of myself from that exact time, but this one was taken about ten months before the letter was mailed. I cropped out my brothers, because I’m sure they wouldn’t appreciate being a part of this mess. Besides, my big brother was in a Judas Priest t-shirt and Digger was running around in his underwear. We were real damn classy.

The letter (translation follows below in case it’s illegible):

October 1, 1984
Dear Rob Lowe,
My name is Dan. We have HBO And I watched you in the movie called “Class.” It starred you and Andrew McCarthy. I thought it was funny and so did my brothers. Ha ha!
I read in my new “Tiger Beat” magazine that you are also in a movie called “Oxford Blues.” I bet it will be funny. I can’t wait until they show it here in Fayette- ville, NC.
Can I have your autograph? I am not gay but I like your movies.
Your Fan,
Dan Kelly

First, let us address the lies. Clearly I’m already a liar because even then I was gayer than light corned beefed on marbled rye with no mayo. I didn’t know any other boys that read “Tiger Beat,” “16” and the like. That’s hardcore, dedicated, preteen gay! Second, I just learned how to compose form letters in English class, too, so not only was my letter important to the life of a preteen not-gay young boy, but it was also topical. Since I’d not yet mastered the art of writing in pen, I did it up with a #2 pencil. I’m sure I wrote and erased “gay” about forty-two times. Third, I got over the fact that he never wrote back a few years later, when I realized how lucky I was that he didn’t press charges. He looks like Plastic-Man now anyway.
Exhibit number two. This one was composed rougly five years later, in eleventh grade. My pop culture knowledge had grown considerably as had my dexterity with a ballpoint pen, and I was eager to exercise both! Again, the letter is recreated, but I have total recall on the contents.
A picture of me around that time, maybe a year later:

Not too bad for a Fred Savage look alike. The sweater/shirt combo was from the Herbergers in the Signal Hills Mall, back when Herbergers was like K-Mart.
Now, let us relive the shame of the letter together:

September 1, 1989
Dear Jamie Lee Curtis,
My name is Dan, and I am a big fan. My friend found your address and said it’s ok to write you. “Halloween” is my favorite movie. I watch it all the time. My brothers think it’s dumb. When “A Fish Called Wendy” comes out on video I’ll watch that too.
Can I have your autograph?
Your Fan,
Dan Kelly
PS – I don’t believe that you have a penis.

The question on this one isn’t where did I go wrong, but where exactly did I go right? Frankly, it seems I was probably so traumatized by the previous lack of response that I decided to be brief, direct and as offensive as possible. Let’s address the following:
1 – If your friend says it’s okay to stalk, it must be okay. That friend later worked in a prison and started stalking me.
2 – Who the fuck is Wendy? Was she the tattered, one-eyed stepsister of Wanda with a deformed fin that was hidden inside the bubbling treasure chest at the bottom of the fish tank? For two years I walked around like hot shit on toast talking about that movie like I knew the difference between shit and Shine-ola, and I couldn’t even get the movie title correct.
3 – Glad she knows my brothers think her movie sucks. I had to tie it in to the good part of my first foray into fan letter writing somehow, and my brothers loved “Class!” Nice try anyway.
4 – The penis. The penis. The penis. Close your eyes, say it three times, and it doesn’t disappear. Did I have to go there? I thought I did. I read in “The Book of Lists” about the all-time greatest show business urban legends. That was the first time I heard about JLC’s vagenis. Could it be? No! I saw “Perfect” and there’s just no way she could have pulled off that unitard with a dingle dangle and Smurfberries in the way. She would have had to work a fierce tuck underneath all that, and I just couldn’t see anyone pulling that off. This, of course, was all before I saw “Silence of the Lambs,” and learned that it was actually quite easy if you were psychotic enough.
I got no response from JLC just as I’d gotten no response from Rob Lowe. There was also a letter to Dolly Parton somewhere between the two, but that one wasn’t quite as embarrassing. That’s not to say it netted any results, but all things considered that one was pretty benign. I’m happy to report that my boundaries have improved considerably and that I’m considering the same approach when I write my legislators.

End of Story