Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
One of our restaurant clients down in L.A. received a strange piece of mail recently. It’s from someone named Matthew Thornton, and the return address says “Western United States 120º West.”
The single sheet of paper (below) is titled “The Rupes Nigra,” which I promptly looked up. It refers to a mythical island that supposedly existed (or exists) at the North Pole, though the picture our interesting correspondent included is actually a depiction of the Tower of Babel.
I don’t know what to make of the text, which speaks of ley lines—lines drawn between certain landmarks and ancient sites—and “a map to a new world.” Turns out you can walk to South America!
Curious by nature, I Googled “Matthew Thornton” and learned that he was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Not that there isn’t a contemporary “MT” out there somewhere in the Western United States. The letter was postmarked Sacramento. And 120º West runs pretty much along the California/Nevada border, which is shown on the envelope, I figured out. That little blue spot must be Lake Tahoe.
Apparently, this Matthew Thornton has been mailing out these letters to many business addresses over the years. There’s a couple of reddit threads about him,
and one person, earlier this year, got the same message our client got. The reddit commenters wonder whether MT is schizophrenic or something, but I’d prefer to think of this project of his as a long-term performance-art piece or even some kind of geocaching game.
Why does everyone with an eccentric slant on life get labeled schizophrenic?
Like I said, I don’t really know what to make of it, but it’s given me something to think about to distract from the dystopian fearscape of American life in 2020.
Whatever the case, it’s nice to know, that if things really go sideways we can always walk to South America …