Mother Always Said, 'Don't Talk to Strangers'

My mother did a lot of things right. Sure, like most parents, she made a few mistakes that left scars on my psyche. By most parents I of course mean most of the parents I engaged with as a kid. Mrs. Peters had a particular skill for cutting passive-aggressive barbs. Anyway, my mother taught me things that have made me a better person than I would have been otherwise. One of these things is don't talk to strangers. Had I not followed this sage advice I guarantee I would not be a very good person today as I would most likely be dead from either the hands of a kidnapper or from the type-2 diabetes that I would have gotten from all that candy out of the back of unmarked white vans.

Yet here I am in Edinburgh actively making myself vulnerable to strangers each and every day. Whether it be over e-mail -- where I plead with journalists to come to see our show over 3,000 others -- or it's with random pedestrians in the middle of their lunch break who probably don't have time to read a piece of paper or hear a pan-American accent tell them about some misanthropic comedy characters he made up. It's stranger after stranger. My mother would be quite upset if she saw this. She'd say, "You're not even getting any candy?"

Though... I did receive a letter from one of those passerby. I've included it below.

Dear Michael,

Hi. Do you remember me? You gave me your flyer outside of a shop on George St. I was walking out of another show and was about to go home and curl my hair. Do you remember yet? You were standing there and you got my attention with a line I couldn't quite make out on account of the mumbling and the fact I truly don't understand American accents, much as your probably don't understand mine.

Well anyway I wanted to thank you for your flyer. Look, there you are. I can see you clearly. Nice trousers. There's not a wrinkle on them. A far cry from the crumpled jeans you're wearing this fair morn. And there's your co-star. You two look like you might have chemistry. How magnificent. But, I can't make it. I know you're performing every day, but I just don't respond to flyering. I mean, do you? When was the last time you yourself were handed a flyer and didn't use it for anything other than for practicing your basketball skills or for wiping mustard off your shirt? I hope you got that stain out, by the way.

Please don't be upset. I actually think your show sounds quite good from what you told me outside that shop that only sells socks in different shades of brown. But, you know... I just won't go unless you get some journalist to put you in the paper with at least three -- preferably four or five -- stars next to it. That's just how I am.

It's not you. It's me.



See you on the street.