To Tile or Not to Tile – Letter 8


SUCCESS! I can not thank you enough for your assistance in our little “adventure.” I could not have done it without you. Not only because of your uncanny ability to pick locks (I won’t ask how you learned to do it so well), but for taking those paralysis darts to the leg. Like the filthy, stealing rat he is, Gaston took a page out of my own book and booby-trapped his office. Luckily for us (more so for me, though), I was able to re-steal my sketch from Gaston’s portfolio while you wriggled on the ground like a deer stuck in a bear trap. I, of course, displayed my astonishing strength by carrying you back into the car.

So, are you out of the wheelchair yet?

I feel a little bad about your fiance showing Clutterbuck her boobs, though. Who knew Gaston could have predicted her special weakness (if you forgot, its cocaine!)? Still, she did a fantastic job and hopefully she didn’t start the habit again.

Mack, I am a man of my word. Now that this ordeal is over, I will be your best man. You’ve earned your respect back from me and its the least I could do. However, since I’m so generous, I’ll be giving you MORE! I’ll reveal my recently-re-procured masterpiece “Two Businessmen High-Five While Bruce Lee Flying Kicks Out of the Explosion” AT YOUR WEDDING! I know, its quite an honor, but you ARE my brother and you DID help me steal it. Oh, what a party this will be.

If you wish to send Mom and Dad’s invitation here, I’ll hand-deliver it to them. I can’t wait to see the look on their face when they find out you’re not dead! If I had to guess, it would probably be a mixture of astonishment, confusion and disgust. I’ll try to get some camera-phone pictures.

So again, Mack, thank you so much.

Your Brother,

P.S. – MY GOD did Joanne looking bangin’ in that Princess Leia costume. I sure would love to play with her Thermo-detonators. That is, if she wasn’t your fiance and all.

To Tile or Not to Tile – Letter 4


I have some news of the most tragic sort. On my way to the post office to mail you a few of my finer sketches, I was ASSAULTED from behind by some wretch and robbed of my most recent masterpiece. THIS IS ALL QUITE TERRIBLE! Unfortunately, I did not get a view of this villain because I was struck on the back of the head with what was apparently a slab of Formica and blacked out. I can only assume it was a lackey of my long-time rival Gaston Clutterbuck, who has been looking for an opportunity to out-do me ever since I took the tile scene by storm with my High-Five masterpieces. Gaston, that BASTARD! Just when I was about to release “Two Businessmen High-Five While Bruce Lee Flying Kicks Out of the Explosion!”

If and when he releases his version of “Two Businessmen High-Five While Bruce Lee Flying Kicks Out of the Explosion,” I’ll be ruined. He’ll be the new and happening tile artist on the scene and I’ll be some old hack riding on the coattails of the new star. Mack, I’m positive that this is no exaggeration when I tell you that MY LIFE IS RUINED! What am I going to do? How am I going to provide for my family?!

I suppose I’ll do my due diligence and pretend my world is not spiraling into a enormous vortex of chaos by congratulating you on not drinking till you black out anymore. I’m sure if Mom and Dad heard that you weren’t destroying your life via the deep, dark road of alcohol abuse, they’d be so proud. I’ll let them know if you want.

So Mack, it is with much chagrin that I must, at this point, not permit you to be married. As interesting as this female you’re now seeing sounds (I mean, she is a fellow artist), until my life is sorted out I can not allow you to have your life sorted out.

Please Mack, if there is anything you can do to help me return to my position as tile artist extraordinaire, I promise I will be your best man and will completely forgive you for all your previous wrong-doings.  Help me Mac, you’re my only hope.

Eternally Thankful,

To Tile or Not to Tile – Letter 2


It certainly has been quite a while. Its been so long, its hard to remember what caused the rift between the two of us in the first place.

Oh. Oh, wait. It was that time that you not only insulted my life’s work but attempted to butcher my creativity by forcing me to leave my area of expertise. The Glorious High-Five is to forever be respected as the ultimate sign of hope, love, destruction and success. I am very much blessed to have been given the ability to convey the High-Five in such a way that it displays the awesome power of this spectacular action.

You broke my heart, Mack. As kin, I expected you to understand my extremely strong feelings towards The High-Five on the family medium-of-choice, tile. When you told me that we should “expand our horizons” it was like you punched me in the throat and told me my son threw like a girl. YOU KNOW HE WAS BORN WITH MISSHAPEN SHOULDERS, HE CAN’T THROW ANY OTHER WAY!

If you are in fact apologizing for your actions, your apology is accepted. However, I still hate you. I am, at this point, not entirely ready to bury the hatchet and may require more groveling before I decide to honor you with being your best man. I am going to need to know more about this female you’ve grown fond of, as well, before I give you my consent to marry her. I’m sure you understand.

Just so you know, the business has flourished. I have now added a few, more intense animals to my repertoire and will send you a sketch or two if you are still interested.

Please respond quickly, I don’t have all the time in the world, you know.


To Tile or Not to Tile – Letter 1


What’s up, man? It’s been a while. Well, a bit longer than a while: 6 years, 4 months, and 27 days…but who’s counting?

I’m not sure if you still have the same feelings about me as you did all those years ago when you kicked me out of your tile business: the feeling that I am “a horrendous human being whose only contribution to the world will be my larger-than-life suck-factor.” I am hoping that by now it is all water under the bridge.

I am hoping this, but I am also worried that you will burn this letter prior to reading it, since you know just as well as I do that you were always a hard-ass. Some people said I had to be crazy to work for you, but damned if I don’t admit that you’re a GENIUS when it comes to designing and installing porcelain tile.

That’s right, Steve, I still respect you. After all, you are my brother. I would never let something as silly as a difference in opinion get in the way of our kinship.

We used to be so close. Growing up, we were inseparable. I’ll admit that you were always the talented one out of us two. I will definitely admit that. Tile became your passion, and you were a prodigy. When you were in High School and created that porcelain tile portrait of Mom and Dad high-fiving for their bathroom, I knew you were going straight to the top of that business.

I hope you know that I always appreciated you teaching me the ins and outs of the tile business. For the past 12 years, 3 months, and 18 days I’ve made installing tile my source of income, and it’s all thanks to you. You have a knack for it. Mom used to praise me for my expertise with the flute and for my Rainman-like ability to remember dates, but no matter what composition I created in her honor, or dental appointment I helped her not forget, your porcelain tile masterpieces secured your position as the child most loved.

I did not mean to make you so upset all those years ago, when last we spoke. I simply was making a suggestion that maybe your business should branch off from simply doing porcelain tile portraits of couples high-fiving. Yes, I know that there are differences: sometimes there’s an explosion behind the high-five, or due to it; and yes, sometimes there’s a shark giving a thumbs up, or a bear with a shocked-into-awe expression on its face nearby…but I just thought maybe we could do more conventional tiling for a change.

But, I don’t want to bring up old news. In fact, I’d like to bury the hatchet because…well…I’m getting married!

That’s right. Her name is Joanne, and I must say that we go perfectly together: like bread and water. I met her at a rather low point about 4 years, 2 months, and 12 days ago, and after a while we fell in love.

Despite our distance as of late, I would still like for you to be my best man. As you can tell from the return address on this envelope, I am now living in Ashland, Oregon: home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Joanne is a very well-respected player in the Shakespeare festival, so it goes without saying that our wedding will be Shakespeare oriented.

I hope to hear from you soon. Hopefully we can put the past behind us and look forward to a future filled with love and respect.

I love you, Bro.

– Mack