My nephew Auben, age 9, is moving from Santa Fe back to his former home in Naples, Florida.  My mother, who also lives there in Naples, informed me of this via email.  In my reply to her I pointed out advantages and disadvantages of each place, then apparently touched a nerve by finishing my letter with:


One unfortunate thing is that, living in Florida, Auben is going to be under the influence of all those Florida dorks.  And he's going to be going to school with the children of Florida dorks.  This is the main thing I'd be worried about.  What's going to happen to him?


Our exchange follows.






The people who live in Florida are not dorks; after all, I am not a dork.  Of course, no one place has a market on the dork population.  There are a reasonable percentage of dorks everywhere.  Granted the educational level is not as high in Florida as in places in the eastern U.S. etc., still the retired citizens in Florida are normally very successful and highly educated people.

       On another point, I must tell you that you failed to wish me a Happy Birthday on or near May 26th.  This old girl turned 62........Ugh!  At that age you need greetings from you children because no one else seems to care that  your going down hill.  I did miss that greeting since you are so important in my life, but then what's another year.

       Back to my gardening!


       Love M......for Mom




Dear Mom:


Sorry I missed your birthday.  I remembered it earlier in May, then by the end of the month it had slipped my mind.  I'm getting older too, you know.

     As for the question of there being a lot of dorks in Florida, well, I can't really prove my point through email, but I'm sure sociological research would demonstrate a dork factor at least thirty percent higher than in other states.  It may be hard to find anyone to do the research though, as it would be considered politically incorrect.  Besides which one would have to spend a lot of time interviewing people in Florida.

     Probably the most painless way to demonstrate the high dork density of Florida would be to let Floridians themselves develop the research model.  People from other places could then just study the research proposal for scientific viability, malapropisms, spelling errors, etc.  The fact of the proposal being written on KFC napkins may itself prove something.

     But happy late birthday anyway!








       Dear Eric:


       Thanks for the Birthday wishes. 

       Florida is dorkless, and that's final.

       I just watched the movie, "The Perfect Storm".  Wow, what a movie. One can never imagine the ravages of a stormy sea, but that movie helps it become a reality.  It was unbelievable.  It was on my home T.V. and it was scarry.  I can imagine what it looked like in a theater.

       I'm off to bed now....Nighty night!








I've never seen *A Perfect Storm*.  A movie I think you might like is *Hearts in Atlantis*.  I know you like Anthony Hopkins, and he is particularly Hopkinesque in that film. 

     So you think Florida is dorkless.  I kind of doubt it.  And as regards the other question, that of whether or not you yourself are a dork, how can you be so sure?  In your first reply you wrote me that Floridians are not dorks, then added:


"After all, I am not a dork."


I think many people would say that only a dork could write a sentence like this.

     No, we can never be so sure of such things.  Even I might be a dork and not know it (though it is highly unlikely). Sometimes when I'm walking the sidewalk and catch my reflection in a shop window the phrase will flash through my mind: "Look at that dork."  It hits me before I have time to think; before I can correct myself, as it were.  It's even more likely to happen if I'm wearing sunglasses.

     Now people in Florida, as everyone knows, are already more or less dorks, and they go about all the time with sunglasses on, typically with mirror sunglasses.  What's more, there are shop windows everywhere there in Naples, shop windows reflecting their images back and forth: a sort of echo chamber of dorky images.  Because of this I submit that what you have there in Naples is a nearly infinite multiplication of the very specter of dorkiness--a dorkiness that could beat hands down the dorkiness of any other part of the country or indeed the world.  That you yourself walk around in the midst of all these horrid intersecting dork-specters might increase the dorkiness of Naples, Florida, or it might somewhat lessen it.  But how can you--or indeed any of us--be sure?








Reading this whole exchange I am led to wonder: Am I a bad son?

     In any case, one thing seems pretty clear: only a dork would post an exchange like this on the web.

     But consider:






NOTE: Any Floridians, dork or otherwise, who care to contest my position on Florida's dorkiness are welcome to email me.  In the spirit of open debate I'm willing to post your comments on this page, starting below:


Letter 1, from "Lora" [just more confirmation of my thesis]:




I happened upon your page while doing a little research on Elaine Pagels for a Comparative Religions class I am taking.  Your communication with her regarding her book Beyond Belief was interesting, and contributed to formulating a paper I am getting ready to write.  [See: Beyond Belief ]


Your e-mail to her regarding the dork factor in Florida had me rolling with laughter.  I live in Florida, and I do believe that dorkiness is contagious.  In fact when I first moved here I was convinced that brain suckers lived on the Florida/Georgia border and before you could take up residence here you had to feed them your brain. The only thing I am concerned about is that they may have moved farther north...  I don't think Georgia is faring all that well either. 











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