I hinted last week that Tuesday’s letters column could become a regular feature, and indeed I’m carrying it forward again this week. Of course much depends on how many letters I receive, and I’m pleased to report that my mailbox is still bursting at the seams.
To whom it may concern:
I have had a long history with gnomes, and I’m at the end of my rope. I’m hoping you can help me. It all started several years ago when I was driving with some friends down to the Jersey Shore. A gnome ran right across the Garden State Parkway in front of my car, and I had to swerve to avoid it. Of course nobody else saw it, but I am a good driver and had my eyes glued to the road, and I know what I saw! He was about 3-feet-tall and was wearing coveralls or a jumpsuit of some kind. He had a white beard and a red cap. Well, if it had been just that one time, maybe I could have chalked it up to my imagination or something, but since then I see them all the time, and usually it’s when I’m driving. But more recently I’ve started seeing them outside my house. I have a pond in my yard, and late in the evenings I often see a large group of gnomes cavorting around it. They scatter when I approach, but lately they seem to be getting bolder. I won’t lie, these gnomes scare the crap out of me, and I’m thinking of setting some traps, but thought I’d write and ask for your advice. Most people think gnomes are some storybook creatures that are only a couple of inches tall, but let me tell you, these things are much bigger than that! They’re smaller than a human, but big enough that they could do some serious damage if they had a mind. I keep seeing them closer and closer to the back porch, and I think it’s just a matter of time before they’re inside with me! Help! What should I do?
— Sherrie, New Jersey
Hi Sherrie, thanks for writing. There’s a right way and a wrong way to trap gnomes, and unless you know what you’re doing, I’d strongly advise against it. First off, as you mentioned, gnomes are bigger than most people think, and they’re quite strong. Even if you managed to trap one, you can bet that his friends would be laying in wait when you came to check your trap. I’ve forwarded your correspondence to gnome expert Dr. Willem Gelding (see earlier interview), and I hope he’ll respond with some advice about dealing with so-called “problem gnomes.” That, however, will be for a future column, and until then my advice is to keep your doors and windows locked, and don’t venture outside after sunset.
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Dear Mister Gnome Editor:
My life has been hell since I let you interview me! After that article appeared, my husband started taking me to see all kinds of doctors, and not long after that they put me in an asylum! It was just lucky for me that one of the nurses forgot to tighten my restraints after giving me my medications, so I was able to escape. Obviously I can’t go home or they’ll drag me back to that horrible ward with the padded walls. I can’t even send them a letter to let them know I’m safe or they will trace it. But I know you have journalistic protections, so please let my family know I am alive and well, and that I’ll come home if they promise not to take me back to the asylum, and if they also send photographic proof (through your blog) that there are no longer any gnomes living in the cabinet under the kitchen sink.
— Tulip Jane (on the lam)
Hi Tulip Jane! I know your family will be happy to learn that you’re alive. Gnomes under the kitchen sink, eh? I don’t think you mentioned that during our meeting, but I’ll certainly pass the word, and it’ll be up to your family to send me the photographic proof you say you need in order to return home. I hope this will be the first step toward reuniting you with your family and also getting you the help you so desperately need.
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Dear Nameless Blog:
I submitted nine entries to your contest. When do I get my prize?
— Impatient Wonderer
I have good news and bad news, Impatient Wonderer! The good news is that I’ve selected a winner. The bad news is that it’s not you. See below.
And the winner is …
When looking for a winner, I considered three key factors:
- Was it clever?
- Did it make sense — or could I make it make sense — in the context of a blog with wide-ranging subject matter, and with gnomes being a frequent topic?
- Was some other blog or business already using it?
Of all the entries I received, the one I kept coming back to is the winner, Roamin’ Gnomials by Leonie. It’s clever, unique, and indeed connotes a blog that “roams” all over the map with regard to subject material. So congratulations to Leonie. Your prize will be winging its way to your doorstep in short order!
Those with astute powers of observation will note that this blog has already taken on a slightly different appearance, with a larger header that will feature the new name starting with my next post. In the coming weeks, the blog’s appearance may undergo further visual tweaking, so keep an eye on things and let out a yell if you approve … or even if you don’t!
On second thought, why delay any longer? The contest winner has been alerted and is eagerly awaiting her prize, so huzzah for the new blog name. It’s been a long time coming, but to my mind, well worth the wait.