49:08 minutes (23.59 MB)
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I've got a folder containing memorable letters. The bulk of them are from Roy Blount Jr., pound for pound the funniest living correspondent in America.
If anybody's doing a collection, I've got some doozies, all written of course before e-mail ruined everything. But what I'm really struck by is the physicality of old letters. A letter is not just words. It's paper, handwriting or even a peculiar way of pounding something out on a typewriter. A letter is also the condition it's in.
I used to have a dog who hated the mail man. Every day, he waited by the slot in the door and, because he could not bite the mailman, he contented himself by grabbing the mail in his jaws as it passed from the other side through the slot. Then he would shake the mail, like a half-dead animal and kind of hurl it. So some of my old mail has tooth marks.
The dog was named after my favorite writer. Roy hated that mailman.
***This broadcast originally aired December 23, 2009.***