Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Friday, April 12

Gapers Block

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Dear Straight Friends of Gay People,
Here's the thing, and I'm just guessing here: Just because you have a friend who is gay, doesn't mean the gay guy you meet at a party should be introduced to this friend. Believe me: gay guys have many social networks, bars, social clubs, etc., that from what I understand are pretty satisfying. This doesn't mean they may not appreciate the effort. But just being gay doesn't always qualify one person as another person's "type." Again, I'm simply working on an assumption here.

Dear Guy At The Blue Line Station I Pick The Train Up At For Work Every Morning,
Look. I like to be on the first car. That's just a weird a quirk, OK? So I walk all the way to the end of the line of people waiting. That's my deal. I've done that for as long as I've been riding CTA trains, which is a long time. It is a habit — I have to stand at the very end. But you — you stand so far to one end of the platform as to make it ridiculous. It just makes my life harder, because then I have to go even farther, and without fail, when the train pulls up, I'm like ten yards away and look like an even bigger horse's ass than you.

Dear Mayonnaise,
No confluence of circumstances will ever exist such that I will be able to wrap my mind around you as a substance. What the hell are people thinking? You are very gross.

Dear That One Girl Who Works At The Gourmand Café,
It's not that I hate you per se, but I really think you should take it easy. You see, I used to work at a chic little coffeeshop, too. It's really not that cool. To that end, I would simply like to ask you to take it easy.

Dear Drifter With the Cat on Taylor Street,<
If you expect to get money out of people, an ideal first step would be to not make it explicitly obvious that you made the very selfish decision to acquire another living being that would depend on you for food and nourishment. This calls into question your survival instincts, and leads me to believe my giving-money-to-homeless-people budget would be better directed towards somebody else.

Dear Everybody Who Has Ever Driven A Car in Chicago,
You are all just absolutely terrible. If you've been driving in Chicago for a long time, you're too aggressive and crazy and need to take it easy. If you're a new arrival from the suburbs or some podunk town, hurry up, I'm running late as it is. Oh, and by the way: I-90/94 is an expressway. Just because you only use it for three miles between downtown and your house, doesn't make it just another side street. Indeed, going less than 55 miles per hour may cause you to be dead, or may cause others to become dead. So hurry the F up.

Dear Lady Who Lives on the Fourth Floor of my Building,
There is only one (1) of you. Therefore, it isn't fair that you have four cars you park on the street. Especially since they are work cars for your clown business. You should not be allowed to park more than one car per bedroom in your home. To speak frankly, your cars are also eyesores. I don't begrudge you that, but the mere fact that you, a single person, take up so many parking spots on the streets make me want to pop all your balloon doggies.

Dear Downstairs Neighbors,
You appear to be in your fifties and you are still in an industrial/goth band. You may want to consider writing more than one song.

Dear Couple That Hangs Out Outside of the Convenience Store,
Hey, are you guys attracted to each other? I'm not sure. Maybe you should make it more evident by coming just sort of having sexual intercourse against the wall of the building while I'm trying to buy a newspaper and some eggs. That'd be great. Oh, and guy, if at all possible, be sure to stick your hand even further down the back of your girlfriend's pants. The only reason I bring that up is that I've seen her hand down the front of yours so often, I think it would provide some nice symmetry.

Dear German Tourists,
Look, I'm glad you're here. You could've picked anywhere in the world to go, and you chose Chicago. That means something to me, honestly. But if I see one more of you taking pictures of the sidewalks downtown, I will begin to throw punches. Don't they have sidewalks in Bavaria? What the hell? I assure you, we don't keep hidden messages in the cement.

Dear Guy At The Gym Who Goes Nuts On The Elliptical Machine,
I hope you realize that how much you sweat is not really a reliable indicator of how much you're getting in shape. Don't get me wrong — working up a great sweat is a good way to know you're working hard, and it feels good to boot. But is the heavy Ohio State University sweater really necessary? You sweat so much, there is a small puddle of water in the footholds. That's not good. If you're weighing yourself right after you work out, of course it's going to seem like you're losing 10 pounds every time you come to the gym; that's all the water you're leaving on the machine, or in the air for the rest of us to inhale. Take it easy.

Dear Intersection of Fluornoy and California,
Just because I'm stopped at this stop sign, it doesn't mean I want to: (a) buy drugs (b) talk to you or (c) give you a ride somewhere. Also, somebody please monitor the children around here. If one more kid has to jump up on my bumper because he was riding his bike a zillion miles an hour around the corner, I'm going to just grab his hand and drive onto the expressway.

Dear Guy Who Used To Tag the River North Neighborhood With the Name "Jimmy Carter",
Quite the contrary, I don't hate you at all. I hate that you stopped writing, in simple print letters, "Jimmy Carter" all over the place. You are a comic genius. And I mean that.

Dear John Kass,
Hey, have you met mobsters!? Oh my God! That is so awesome! You should write about that some more. Also, we're not quite sure how you feel about Mayor Daley; maybe you should clarify your position some more.

Dear Bands,
Stop it.

Dear Lady Who Pretends Her Car is Broken Down on the Circle Exchange Downtown,
I myself have seen you there on at least three separate occasions. I know a girl who has seen you there on five separate occasions. If you're going to try to pull a scam where you pretend your car is broken down, you may want to consider varying where you front your game. You know what they say: Location, Location, Location.

Dear School of the Art Institute of Chicago Kids,
Just because we're shopping at Borders, doesn't mean we're "plastic" or "sheep" or maybe even "sheeple." It just means we want books. Or perhaps a CD or DVD. Do you see the difference? Excellent. To that end, please keep your comments and/or stares to yourselves.

Dear Everybody,
Not everything is "ghetto." I implore you to cease and desist immediately with describing everything that is of middling or poor quality as being "ghetto." Ignoring the fact that it is mildly offensive, it is also indicative of lazy thinking. It isn't really a good metaphor. Or kenning, as the case may be. Especially since I get the creeping suspicion that most people who use the phrase have little to no experience with the ghetto themselves, anyway. So really, it isn't fair for you to use it. Or may I suggest using it sparingly.

Dear Preacher In Front of Old Navy on Washington Street,
I am in awe of your ability to repeat any verse in the bible, while explicitly deleting from your superego the fact that you embody the verse, "Beware the hypocrites who pray on the street corners."

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About the Author(s)

Ramsin Canon covers and works in politics in Chicago. If you have a tip, a borderline illegal leak, or a story that needs to be told, contact him at .

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