One fine day in late 1989, a letter arrived in my mailbox. It was written in cipher, which I found a bit surprising, but I sat down and began decoding it. The surprises continued: it was a rather irritated letter, with very peculiar diction, and although I knew it had come from Elwood, the name signed at the bottom had eight letters. It took me a while to figure out that he had encoded and mailed off a letter from Napoleon to Josephine, in which he was saying that she ought to write him more letters.
So that was decidedly quirky, right? That could be a little snippet on the forthcoming reality show When Geeks Marry, am I right?
But wait! There's more! In 2003 my brother sent us a postcard from a conference. In cipher.
I'm pretty sure I'd never mentioned the Elwood story to my kids, and I doubt any of them remember the 2003 postcard. But yesterday I went to the mailbox and discovered an envelope from my firstborn. I'd asked him to send me a postcard from his conference in Zürich, and my postcard was sealed up inside the envelope. Behold:
Okay, so he did give me D E A R M O L V right off the bat. But astute readers will note that two of the phrases are in German. That caused me a little face-scrunching, as you might imagine. And once I got the postcard deciphered I did a little more face-scrunching: how weird is it that three of my favorite men have sent me correspondence in cipher, just for the fun of it?