An Open Letter to @PennJillette

Dear Mr. Jillette,

On your recent episode of “Penn’s Sunday School,” you admonished us, your listeners, to reach out and contact our heroes while they are still able to answer (my words, not yours). Since my séance machine is in the shop, I figured that I’d better do it while you’re still alive and kicking. After all, one never knows when skin-skin might invade brain-skin, right?

So here I am. Reaching out.

I’m a 42 year old military veteran, language nerd (I’ve studied English, French, Russian, Japanese, and Mandarin Chinese), martial artist, musician, and a bit of a hack songwriter/poet when the muse visits. I was born in Iowa, have lived in Japan for a lengthy period, and am now a resident of Phoenix, AZ, where I’m finishing my MA in Applied Linguistics at Arizona State University. My thesis is literally (literally-literally, as opposed to the pseudo-vernacular figuratively-literally) on the use of farts and poop as metaphor in children’s cartoons/literature in Japanese.

I’m not an atheist, but I’m also not a textbook theist, either. In fact, I’ve been called a Zen Christian by some folks. (I’m still trying to figure out what that means.) Ultimately, I’m a lowercase-L libertarian, and believe pretty firmly in live-and-let-live.

I’ve enjoyed your many appearances on TV and, especially, on Adam Carolla’s podcast. Needless to say, when I learned that you’d be doing your own weekly podcast, I subscribed hyperbolically instantly.

I’d love to see your Vegas show someday, and perhaps even meet you. Once I finish grad school (provided I don’t continue on to torture myself with PhD studies), time and money should open up a little bit and allow me to make the arduous 30 minute flight from Sky Harbor to McCarran.

If you’re ever in the Phoenix area, I’d love to show you my favorite places to eat and have some great conversations with you.


Michael Hacker

PS: Although I’m sure The Internet (insert ominous music here) has already spanked your tushie for misattributing the quote “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” to Plato (other sources attribute it to Philo of Alexandria), being the information junkie that you are, I figured you’d want to know that there are dueling attributions out there.

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