Dear Guy Next to Me Staring Critically at the Smug Barista Who Threw Shade at Me,

First of all, thanks again for moving your backpack off the seat. I'm clinically awkward, and I appreciate how you immediately sensed that and didn't make me go any further than “Um, would you…” before moving your pack with a little smile that was both cryptic and endearingly awkward. The fact is, it was the awkwardness of your smile that assured me we're simpatico, though a little time must pass before I declare you my soulmate. And thanks for not hunching over your keyboard like a café paranoiac to prevent your seat-neighbor from reading your writing.

And a ginormous thanks for starting a satirical “open letter” about the smug barista's snarky attitude towards me! I love your lead:

“Dear Barista With The Smoldering Eyes and Attitude to Match,

Sure you've got youth, virility, muscular guns in a sleeveless tee, and a leonine mane of raven hair that nubile young women surely tiptoe through nightly—“

Well put! His eyes do smolder! That's an apt adjective for eyes that burn the hearts of kind but unsure people who, while not always able to form a broad smile when their heart has been burnt, nonetheless manage to form a brave little smile (sometimes called “creepy”) in their determination to spread sunshine around. Yes, honored Seat Neighbor, you have described the whelp's arrogance in a manner both just and poetic. Yes, poetic! For you possess not only the wild hair and earthy aroma of a latter-day Rimbaud, but the soul of a paragon of that noble archetype, the ultra-sensitive café-sitting poet!

Ah, you've continued:

“… but you didn't have to shred the soul of that paunchy old bald guy just because he ordered ‘a cuppa Joe' in an attempt, dated and pathetic though it was, to sound hip—“

What the hell?! Listen, you stinking bum with lice-infested hair, “old” is for people of seventy—no, seventy-five—and I'm just sixty-three. And I look fifty-eight! Everyone says so! You know, for someone who presumably prides himself on diction, “bald” is a pretty dumb substitute for “thinning hair.”

So may I pour you a cuppa jo-vial criticism, my erstwhile bud? is the place for you.

And while we're talking awful diction: “paunch,” man? Look, my confused Gen X friend—and when I say “look,” be glad anyone is looking at you, because—wait a minute. Is somebody there? I'm not sure, but I think I see the faint outline of someone wedged in between that big bold Boomer and that audacious Millennial. Yes! I see an under-employed, middle-aged wastrel with thinning hair and a paunch of a size no man should carry before age sixty-three. Your youth is fading, not-so-young slacker friend. Jeez, that felt good. Now, let's see what my Pretentious Poet Of The Nowhere Café has written next:

“… but besides all those things, plus our spiraling debt, and deteriorating families, and insanely expensive (yet paradoxically pointless) college, you have to admit, the Baby Boomers gave us great songs…”

Yeah, we did…

“…and the Internet. And hey, I've met ten or twelve, maybe, who don't make me cringe. So while the dude resembles late-stage Walter White, albeit without the brio or fierce confidence—or any confidence, really, making him a wimpy pre-Heisenberg Walt—you might want to try not frying him with your gaze next time, or mocking him on your social sites. Dude's lived, you know? You might even try talking to the fool!”

Talking to the fool.

Hey, wait, why are you shuffling out without a word? The fool wants to talk! I thought we were friends! Some friend you turn out to be! I'll get you for this! I write satire, you know! Loser! Looo-ser!

Yours in love and peace,