Dear Apelord,

Do you really believe that the living can communicate with the dead? Are you some kind of idiot?

Ted Schmidt

Apelord Responds:

Dearest Ted,

I was initially stung by the tone of your question, but upon consultation, your late grandmother says that you were "a twisted little freak of a boy who wet the bed 'til he was 17". Her words, not mine. But the dead always speak wisely.

It is easy to prove that the dead can communicate with the living. After all, has not Shakespeare spoken to literally dozens of people through his plays, sonnets, and advertising jingles? And he is just one of the prominent dead people who continue to project their ghostly communiques to the living. I could name several others just as prominent -- Bill Veeck, for example.

And are we frightened when a long-dead author speaks to us from beyond the grave through the pages of a book or the photons of a television screen? Do we run, shrieking, from the room when we stumble across a quote in print from a deceased poet? Of course we do. And this is just one way in which the dead reach up from the depths of the netherworld to tickle the hairs at the back of your neck. (Do not shave those hairs in an attempt to avoid the sensation of being watched, by the way. It only helps for a few hours, and then it itches for days.)

"But Apelord," I hear you say in your petulant whine, "You've only said that the dead can speak to us through stuff they've left behind. We can't talk back to them, though!" What a foolish thing to say! Of course we can talk back to them, just as we talk back to the television set, the computer (especially when Microsoft products are involved, it seems), or any other inanimate object. Do the dead listen? Do they respond? Once again, I consulted your grandmother, and she assures me that the dead do indeed pay attention and react to the words of the living. You wouldn't doubt your beloved Gram-Gram, would you, Ted?

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