MARK MAY WRITES TO MARK MAY

WISDOM CARES NOT FOR THE LIMITS OF TIME

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Dear future me: I hope you are enjoying better times than these, which I can say WITHOUT RESERVATION are the softest years in college football history. Should nine wins be enough to win a share of the national title? Per the lamebrains at the National Football Foundation as of 1970, it is if you're Ohio State. The permissiveness this country has fallen into makes me glad I was asked not to return to sleepaway camp this year.

I do not wish to discuss the circumstances of the sleepaway camp's decisions, as you already know them. But I do not regret informing the counselors of the plot, nor of the punishments my campmates suffered. Waking up to find your bed in a meadow is not the Disney movie you wish it to be. Raccoons are surly and larger than one thinks!

Praying Nixon shows this country the light he shines from his heart,

1972 Markford May

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Dear 1972 me: I, too, am not enjoying these times. Pitt can no longer offer 200 scholarships at once, nor make better players from the best body parts of inferior football players. Alabama still does under some weird exemption their Senators put in a farm bill. It is a time of TYRANNY.

I fare well financially, but I too was not asked to sleepaway camp this year. My snoring bothers Messrs Herbstreit and Fowler, and yet they tolerate Corso's farts he's been saving up since the Battle of Inchon? There is no fairness in any year. Know that now, child.

P.S. The raccoons only become more daring. Here in Bristol, where I must rot amid the dull Connecticut pines for weeks at a stretch, they carry weapons and ambitions and the trust of Lou Holtz. Yes, that Lou Holtz, of North Carolina State! He speaks in hushed tones to them, and seems to enjoy their favors. One day I spied one sitting on his knee like a grandchild as he whispered soft raccoon compliments to it and fed it vending machine Zingers.

I want to paint good pictures of your future. But I cannot lie, most especially to myself. The days are bright. But the nights are as dark as ever.

P.P.S. The UCF Citronauts will soon hire a raccoon as their head coach. Oddly, he will be more human than his predecessor, and less full of rabies.

Fare thee well,

2013 Markford May

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Dear future me: I am perplexed and horrified by a world dominated by raccoons and former Ohio State assistants. But I trust you, and prepare my spirit and body in strength for the coming trials. I drink an abundant amount of milk, perform calisthenics, and wear the roomiest husky pants available to promote bloodflow and not constrict the organs of conveyance and breeding.

I bathe often, and fortify my ablutions with a half-cup of bleach to prevent eczema.

I have recently renewed my subscription to Boys' Life, despite their perfidy regarding the construction and viability of home hovercrafts.

I vehemently curse ruffianism in football, and condemn the forward pass in most of my mandated writings, and nearly all of my leisure correspondence. My "pen pal" in Free Vietnam is confused by these references, but if liberty will flourish in Southeast Asia, we must build strong foundations without cracks--ones exactly like the mincing coward's volley of the terrestrial pigskin.

Surely by your time ruffianship has been curbed from our beloved game, though. Why, it was not that long ago that Lady Heisman herself - AMERICA'S MOST HONORED BAUBLE - was awarded to a Floridian! Who, and I shudder to say this, goes by "Steve!" Shortened names are for hoods and the mentally infirm, and yet somehow we have allowed this flim-flam nomenclature to infect football, the country's last pure natural resource.

P.S. I am short on Good 'n Plentys. Please advise.

P.P.S. I have sometimes thought of becoming an agent for the Central Intelligence Agency after my time playing for dear old Pitt is through. Please also advise.

1972 Markford May

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Dear 1972 me:

I will work in reverse order, as it is Tuesday.

I knew little of the work of the C.I.A. in specific terms until I began watching a superb television program called BURN NOTICE. The title is mysterious, but I believe it is an Italian reference to arson prevention. I did not thing the Mediterranean had an issue with this. But evidently they do.

Being in the C.I.A. is a dangerous line of work, Markford May of 1972! It appears to involve constant assassination attempts (in both directions,) and frequent exiles in beautiful locations such as Miami. You will also work with French women stricken with tapeworms, and wear health-promoting garments that flow, and thus allow the limbs to breathe freely.

Choose carefully; as future Mark May, I cannot influence your decision in either direction. Multiverses depend on it! The life you live now is exciting and rewarding, as well. Why, just today, I watched as Kirk Herbstreit passed me in the hallway. He is our network's greatest college football correspondent despite coming from Ohio State. As he sauntered by, he said "Good job the other day, Mike," and slipped a Pancho's Cantina gift card into my hand.

This card bore a cash value of $25. It could not be used on Friday or Saturday.

It was addressed in an envelope to "Mike May."

You should join the CIA after your college football career. This is my message to you, Markford. This is the exact thing I am trying to tell you, my present persona and life be damned. I have found a used 2013 Dodge Dart in this lifetime, and am happy with it. I shall be able to find it in another, most likely.

As for the Floridian scourge: I have no advice but acceptance. The blessed statue will be given to multiple players from the state that probation violations forgot, and without shame. They shall even award one to an elderly, balding Minnesotan, and another to an orphan merchant from the Philippines who, it will be revealed in the year 2015, has been throwing with the wrong hand all along. Strength, Markford: the future will require it, so cultivate it now.

I have no advice on your candy conundrum. Perhaps try eating a bit less? You will need those teeth later for chewing, and also to put yourself on equal offensive footing with the raccoons who will dominate every unoccupied square foot of American territory in the future. A raccoon will forget a kick, but the singing pain of a human bite delivered with intent and vigor will terrify them for a lifetime.

If you have the opportunity, please disappear the following coaches: David Wannstedt, Walter Harris, and Todd Graham.

Additionally, consider rendition of Coach Holtz. His accord with the furry masked legion grows stronger by the day.

Courage,

2013 Mark May

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Dear future me:

I shall follow each recommendation to the letter. At the risk of sounding self-congratulatory, my courage in this seems admirable. Thank you. Thank me.

One further question: a teacher recently reprimanded me for insisting that Carthage won the Second Punic War. This man is a shortsighted fool, because any victory that incorporates the Fabian strategy is only a victory for cowards. The Roman refusal to face Hannibal head on and engage in smash mouth battle decisively proves that they won nothing but my contempt.

Relatedly, has the Pacific-8 Conference been eliminated by act of Congress in your time?

I am training in the language of Japanese after this letter in order to learn the language of our future's greatest foes, and meet my future nemesis Lou Holtz when his inevitable alliance with the Sony Corporation and their raccoon mercenary army comes to a head. I have also purchased nunchuku for martial arts training. They are a harsh mistress, as I have injured myself several times already.

Never an omelet made without a few eggs cracked,

1972 Markford May

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Dear 1972 me:

The Pac-8 has been eliminated. As I told you: the demons of the past not nunchuku'd in their beds become the hordes of tomorrow, and increase in number.

Do your work well. Additionally, please invest in IBM for me, and then a company named Apple sometime in the early 80s, and then a company t Prior to my communications with you, I had invested most of my fortune in a company I believed to be the company of tomorrow. Unfortunately, Pets.com and my investing acumen proved faulty. No one is perfect, or immune to the charms of a sock puppet selling investment opportunities.

You should not listen to sock puppets about anything, really.

This is a solid piece of advice from the future.

Humbled by time and tide,

2013 Mark May

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Dear future me:

I am saving these to microfilm for future use.

I see the decay of the athletic universe in my own time, and read about it in yours, and consequently cannot help but ask - is this the price we must pay for the immortality we achieved by murdering that shaman last year at sleepaway camp?

P.S. Who is Trev Alberts?

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Dear 1972 me:

No killing done in the name of justice is murder.

However, we did not kill a shaman. I know we believed that at the time, and believed we were acting in good faith by firing an arrow at a sorcerer. But I am here to tell you the truth: that was a drunk man dressed up like an Indian, or if you prefer, a Native American. The would was superficial, but your accuracy and lack of remorse stuck with the man, even as he writhed in agony on the ground and reached for his bottle of Turfman's Masculine Oil and Knuckle Varnish to dull the pain.

That man was wandering around dressed like an Indian, drunk as a lord and stumbling onto a summer camp's archery range at 11:00 a.m. But he was no hobo, no shiftless drifter. No, that man would go on to be your employer for years, and give you the fortune you would eventually throw at a sock puppet.

Jack Kent Cooke is a great man, and driving an arrow into his ribs will be one of the most important moments in your life, son. Years later, at a party, he will attempt to return the favor.

The sounds of Joe Theismann getting hit in the scrotum with a target arrow--meant for you, Markford-- will be among the sweetest sounds you will ever hear. They will also pave the way toward a lucrative post-football career in prostate curatives. No rain without a rainbow; no injury without a healing blessing.

As to the final question regarding a "Trev Alberts": no one knows. I have not met the man, though his name is all over this stationery. I cross it out with each letter. Frugality knows no era, and is appreciated at any moment in time.

Yours in dignity,

2013 Mark May

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