Some of My Favorite Regrets

Patty Marx and Daniel Menaker

Some of My Favorite Regrets

Patty Marx and Daniel Menaker

Some of My Favorite Regrets
An email conversation about the news of the day.
May 13 1999 11:35 AM

Patty Marx and Daniel Menaker

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D.M.--

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You're right. There's always time for guilt. I'm sorry I said there wasn't. No, more than sorry--I'm guilty. I also feel guilty that I replied out of sequence on Monday, that I was out tonight and couldn't write until now, and that I passed nuclear secrets to the Nepalese. I didn't really do the latter, but that's the beauty of guilt.

Now on to regret. I regret that I used the word riveting in my last e-mail to you--not only an editor but someone educated by the great grammarian Mrs. Giles. I meant divoting, as in striking a golf club to tear up pieces of turf. I regret that I did not buy more rhinestone hair snaps when I was in L.A. Finally, I regret that I have good eyesight and so will not be able to take advantage of the miraculous new laser eye surgery that has been bringing happiness to so many of my formerly blind friends.

Hey, guess what. I got my first piece of hate mail! That is, my first for this particular assignment; I've received loads of hate mail in the past. I like hate mail because, unlike fan mail, you know it's sincere. On second thought, I suppose that is not necessarily true: It is as likely that someone would come up with a lie designed to make you feel bad as one to make you feel good. Such motivation never occurs to me, though. My view of humanity is too generous. In any case, I send you this snippet of ire.

Editor,
The quiz is a hoax. Please have someone verify this stuff before the people you anoint as pundits foist it on your unsuspecting readership. There are several instances where the quiz is just flat wrong, and I doubt that an historian had much to do with it.
Dennis St. Germaine
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Dan, I consider you an historian. Will you verify quiz so we can move on? Thanks.

Good night and good morning to you and to our unsuspecting readership,
P.

P.S.: Do you care about Joyce Maynard selling Salinger's letters? Tacky, I think; though you can be sure I will start saving everyone's letters from now on. I bet J.D. regrets that he did not write them on Corrasable Paper. (Remember that? If the wind blew, everything on the page disappeared.)

P.P.S.: I promise I will make a prediction for the week as you requested. It's just that I like to make my predictions at the end, when I am more clear about how things will turn out.

P.P.P.S. Funny Serb name: Boric Cleanser ... well, not that funny.

Daniel Menaker is a senior literary editor at Random House and author of The Treatment (click here to buy the book) and two collections of short stories. Patty Marx writes comedy for movies, television, and print. Her most recent books are Meet My Staff (click here to buy the book), a children's book illustrated by Roz Chast, and The Skinny (click here to buy the book) written with Susan Sistrom.