From the Archive: The First Letter Ever Written
In an effort to better society and enrich the Thing X Intellectual Property Division, we continually acquire, through every means necessary, letters, journals, and other writings of historical import. A sampling of these documents is shared with readers here. Due to the delicate nature of the original copy, the text has been transcribed below.
The following text has been transcribed from a petrified strip of bark believed to contain the first letter ever written. Discovered during an excavation near the banks of the Tigris River, this crudely etched personal correspondence is now stored in the Thing X Historical Archives so that no one may ever enjoy it.
To Whom It May Concern:
Me Hakkuk. Hakkuk live on fertile alluvial plain. Not much news here. Sun rise high again today. Sky bring heat, not bring rain. Plants need rain soon—
GAAAAHHHGHGH What happening? Words in head now words on bark also? This not what usually happen when Hakkuk gather wood. Me got bark to patch hole in hut, and next thing me know, it holding ideas. Cannot put bark on house now or everyone see Hakkuk’s thoughts! This not just bark anymore. Now it letter.
Wait, me call this “letter,” but me not know why. Why not call it “toaster?” Yes, me call it toaster. That easy for Hakkuk to remember.
Who this for, this toaster? Not for me. If me wanted to see me thoughts, me think them and cut out intermediary. It stand to reason this must be for someone else. It flat and light bark strip and Hakkuk can have it delivered long and far. But who me know that understand picture words? And what keep them from using it to patch hole in THEIR hut?
By Marduk, this a tough one!
Well, Hakkuk into it this far. May as well keep making thoughts. Me hungry and scared. But what else new? Ha, ha, ha! That is joke. Like toaster, joke also not exist until now. Part of human condition, which reader identify with because there death around every corner.
This remind me there more important things to do than write letter to person that likely not even know how read. Hakkuk should be fixing hut or plowing nutrient-rich silt deposits before me am struck down by sickness or tiger!
Whoa! Write word tiger almost as scary as real tiger. This letter crackle with tension! Me scaring self. Better slow down.
Whoever read this probably freak out worse than Hakkuk because it collection of ideas from the past—at least it reader’s past; it my present—and it come to you from some delivery person. Not worry! This no deviltry or magic. It just me, your buddy Hakkuk, and it just like we talk face and face, but with words on bark instead, and me not yell at you first to assert dominance.
But listen to Hakkuk ramble on and on…
Oh, no. This last forever! What if it filled with terribly embarrassing things? No one ever send thoughts on bark before. May bring shame to ancestors. If me tell story about trying to mate with aurochs one cold night, that make embarrassing. What if me send it to brother, Rarghak, and he never let Hakkuk hear end of it?
Me should have thought this through more. It too late now. Day nearly over. Sun get low and cool, and soon tigers come. If I not get inside, it make orphans of Hakkuk’s eight children.
Me not want become social outcast known only as weirdo who scratch on bark. Please nobody read this. Or if read, keep to self.
Hakkuk must beg discretion of recipient in this matter.
To Whom It May Concern,