Team Deathray – Letter 9

Phil,

Listen man. I know that you’re worried about my new lifestyle change, but the truth of the matter is that it’s all good. Before you took me under your wing, I used to be angry and omnivorous, ALL THE TIME. Now that I work out my aggression with a mortar and pestle, I am nothing but peaceful. Plus, I learned to make great Pulse Chutney and Khichdi. Is there anything a mung bean can’t do?!?

I am just a man of extremes, and for that I would apologize, except that I don’t feel it is necessary to do so. For instance, you know how your belief that Kyle, the all-knowing being that presides over all living things, was simply a faith loosely embodied by a presence and without the confines of organization?

NOT ANYMORE!

I took a bunch of PCP the other day and created this chapbook.

It outlines much of what I believe to be your personal beliefs. See that? Because I am COMMITTED to everything I do, you now have yourself an actual religion. Now you can totally SHUN people for not following it properly (there’s a whole chapter on shunning).

As for the reason I am changing, I must say that at first it was about the volleyball (and my wife continuing to love me). But I am happy this way now, Phil. There are so many simple joys in life that I just overlooked beforehand. I like to think that this is the ideal me.

However, if you expect me to give up competition, you are QUITE MISTAKEN. In fact, one could assess that my habit of going to extremes is due to an underlying belief that everything in life is a competition, and therefore an ultimate state of perfection in each field should be striven towards at all times.

Just look at me now: I don’t like most foods anymore, I take recreational drugs as frequently as possible, and I just wrote the Kyle Bible. I am so much more PERFECT than I thought I was when Sunny and I first moved to New Jersey!

And to top it all off, next week is the championship Volleyball game! Holy smokes I am so excited I could just grab a hackey sack and do a Stepping Ducking Paradox Blender into a Barfly Swirl, you know?

Since I can tell from your letter that you are not so into giving people drugs without their consent in order to ensure our victory, I am going to have to use a bit of “tolerance” that I learned from you, and do it the old fashioned way. And, by that I of course mean by assuming our group mind will function flawlessly and the TROPHY WILL BE MINE!

So, I’m turning the tables a bit. I have learned from you, and I am asking you and your clan to learn a little bit from me. If you are as tolerant as you’ve made me believe you all were, you will tolerate my competitive spirit so fully that we all will be flyin’ high as a free bird atop a rainbow of dreams, and we will WIN THE TOURNAMENT!

Let’s try this out at the next few family drum circles, man. Then, next week, let’s rock out that championship. Team Deathray, go!

Licking frogs,

– Scott

Team Deathray – Letter 8

Scott,

Hey man, um, listen. I’m, like, super excited about that whole lifestyle change of yours and everything, and I’m really glad things are working out really well with my sister. It’s just, you started to become a lot like us and then you were a lot like us but then you started to become so much like us that you were us and then you, like, transcended us to the point in which you weren’t like us anymore. You know? The clan is all about your acceptance of our lifestyle and even your dabbling in it is cool; you’re always welcome to the hacky sack games, drum circles and “science” experiments. But do you remember when you were an ultra-competitive ‘roided-out shit bag? Well, replace “roided” with “trippy drugs’d” and you’re pretty much right back where you started.

We’ve been winning a lot of our games without the assistance of Performance Deteriorating Drugs (at least ones that the opponent is taking), so I’m not so sure we should be giving these people the trips of their lives without their consent in order to win a couple NON-COMPETITIVE volleyball games. Drugs are to be taken for recreation or to bring oneself closer to that all-knowing being that presides over all living things. Some call him “God” – I call him “Kyle.” It feels less intimidating when you’re talking to someone named Kyle. But whatever you call him, he most certainly does NOT wish for us to be cheating/trying very hard at volleyball.

Scott, I’m really starting to think that the only reason you began to accept our lifestyle was so you can get us to play harder for you by understanding us better. Like the Vince Lombardi of sports that no one should care about. I’m guessing that once you figured out that “try hard” is not in a true hippie’s vocabulary (on a side note, neither is “scrub thoroughly”) you decided to use our one competitive advantage – our resistance to mind-altering drugs – against the opponent. I really hope this isn’t true because I really like you and Henry but some signs have been popping up. Just for example, you CELEBRATED during hackey sack. COME ON MAN, YOU KNOW NO ONE DOES THAT!

Before I head over to the farmer’s market, I just want to let you know that we all love you and are still pushing for you to change for real. I sent over some glazed soybeans for you to enjoy so, uh… enjoy!

-Philip

Team Deathray – Letter 7

Phil Man,

Bro, that Anti-Insulting of Animals rally was GREAT! There was a time when I called protesters “shit-for-brains un-American scum.” But now, through our yoga, organic lifestyle, and recreational drug usage, I see the value in it. I really think that we blew a few minds yesterday, man. Standing still while holding signs and peacefully allowing everyone to go about their daily lives with no interruptions had to make a difference. I like the way you put it: “we will be the lonely man eating a cheese sandwich alone at a diner. We will not disturb you, but you will not be able to take your mind off of us. We will infiltrate your consciousness.” So true man. So true.

And even more true after you drop a few tabs of acid and just let the colors of the wind sweetly caress your music. Know what I mean?

This past week of hippie training has reduced my want to punch people so much so that I barely think about it anymore. Even Henry has noticed that ever since I created him by jamming a bunch of toothpicks into a lonely apple on that crazy night (oh man…so much blood and sour cream!) that I have made vast improvements. Henry frequently talks to me on my drug-induced “trips,” and I must say that he really knows how to put things.

As for Sunny, my beautiful wife, your lovely sister, I must say that I finally UNDERSTAND where she’s coming from now. She’s always spoke highly of author and pioneer of New Journalism, Tom Wolfe. But now I actually listened to her advice, and in a mere 3 days I have read both The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. The colorful language, the frequent use of onomatopoeia designed to stimulate the senses…I NEVER would have picked up these books before unless it were to throw them in the fire (which I have done several times in the past, and which is why this is her 6th or so copy of each).

So, this new lifestyle, and the way that you say I am close to achieving a state of complete Utopia full of love and Grateful Dead records, is now giving me a new goal we must achieve.

I believe that our Volleyball games would be made ALL THE BETTER if we conducted our own little “acid test” during them. Let’s bring a large container full of a delicious sugary beverage that is laced to the MAX with acid. Then we will offer our opponents some drinks. Since we are now used to the way these psychedelic drugs affect our conscious minds, we will play well while the opposing teams may themselves freak out, run away, open containers of sour cream and ask butchers for buckets of blood to cleanse their soul. This would give us a win by default. It is a new strategy I have adopted to allow us victory in this recreational beach volleyball league that I still care about winning very much.

I noticed at our last game that since I am now beginning to smell like “the clan,” your family and I seem to have a better “group mind” which allows us to properly succeed at Volleyball games! I believe that soon both our desires will be met: I will be a smelly hippie just like my wife and your family, and I will be able to place the league trophy on my nightstand and kiss it goodnight before bed at the end of each day.

So ready the acid, Philip. We’re gonna make drug users out of innocent people!

Free love,

– Scott

Team Deathray – Letter 5

Philip,

I felt like a complete asshole in those clothes you gave me. I normally like my clothing very snug, so as to show off the beautiful muscles I’ve worked so hard to achieve. Long khaki-cargo “shants” and an oversized “Pie Fest ’98” Shirt are not exactly what I would call in-style.

But, for the love of Sunny, my beautiful wife, I accepted your proposed change in wardrobe. However, do not think this is me giving up on my way of living. I NEVER give up. I am simply a team player, and I understand that at times you need to rise up the ranks rather than immediately be given the position of Family Emperor.

I’ve heard Sunny blab on about Yoga, but, of course, I have never tried it — until our class yesterday, that is. Taking the class with you really opened my eyes to how puny those sons of bitches are. You call that a work-out? The closest I came to breaking a sweat was when I gave your instructor a left hook to the kisser for stating that I will “get there soon, Raphanus.” My initial reaction is to punch anyone who says the word “anus” to me. After you explained that the Raphanus is just a genus of the plant family which contains the cultivated radish, and that the instructor was complimenting me by calling me a nutritional, vegan-friendly food, I realized that I may have to stop punching what I don’t understand.

It will be a hard habit to break, but I am going to give it a shot.

As for our volleyball game yesterday evening, I was trying SO hard to stop yelling and flipping a shit when you all continually sucked. However, there was that point where I snapped and told your father it was this exact kind of horrendous lack of dedication towards manly pursuits that gave him his hippie offspring. I am going to have to get used to hearing the sounds of laughter and joyful acceptance from your family. It seems no matter how much I yell, it bounces off all of your “clan” and has no affect on your ability to play sports.

As for your dedication to hallucinogenic drugs, that may be the biggest hurdle I have to overcome. I have never put drugs into my body. Not even ones which, as you state, “open up your mind and make colors appear like sparkling rainbow unicorns drunk on elderberry wine.”

I can’t begin to explain how much that sentence makes me cringe. But the fact of the matter remains that if I want to be accepted by your family, I must open my mind and try these new things. I must do this in order to ensure that my wife will continue loving me, and to better understand your personalities so as to be able to get you all whipped into shape under my guidance for the purpose of winning this recreational beach volleyball league.

Since the drug usage will be the hardest to overcome, I want to get that out of the way first. Tonight I will begin taking the LSD you gave me and reporting my progress to you. I am hoping that they will make being some vegan dickbag easier. Perhaps with my mental clarity clouded by illegal substances, it will be easier to live in your smoggy world of acceptance.

Ok. Here goes nothing.

It’s been about 35 minutes and I am starting to feel fuzzy. I am starting to feel like a vision of the sound of yellow. HA. O it is a joy that takes two tolls on this one right here. I am something that not is becoming. Henry is here. He is a player on our team now. What is that Henry? You are becoming music? I can see that. I can see EVERYTHING.

Philip, your name is that. I am alone in this house. Sunny is at an advanced making-shampoo-from-hemp course. Philip, I am heading there. You must show me what to do with this VIOLENCE I SEE OH GOD THE VIOLENCE IS HERE WHY IS IT CONTINUING NO I DO NOT WANT KNIVES IN MY VOLLEYBALL OH GOD I HAVE TO LEAVE I AM COMING THERE!

– SCOTT AND HENRY

Team Deathray – Letter 3

Philip,

Your letter enraged every fiber of my being. This is why after reading it, I went over to your place to give you a talking to. But when I got there, I read the note on your open door that said “Out with my hackey-sack club. But come in and rest your weary head, friend.” Let me just say that it is absolutely insane of you to leave your door wide open when you are not home.

When I got back to my place, Sunny had already begun eating your “famous barbecue tempeh strips.” She said to me “oh, you’ve got to try these, Scott. My brother makes such GREAT vegan cuisine!” Because I love your sister, I tasted one.

It was one of the worst things I have ever put in my mouth. It tasted a bit like what I imagine eating a live frog would taste like. It went on an unending conquest in my mouth that scorched the earth of my taste buds — making other flavors unnoticeable for the next few hours.

This set me off, and Sunny and I got into one of our famous one-sided arguments. I started yelling about how your family is insane, has terrible cooking skills, and does not take volleyball seriously enough. She just laughed and told me that I should remember the Samsara and try to reduce the anger in my “karmic account balance” so as to be one step closer to “Moksha.” I stormed out of the room.

Love is a funny thing, Phil. I never thought I would fall in love with such a free spirited person like your sister. I am a meat, potatoes, and anger man myself. I come from a long line of hard working, angry people that didn’t have time between working the land and maintaining adequate animal husbandry to debate the Four Noble Truths according to the Pali Tipitaka. But love is a strange wildebeest. And here I am today with a wedding band around my finger and a picture of your sister in my wallet.

But enough of that sentimental bullhockey. I hope that Sunny told you that I did not attend your family’s bizarre drum circle because I practiced volleyball alone. I put the net up to the house and would throw the ball onto the roof. It rolled off the roof, over the net, and I would bump, set, and spike it by myself. I did this for a few hours, then went inside to formulate plans for our upcoming game.

However, I came to a depressing realization when drawing up game plans. I know that this game will go as poorly as the last one. You are all completely un-dedicated, nature loving hippies.

But, I love Sunny with all my heart. So, I need your help, Philip. That’s right, despite the fact that I utterly despise you, I need you to help me tolerate you and your familial “clan.” I am worried that if I continue my immense hatred towards everyone in Sunny’s life, she may leave me.

And an added bonus would be that perhaps by tolerating you, we could all work better together as a team, and take Team Deathray all the way to the top of this recreational beach volleyball league! Like in one of those cheesy movies where the underdog wins everything in the end and everyone’s happy and the team capital gets all the accolades. I would LOVE accolades. I DESERVE accolades.

So please help me understand your strange, vegan-friendly, tree-hugging way of life. If you can suggest anything to help me cope, I’m all ears.

I just don’t think I can eat that disgusting tempeh garbage again. So that’s off the table.

Respectfully,

– Your brother-in-law Scott

Team Deathray – Letter 1

Philip,

I would like to discuss with you your performance on the Volleyball courts.

I know it was our first week of this recreational league, and I even heard some people from other teams say things like “this is a great reason for us to drink beer and have snacks by the water!” Well, this is NOT the attitude I have, and it will NOT be the attitude that we have on Team Deathray.

Team Deathray is about WINNING. Winning and winning alone. Which is why I declared myself team captain, and why am writing to you today. This is a competition, Philip, not an excuse for you to laugh with your friends and play games.

I know that we only met at your sister’s and my wedding a few weeks ago, but the reality of the situation is that I am here to stay and that things will be my way or the highway. We had to move back to New Jersey because your sister’s job transferred her back to her hometown. No offense, but I was fine not knowing your family. The stories I hear make me uneasy. All the joy and imbibing and baking…not my style.

I am big on stern competition and winning. I laugh whenever people say “it’s not a competition.” EVERYTHING’s a competition! This recreational Volleyball league was your sister’s idea. She wanted to get some friends and your family together in an opportunity for us to all get to know each other better. I warned her that if we did this, I would need to be team captain, and I would require 100% dedication. She laughed.

She should not have laughed.

This recreational league is serious business, Philip. And if we are to win am going to have to start seeing more dives, more spikes, and less chit-chat and beer consumption. How you choose to abuse your body is none of my business. However, it becomes my business when you bring a cooler to our court and ask who wants “a brewskie.” This behavior has to stop NOW.

We will meet after work tomorrow to go over drills and discuss our next plan of attack. It’s a war to first place, and I intend on standing atop a pile of those who I have defeated and shouting “I HAVE DEFEATED YOU! I AM YOUR NEW GOD!”

Respectfully,

– Your brother-in-law Scott