An open letter to Mr. Richard Tang

>> Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Please Get Back To Me On My Email‏

Sent: Mon 1/16/12 11:30 PM

Good day,

I am Mr. Richard Tang, the Director of Operations of the Hang Seng Bank Ltd, Sai Wan Ho Branch, Hong Kong.

I have an obscured business suggestion for you.

Please Get Back to me on my Email Address: and finally after that I shall provide you with more details of this

Kind Regards

Mr.Richard Tang
Private Email:

Dear Mr. Tang,

Well, first things first: you've asked me to get back to you on your e-mail address, and I have to say I think it's pretty dull and boring.

I mean, okay: I get that sometimes an e-mail address is chosen by an administrator and you get no say in it whatsoever. But yours appears to be a Yahoo account, so I assume you chose it yourself, or, rather, that you let the Yahoo signup process choose it for you, going with your name and a randomly-generated number. And that's fine. Most of us, I expect, have similar kinds of e-mail addresses. But you asked for my opinion on it, and it's kind of drab and ordinary.

Then again, maybe you're dodging a bullet. I hate to make fun of somebody's name (gods know, I spent plenty of time being called "New Jerk" when I was in school--and that was by a teacher; the last laugh here being that I can't recall the yutz's name, so there), but it's pretty clear to me that you may have spent much of your life as "Dick Tang".

tang [tang]
1. a strong taste or flavor.
2. the distinctive flavor or quality of a thing.
3. a pungent or distinctive odor.
4. a touch or suggestion of something; slight trace.
5. a long and slender projecting strip, tongue, or prong forming part of an object, as a chisel, file, or knife, and serving as a means of attachment for another part, as a handle or stock.

3--tangOf course, there's not a single one of those that isn't funny/disturbing/funny-in-a-disturbing-way. I have to admit, the craziest (and therefore best) mental image comes with #5, as I assume a dick tang would be part of some kind of crazy prosthetic device (perhaps required because of an old war wound).

Somewhere--this may seem like a tangent, but bear with me--somewhere I once read that Tycho Brahe had multiple noses for different occasions, an account that the Wikipedia link in this sentence vaguely corroborates. Tycho, you may know, lost his nose in a duel and had one furnished (depending on whom you ask) out of copper, silver or gold--possibly all three, with a copper "hanging out around the castle" nose for when he was chilling in his sweatpants with his pet moose and a gold "where the ladies?" nose for when he and the elevated-to-wingman moose were hanging out getting wasted on whatever Danish pimps drank before Courvoisier was invented.

In a similar vein, I once heard of a one-eyed man who purportedly had a succession of glass eyes manufactured in various states of reddish discoloration, ranging from "everyday eye" through ascending degrees of bloodshot culminating in a blank white orb with the word "TILT" printed upon it, and this gentleman (the story went) would switch out the glass orbs in his head as he increasingly got out of it.

You might see where I'm going with this. A man with the sort of prosthetic limb that ought to have a "dick tang" at one end could, perhaps, have a "just getting my mail and running errands" device for those kinds of occasions and a "happy to see you" assembly for others; he might, like the fellow with the glass eyes supposedly, have a "windsock" for those awkward occasions, though I don't really know that the humor value of it goes much beyond the initial presentation (if then, even). In any event, of course, the "dick tang" would (I imagine) be a feature of all of them. Or, perhaps, this gent might borrow a page from Old Tycho and have organs made of various precious metals, even if the use of various plastics and ceramics seems much more 21st Century than that.

Does the tang insert into some kind of belt apparatus or is there some kind of surgically-installed holder? For the gent, I mean. Other insertions... well, nevermind.

I'm sorry, what was this all about? Oh, of course.

What first caught my eye in your e-mail, actually, was your offer of an "obscured business suggestion". (I imagine that caught most of my readers' attentions, and I'm the only one who started pondering dick tangs. There's clearly something wrong with me, and probably nobody knows what it is.) Now, the thing about this is that I'm really willing to critique your e-mail address (boring but sufficient) for free, as I have zero idea what I'd do with a heavily-redacted business proposal. Or, perhaps, it isn't blacked-out, but instead has been put underneath a book or something and I'm supposed to look at it from a distance, or you'll send me one of those pictures with pixelated bits or a smeary fog, as if somebody's dick tang is exposed in the picture. (If that's your business proposal, I'm especially uninterested.)

So, let's see: e-mail critique, Tycho Brahe and glass eyes, application of prosthetics, polite refusal of I-don't-know-what? Yes, I think I've covered it. Any questions?


vince Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 8:43:00 PM EST  

I agree with Sarah. You really need to collect these and turn them into a book, even if you self release it. I'd be happy to help you put it all together.

I'm very serious. These are just awesome!

timb111 Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 8:55:00 PM EST  

Just for the record and to avert any future criticism my last name is Bunhundredeleven, hence my online handle. It is kind of a word play. Rather clever I think. But oh no, smart asses like you make fun of folks with numbers in their online identities never thinking for a minute that there might be something more to the story. Though I admit my e-mail address is and so I avoid many base remarks from the lower classes.

Still, I think it is cruel of you to make fun of a name just because it contains numbers and I intend to sue you for the anguish you've caused me. Unless I receive an apology and a pile of cash reahing to my navel I intend to sue you.

Eric Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 11:46:00 AM EST  

Mr. Bunhundredeleven, I am very sorry. I am very, very, very sorry. I am abject and humble and abashed, despondent over my ill treatment of your noble name.

I assume, I hope not presumptuously, that you are descended from the Loch Larrigan Bunhundredelevens, that noble clan of feral Scots who fought alongside Wallace and Edward Longshanks (the Bunhundredelevens being such ferocious and noble warriors, they would fight on the side of whomever seemed to be losing in order to guarantee a prolonged but incontrovertibly fair fight). The lineage passed, of course, to Sir Glenn Bunhundredeleven, who distinguished himself at the Somme by single-handedly killed and ate an entire regiment of Germans before losing a leg in a duel fought for their honor after an English captain foolishly tried to praise Sir Glenn by saying "...those lousy Krauts really had it coming to them." And then, naturally, there was Lt. Edmund Bunhundredeleven, who, during the Second World War, saved a medical transport by crashing his Spitfire into the side of a Nazi battleship, and then crawled out of the sinking wreckage, swam back to shore, commandeered another plane, and proceeded to take down three of the Luftwaffe's finest pilots in aerial combat before perishing after crashing his plane when the cockpit filled with smoke from his still-smoldering clothing.

If you are indeed descended from these Bunhundredelevens, sir, I would add this to my humble and sincere apology: please do not hurt me. I am too young and arguably too pretty to die. I will never let it happen again.

timb111 Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 11:16:00 PM EST  

Actually, my Grandfather Bill Cooper changed his name to Bunhundredeleven in 1891 to avoid conviction as the bait in a Badger Game. Sorry to disappoint. Here's a picture of my grandfather at work to compensate for your disappointment (he's the one at the top of the stairs).

There is a good chance that your reply is as entertaining as your original post. Thanks.

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