"The loss of my school-related stuff was huge, but a lot of my personal life was also archived on that laptop. I had all my photos, calendars and contact lists on that computer as well as a bunch of more quirky and obsessive things that helped me feel like I had a life and an existence (a record of every menstrual cycle for the last seven years, every love letter I'd ever written, an outline for a cheesy romance novel, an ongoing list of essay ideas I could use when I was finally done with graduate school hell and could pursue my passion, writing humor).
—"Since You Asked", Salon.com
A N O P E N L E T T E R T O T H E
L A D Y W H O S E L A P T O P I
S T O L E R E G A R D I N G Y O U R
M E N S T R U A L C Y C L E
BY THE DUDE WHO STOLE YOUR LAPTOP
Dear Lady Whose Laptop I Stole,
First off, I've really been enjoying the novel drafts. What can I say, I'm a romantic at heart! Just outside the heart, though (specifically in the bloodstream), I am a junkie, which is why I stole your laptop. Hell, I'll just admit it—I was going to sell your computer in order to buy more heroin. I can't get enough of that stuff! But I turned it on and poked around first, in case you had any naked pictures of yourself in your iPhoto library. No such luck! But I did find your humor pieces, as well as your lengthy seven-year log of all of your menstrual cycles.
What the hell is that about?
I asked a lady who I sometimes cook up with if she'd ever kept a log like this, and though she's been far too undernourished to menstruate for some time now, she told me that she'd never heard of such a thing. I was fascinated, and kind of grossed out. And inspired! I really feel like I know you now, at least as well as anyone can know anyone after breaking into their apartment, rifling through their valuables, reading their dissertation, and then learning the precise dates of each one of their periods since the dawn of the century.
But I do feel a sort of kinship. Who knows, in another life, I might've been a struggling humorist too! Which is why I've prepared a New Yorker casual about your log, in the style of funnyman Andy Borowitz. Here's an excerpt from the first draft:
SHOUTS & MURMURS
The Braun Diaries
by Andy Borowitz
The younger a woman is when she has her first period, the more likely her children are to be overweight, a new study suggests.
It was the historical find of the century: recovered from a secret bunker below the famous Fuhrerbunker in Berlin, three imitation pleather-bound volumes of detailed handwritten records of each and every one of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's wife Eva Braun's menstrual cycles.
Newspapers and lady magazines fought like Upper East Side women at a Bloomie's handbag sale for the rights to the diaries. Cosmo offered $1 million, the Daily Mail 250,000 pounds (they figured that would be worth more than $1 million soon enough), Elle $2 million, and Highlights for Children $2.5m for the rights to turn it into a Goofus and Gallant parable about proper bunker etiquette.
Once the first excerpts leaked into the press, though, some historians offered their doubt as to the logs' authenticity. This entry, from April of 1945, presents some glaring anachronisms.
Monday, 9:45 PM. Day two menstruation, relatively light flow.
Adolf keeps asking me when my first period was. Oh, I feign ignorance, but I think Magda [Goebbels] told Joe about the book. Neither one of them can keep a secret. Dolfy keeps babbling about our children being "fatter than Mussolini's bloated corpse"! If he does know about this diary, well, I'll never get him to shut up about it. I mean, I know 12 is average but he insists "only mongrels bleed before there's grass on the mound."
As we all know, sexual baseball metaphors weren't popularized in Germany until well after the war, upon the local release of the German-dubbed Major League in 1989, when the inspiring performance of those rag-tag misfits inspired the denizens of a divided Berlin to finally "tear down that wall and strike this motherfucker out."
As you can see, it's still a work in progress. I need to add references to contemporary topics like trans fats, old Jewish women, and alternate-side parking. But I hope you enjoy it, and I hope, someday, to steal your replacement laptop. Not for the junk money, this time, but for the human connections.
The Guy Who Stole Your Laptop