the saga of burning my mouth on a cheese sandwich heated in the microwave

Can someone please tell me why the fuck a glass of water takes five minutes in the microwave to begin to boil while a cheese sandwich put in the microwave for 45 seconds gets hot enough at the center to blister the roof of my mouth?


Dear Mr. Five,

As I’m sure you already knew, microwaves are electromagnetic radiation that fall between radio waves and visible light in wavelength. This EM radiation affects different densities and quantities in different ways. Water is more transparent to the radiation, and a large cup likely has more mass than a sandwich besides, and therefore absorbs or blocks the energy and as a consequence, heats slower. Cheese and bread are denser and will heat more quickly. Also, water heated in the microwave may seem like it is not as hot as water heated on the stove because you are probably heating the water in a cup or Pyrex glass. Boiling water will not actually bubble much without small scratches or deviations in the surface of the container. Pyrex must in fact be discarded if it is scratched because these scratches act as a sort of seed for the bubbles of boiling water. The scratches in Pyrex will allow too much heat to transfer to the glass and it tends to shatter like untempered glass going from hot to cold. Because of this, boiling water in the microwave may not look like it’s boiling (a rolling boil) even though it is hotter than 212° (assuming sea level, standard pressure).


Your tremendous fan,

Dr. Jacob White, PhD, MD, ME, DDS, and DVM

Weevilbow, North Carolina, USA


Crazy motherfucker. I knew all that. I was just trying to be funny. Besides he may know a lot about physics and medicine but I’ll bet that goonie bird doesn’t know the first thing about literature. Anybody can follow a manual for angles of incidence. I read that issue of Reader’s Digest too. Some kind of genius, sure. I’ll be he doesn’t get Cervio or Pynchon one bit.


Dear Mr. Five,

You could not be more mistaken.

I’m well read. My favorite writer is the all too recently deceased Charles Bukowski and I am versed in your own work, as well as the other writers of the Taos School: Cervio and Hazen. I can demonstrate this by saying that my favorite part of your prize winning novel Karma Come Lately is when the Devil tells the story of Meridian telling a story about John telling a story of Prometheus which all occurs within the dream of a character named Cassidy who is further the fiction of a dead man named Jinx Didn’t who was resurrected while having a conversation with the real Devil. A conversation he desperately longs to finish. I do “get it” as you say and can plainly now see. I believe you wrote this piece in response to the layering of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein: the Modern Prometheus though I could be mistaken.

I am well versed in the classics as well: from Virgil to Boethus.


Your devoted fan,

Dr. Jacob White, PhD, MD, ME, DDS, and DVM

Weevilbow, North Carolina, USA


Crazy motherfucker. Understanding that stuff just shows how much you don’t understand. I’ll teach you to read my fucking books. Student of literature? Words? 진짜로? Penso di no!


Dear Mr. Five,

Oh, how I love language, just as you do. I’m so glad you brought it up because I was feeling a bit timid about discussing your Chinese description in “conservation begins at home.”

The standard Cantonese answer of the phone is with a staccato rising “wai?” No hanging around for tone-tied westerners who usually need a beat to change gears. Think “way to go” and start swooping up as soon as you hit that sibilant.

Out in the New Territories of new China Hong Kong, it might be a peasant “waii?” (whyee?) but always with the interrogatory tone. Like the polite English “hello?”

The brusque Cantonese, you’d think it’d be closer to such as the proud Greeks: “Ella!” I’m here! Or the more formal “embross” that appears only in tourist phrase books. One musn’t ever show such weakness as a strong interest in who is calling.

Wai? A noise to signify “what money making scheme am I hearing of?”

I had initially pursued a linguistics PhD at MIT in the hope of developing language mapping theory to benefit hearing impaired children but was soured on the field. I am certain you know why and I only wish I’d taken your word for it. Your Korean is excellent, if coarse, by the way though you use English idioms directly in Italian sometimes and it’s a bit jarring. “Penso cosí,” while amusing, is not correct.


Your fan and fan of words,

Dr. Jacob White, PhD, MD, ME, DDS, and DVM

Weevilbow, North Carolina, USA


Motherfucker. Sink all that time into never graduating and reading dense nonsense will make you one frustrated dude. He’s probably never had sex. Not like me. Man, the girls be needing adult undergarments when I’m in the house. He just stays home and reads books all the time and jerks off to Thomas Aquinas and the ecstasy of St. Theresa while listening to language tapes.


Dear Mr. Five,

I shudder to reply to this. I guess your own bravery in print moves me. Perhaps I am a wall flower but I am good at sex according to my wife. I don’t know why I am telling you this, it’s probably going to embarrass me to no end but she insists that I tell you in your own vocabulary.

I often put her ass on a big down pillow and eat her pussy until she screams. She says to tell you that she likes the way my nose bumps her clitoris when I do this. I never knew that until now. So I guess I owe you thanks.


Your truly embarrassed fan,

Dr. Jacob White, PhD, MD, ME, DDS, and DVM

Weevilbow, North Carolina, USA

PS: I’m sincerely embarrassed. Please don’t print any of that. My wife made me mail it. She is watching me now and she says she’ll follow me to the mailbox. I’m sorry. I hope I haven’t made you uncomfortable.


Crazy fucking doctor. I’d like to kick his ass. Problem with people like him is they think they’re tough because they’ve read a couple of books. Well, I can read and fight. I’m from the Taos Shark School, man. We bad. I’d like to see how this this buttoned down candyboy stands up to a good butterfly kick or a coupla OGs raging on rock. Who’s that looking in the window. Pow! Nobody now.


Dear Mr. Five,

I teach Jeet Kune Do and Ai Ki Do. I’ve had a lot of success with handicapped students, especially blind children in Ai Ki Do. As I’m sure you know from your own studies, this art is perfectly adapted to helping people who are physically unable to pursue some traditional arts. I have also studied Shorin Ryu, Gracie Jujitsu, fencing, Savate, and monkey and mantis styles of Gung-fu.

I try not to get into fights but it is occasionally necessary. Last year I was attacked by a man who was high on crack (raging on rock, as you say) and I’m sorry to report that when he drew a gun (a “gat,” is that correct slang?) I had to kill him to resolve the situation in my favor.

Also, I assisted on all the martial arts choreography for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series of movies of which I know you to be a fan. The idea of fighting one of my favorite authors is distasteful, though. Please do not suggest it anymore.


Your humble fan,

Dr. Jacob White, PhD, MD, ME, DDS, and DVM

Weevilbow, North Carolina, USA


Crazy son of a bitch. Weevilbow, NC? What’s that all about? Wonder if he married his sister or his mother. I wonder how many weeks of correspondence a doctorate from Weevilbow CC takes.


Dear Mr. Five,

I took my first doctorate at Yale. One of the others is honorary but I wouldn’t have accepted it if I didn’t think I could do NYU proud. Weevilbow has no college, community or otherwise.

Weevilbow is my home town so I came back here to practice medicine and raise my family near their paternal grandparents who love them much. I did not marry a relation.


Your fan,

Dr. Jacob White, PhD, MD, ME, DDS, and DVM

Weevilbow, North Carolina, USA


He’s probably about a hundred years old, though, right? Hasn’t been able to get an erection in decades. She married him for the cash and the freedom of being married to an old man. Probably she’s just waiting for him to die, fooling around with every young good looking hillbilly in town while he’s at the office.


Dear Mr. Five,

I am thirty-six. I shall not dignify your other remarks.


Your steadfast fan,

Dr. Jacob White, PhD, MD, ME, DDS, and DVM

Weevilbow, North Carolina, USA


Probably a cracker. That was what I smelled from the beginning. A rich honky. Probably a Grand Wizard. Bet he be beating on niggers, and shit, wearing a pillowcase for a hat and practicing urban renewal through pyrotechnic evangelism. Bet his grandpa was Carnegie and he went to school with Kennedys. Name like White, it’s gotta be good. If it ain’t white, it ain’t right? Is that what you’d say to me, you bastard?


Dear Mr. Five,

I must take offense this time. I am black (African-American). I realize that in Los Angeles the “N” word has gained a bit of popularity even among my own race but in the South that is not the case. It is offensive. Please refrain from its usage, casual, familiar, or otherwise.

As to the Carnegie comment, no, my family was not rich. I worked my way through school doing, in fact, urban renewals for below minimum wage. But there were no sheets or burning crosses involved; just teaching and some light construction. I only had to work for a year and a half however as I was on full scholastic scholarship after my undergraduate degree and I needed the time to study.

I vote by issues; liberal as often as conservative. I do not support the Kennedys politically though I have met some of them professionally and they are nice enough.


Still your fan,

Dr. Jacob White, PhD, MD, ME, DDS, and DVM

Weevilbow, North Carolina, USA


I cook pretty well.


Dear Mr. Five,

I’m pleased to report that I can indeed cook as well. In your own memoirs you detailed the recipes of a young green-eyed sculptor you shared a spider (?) bed with. You went to length about how much you loved her for no reason beyond her homemade spinach tortellini, blue corn atole, and pastry. I can state with satisfaction that I’m as good a cook as she; even at accurately documenting the elusive and often faked New Mexico cuisine which my wife loves so much, at altitude or at sea level.


Your fan,

Dr. Jacob White, PhD, MD, ME, DDS, and DVM

Weevilbow, North Carolina, USA


Well, I guess I need to know: Did you ever fuck any of my girlfriends?


Dear Mr. Five,

I married the beautiful Hindi engineer whom you dumped in college. She designed our house and gardens where our children play. She does a lot of civil engineering nationally and she has even forgiven Renate’s sister for what she said about civil engineers (?). She said you would understand that.

We took nearly the same honeymoon route she had once discussed with you. There were two wedding ceremonies. One in New York on the observation deck of the Chrysler building and one near her native Hyderabad in view of the sunset over the Bay of Bengal. You, of course, know where we honeymooned.

If it makes you feel better, she called me by your name one afternoon while working in the garden. Pulling weeds and clearing stones.

I apologize for this. I assure you we are in love and terribly happy. We named our first daughter after your pen name.

She is the only one of your girlfriends with whom I have had sexual intercourse. I was a virgin when we married.


Your eternal reader,

Dr. Jacob White, PhD, MD, ME, DDS, and DVM

Weevilbow, North Carolina, USA


Dr. White,

I have viewed and reviewed your mail at some length. To the exclusion of all else but Tennessee bourbon and soft Calcutta porn. If you truly are my fan—and I must believe you are or all sanity shall fly from my blue speckled shrinking melon of a head—I beseech thee: never write me again. You are free to tell others that I am among your favorite authors but please cease and desist from all correspondence with myself, my press, my agent, editor, and your wife on this matter. If you are the humanitarian of high character that I suspect you are, you will honor this humble wish.


Uncle,

Vivian Five VI, NS (Non-smoker, nothing special, niente sentito, now solo, &c)

GD, Angmo Kio Bus Station, Singapore

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