Monday, September 21, 2015

Letter to MacArthur Foundation

Dear MacArthur Foundation:

It has come to my attention that you give out grants to people for being geniuses. I have a perfect candidate for you:


Now before you shred my application here, let me say that I understand. You probably get people telling you they're geniuses all the time. But there is a difference between me and them; I can prove that I am a genius!

Go ahead, ask me any question, any question at all.

No, I mean, just think it, clearly, in your mind.

Now remember your question for a bit. You'll see.

I know this isn't a traditional application for a genius grant, but geniuses are often iconoclastic. For instance, I am highly iconoclastic. One of my iconoclastic qualities is an inability to follow proper procedures, that is, my bizarre insistence on making everything into a bespoke experience. This is what I am doing here in my pursuit of a MacArthur Fellowship. I am approaching it in an unconventional fashion. Up until now you have only awarded your genius grants (which you don't call genius grants, but you're fooling no one) to those artists, scientists and innovators who have followed the appropriate path, people who have achieved things, excelled in their field, met with critical success, reached an audience, produced a known body of work, been nominated through proper channels, been approved through sober consideration, and so on. This has allowed you to get a very particular kind of genius.

I am not that kind of a genius.

I am a different kind of genius.

What kind of genius, you wonder.

More of a Wile E. Coyote kind of genius. A super genius.

Of course, the big difference between myself and Wile E. Coyote is... well, I can't think of any at this time. But with the proper acclaim of a MacArthur Fellowship I feel we could break the cycle of blinding confidence followed by bitter disaster.

I'm just saying, wouldn't you at the MacArthur Foundation like to know what roadrunner tastes like? Metaphorically speaking, I mean. Of course you would. I alone can bring the world that metaphorical roadrunner. That's the sort of genius I can be.

What does all this mean? I don't know. Roll the dice MacArthur Foundation. Roll the dice. Papa needs new shoes.

By the way, the answer to your question is:

Only time and water.

Ah, I must disagree with you, that is the correct answer to your question. Perhaps you misremembered just what the question was.

Look, I hate to get on my high horse, and I mean no disrespect to you or your organization, but who are you going to believe on this, yourself- a grants administrator, or me- a genius?

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. Despite our temporary disagreement around "the question" I am feeling a lot positive vibrations here from you, so I am going to go ahead and count myself as a MacArthur Fellowship Recipient and tell everyone I know about it. I look forward to receiving my button, t-shirt, bundles of cash, paperwork and everything. Nevertheless, if you decide not to go with me just let me know, and there will be no hard feelings.

Gratefully yours,

F. Calypso


  1. Gawd, holy one, this is so exciting! Who next to rough up? The Nobel Committee? The Venice Biennale?

    1. Nobel Committee is coming eventually. I am trying to brush up on my Swedish. Can I site you as a reference?

      The Venice Biennale? No, not unless they have a writing division.

  2. Of course, you can always use me as a reference! (I'm blushing)
    Do you need me to strong arm the Venetians?

    1. Naw, they suffer enough already under the crush of tourists.


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