Dear Peggy Olson, Nice to Meet You
April 25, 2012 | by Adam Wilson
I haven’t heard back from Don, so I thought I’d try you instead. Draper might be a lost cause anyway, hormonal and unhinged, prone to mood swings and irrational behavior. One minute he’s weeping with wussy regret, and the next he’s attacking Megan with the cold-eyed ferocity of a grizzly bear or a Law and Order villain. I don’t know what’s gotten into the guy, but I suspect it might be my fault, these missives from the future fucking up his fragile worldview.
He’s starting to remind me of this basketball player, Ron Artest. Artest was a baller for a while and a tough bastard, fighting fans in the stands and whatnot. Then he went through a spiritual awakening, did Dancing with the Stars, and legally changed his name to World Peace. A new man, or so we all thought. Until Sunday, when he elbowed some dude in the face just for having a sweet Mohawk. Maybe Heraclitus was right about character being fate.
As for you, Peg, I’ve been meaning to get in touch. I could use a bit of feminine wisdom. Like, what am I supposed to make of stories like this one? Women hooked up to feeding tubes to get thin for their weddings? Was all that bra burning for naught?
Still, I’m sure it’s the fault of our supposedly postsexist society, in which National Magazine Awards all go to men and presidential candidates want to ban Planned Parenthood. Clearly, we’re trying to shut women’s lips—both sets—or what the poet Anne Carson calls, “the leaky jar of female sexuality.” But your jar won’t be closed, Peg. I’m proud the way you unleashed on those assholes from Heinz!
Things aren’t all bad in the future. It’s true, you can’t smoke joints in movie theaters anymore or give hand jobs in movie theaters (without at least a coat on top) or even watch nature documentaries in movie theaters. But the good news is that now you can do all those things from the comfort of your living room.
Also, there’s this show Girls I’ve been digging, even if the bottom line is that men are still jerks. They prod and degrade you, and even when they offer you Gatorade after sex they don’t have any of the good flavors! Where’s the lemon-lime, huh?
I’m not sure what you’d make of these girls, Pegosauraus. On the one hand, they’re a little vulgar for your tastes, eating cupcakes in bathtubs and making rape jokes at job interviews. And they’re not much for the work ethic either, not like you anyway. And yet, they’re fighting the good fight, boot to concrete. Because it’s all about friendship in the end, and owning your AIDS fantasies. It’s their First Amendment right to make viewers uncomfortable, and I applaud them for doing it with aplomb. I can’t say as much for the rest of Hollywood, especially with the casting of Taylor Swift to play a young Joni Mitchell. Do you know Joni’s music? I think you’ll dig her. She’s a blonde-haired Canadian with a gift for lyrics and a songbird voice that swims down through your ears in a straight path to the heart. When she sings, “I wish I had a river I could skate away on,” I can actually see that river laid out before me, shining opulent white under winter sun. I’m skating, Peggy, I’m teaching my feet to fly away!
It’s like your pal Ginsberg pretending he’s from Mars. We don’t want to face our problems, so we wish ourselves to sleep. But Joni’s got some advice for you, too. Take her lyrics to heart: make a lot of money, then quit this crazy scene. Robert Downey Jr. once did a cover of that song for the Christmas episode of Ally McBeal. He’d just gotten out of jail, and there was this hurt in his voice, Peg, a lifetime of pain. In that show, men and women shared a bathroom. It never really caught on in real life. Separate may not be equal, but when it comes to bathrooms, it’s also a little less gross.
You know who else is skating away? Roger Sterling. I mean, that acid trip—pretty hilarious. The thing with the trumpet when he was smoking his cigarette; that woman crawling around on all fours. Sterling was onto something with the whole “ask wife for divorce while blissfully tripping” concept. That’s some real Larry David shit right there. As for you, Peggy, I’m glad we talked. You’re a good listener, unlike Don. I feel like you get me. I feel like we could be friends. And then you could introduce me to Joan! If you see Don, give him a message for me. Just say, “Dude…” But say it in that voice. You know, the “Dude…” voice. He’ll know what I mean.
Until next week, Olson
from your humble Nostradamus,
Adam Wilson is the author of Flatscreen: A Novel.