To whom it may concern,

What the fuck is the matter with me?

I ask myself this question pretty often, sometimes multiple times a day, but it’s usually meant to be… meant to be… damn. What’s the word that means a question that doesn’t necessarily need an answer?

Shit.

I’ve been losing words lately. Being a writer, you can probably tell how much this distresses me.

Most of my recent writing suggests that I am paid to create MadLibs:

“‘I’d like to go to the (place) ,’ said (person) . ‘Do you think we should tell (person)_ that we are going to (verb) at the (place) once we’ve finished (verb) ?'”

I despise MadLibs.

It’s not just that I’m just forgetting words, either; that I could handle. Not well, mind you, but definitely better than I am this. No, I’m losing words. They’re disappearing from my life; my expressions ending, colloquialisms ceasing.

I open up books to find random words missing. Gone, like a mass printing error. My dictionary is missing the entry between “infinity” and “infirmary”. By the end of the week, I expect whole pages to be erased from existence and, by the end of the month, I wouldn’t be surprised if every one of my carefully chosen and purchased books, magazines, newspapers were nothing more than numerous mounts of fresh, virgin sketchbook paper.

And it’s not just the written word, either. Words have gone AWOL from my usual speech patterns, as well.

I fear that as my fluency of the English language deteriorates, as I literally become dumber and dumber by the day, I will become more adept in the speech patterns of the modern day caveman:

Grunt… ugg… beer…bah… football… grunt… boobs…”

I made an appointment with a wordologist, recently, to get my condition diagnosed and, after several spelling tests and grammar exams, he wrote me a prescription. He told me to take two prepositions and call him in the morning. Unfortunately, I think they were merely placebos.

In my desperation, I have resorted to more disgraceful and less legal methods of dealing with my problem. Late at night, I meet with shadowy figures in alleyways and darkened corners, purchasing dictionaries and thesauri that have “fallen off of a truck.” I feel awkward and shamed but, they assure me, “everyone’s doing it.”

My dealer gave me a Word-A-Day desk calendar after one of our first transactions – The first taste is free, he told me – and, for a while, I was fine. But, then, I just couldn’t help myself; I was taking three, four, sometimes upwards of nine or ten words a day. I would sit alone in my room, absorbing word after word. By the time January was over, I was through half the words in April and already lost most of the words from March.

No one knew of my pain.

After I finally admitted my problem, I looked for help. I started attending Linguistics Anonymous, on Tuesday nights at the library, but quit after only three meetings. During our breaks, those hypocrites would sit around, furiously scribbling numbers into their Sudoku puzzle books, trading one filthy addiction for another.

My life is in a downward spiral and I fear that it won’t be long before I hit rock bottom. It’s already taken all of my strength and concentration to write this much.

Please, if in the coming weeks and months, my end of the conversation is lax, consisting of only words of one syllable – or just a series of grunts – if you should receive a letter or email from me that looks like a dyslexics nightmare, or if you should stop hearing from me all together, please, understand my dilemma. Should you see me begging for wordscraps outside of a bookstore, be kind, be generous.

But, most importantly, stay safe.

If, one day, you’re doing a crossword puzzle and just can’t think of the answer for 34 down, if you’re conversing with a friend or neighbor and suddenly a word just slips your mind, don’t make a joke about it or laugh at your “brainfart”.

I’m doing everything I can to raise Vocabuloss awareness – Surely, LOST’s Jorge Garcia would play myself in the poignant and moving Lifetime made-for-TV film, At A Loss For Words: The Frank Cvetkovic Story. – so, please, don’t ignore the warning signs. Get yourself checked out. Learn from my life and my mistakes.

I would hate to see anyone else have to suffer the same afflictions that I have.

Frank Cvetkovic

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