A conversation with a Hollywood heart throb’s assistant
Random musings on Swedish names, Pol Pot, Hollywood, and serial killers
By Nate Thayer
April 26, 2017
This week I was invited to attend a gala event by a Hollywood movie star. It was important and fun, to boot. But the communications swirling around before, during, and after the event were also of note.
On Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 11:13 PM, Astrid wrote:
Subject: From Matt Dillon’s office/ Refugees International’s 38th Anniversary Dinner
I am Matt Dillon’s assistant; he wanted me to make sure you had all the details for tomorrow’s gala that he is emceeing.
Your name has been added to his guest list. There is no need for a ticket, names will be held at the registration desk.
Any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me. Also, please confirm you received this at your earliest convenience.
Refugees International 38th Anniversary Dinner
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
5:30pm VIP Reception
7pm Dinner Program
On Apr 25, 2017, at 12:00 AM, Nate Thayer <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Thanks heaps for the particulars of tomorrow nights event. They are much appreciated. I will be there and make sure to have showered and shaved and be on my best behavior.
Okay. Now on to the important stuff. I had never heard of your name, Astrid, prior to your incoming email missive. I liked the sound of it. It reminded me of the name of one of my favorite dogs, Astro, on the cartoon series from way back, “The Jetsons.” That dog made me smile many times in my youth.
Astrid has a real zing to it, too.
I bet “Astrid” is very hard to pronounce correctly in many languages because most people have not developed those muscles sufficiently.
I tested it just now. Here is how one has to transition one’s mouth and cheek muscles, lips, tongue, and breathing just to pronounce your name, which takes about 2 seconds. You should try it if you haven’t already:
1. Open mouth and breathe out
2. Clench teeth (continue breathing out in an aspirated tone)
3. Place tongue on the front roof of the mouth
4. Tongue moved back towards the rear maintaining it on the roof of the mouth
5. Open lips, keep slightly puckered while breathing out
6. Form lips by smiling with cheek muscles in smiling position while lightening up tongue still kept near roof of the mouth
I couldn’t resist. I had just never heard the name Astrid before and I like it, a lot.
Apparently “Astrid” had the highest ranking of new baby names zooming up in popularity in 2016, according to some site on the internet which I googled but now forget: “The 50 hottest names of 2016, in order of popularity on Nameberry and including the percentage they jumped over last year, are:
Girls: Astrid, up 101%
Sorry for getting off track, but I did need a break from researching and writing the story that has fried my brain all day.
So thanks for that, the invite to tomorrow and on passing the details, and the entertainment of field testing how to pronounce your excellent name.
On Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 9:12 PM, Astrid wrote:
Subject: Re: From Matt Dillon’s office
Sorry for the late reply to such an awesome email! Thank you.
I don’t know where my Salvadoran parents heard it, but I’m glad they chose it for me.
I sometimes get called Ingrid after people learn my name, I’m not sure what is the correlation…aside from the “rid.”
Hope you had a lovely time at the gala.
from: Nate Thayer <email@example.com>
cc: Matt Dillon
date: Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 10:42 PM
subject: From Nate to Astrid cc’ing Matt
I did have an excellent time at the gala and thanks for your excellent efforts making sure I arrived prepared, efficiently, and fully informed.
Whoever calls you Ingrid is an idiot.
I don’t like that name.
Ingrid is currently ranked number 74 in Sweden, and peaked in popularity in the properly organized world (i.e. the United States) in 1967 at Number 380. It has been downhill since then.
The name is most common in Norway, but everyone knows that there are a lot of things wrong with Norway and it is not a real country, sort of like Belgium.
The “Ing” in Ingrid is derived from the Norse god of fertility, peace, and prosperity. That might sound positive, but don’t forget those Norse Gods are what a big chunk of far right-wing White Supremacists and neo Nazis here in North America and Europe worship and they would be happy to send your butt back to El Salvador in a nano second, regardless of whether you were even born there.
So there is that.
I am confident Matt needs you badly, Astrid (Please forgive me. I love just saying that name.
It makes me smile and, as I mentioned, reminds me of the excellent dog, Astro, on the cartoon series in my long ago youth, the Jetsons).
From my admittedly brief observations, Matt is a loose cannon and he needs a sane, sober, steady hand or we might all be in danger.
Civilized people have to be very careful of people like him and prepared to immediately identify when people like Matt and his ilk are no longer in the best interest of a properly organized society to allow to roam about unsupervised.
Believe me, I know about these things. The same has been argued about me, but I don’t have an assistant, a girlfriend, a priest, or even a mother who hasn’t pretty much thrown in the towel and left my not necessarily bright future in the hands of the Gods or the State.
Fortunately we have institutions here which are capable of protecting the common good from people like me.
But they are not as adept at preventing similar people who have assistants from undermining The National Interest and Greater Good.
Let’s get back to you and your excellent name, Astrid. (I just love saying that name).
The name Ingrid, which I do not like, has no connection to Astrid, which is an awesome name, save they are both Scandinavian names.
I feel morally obligated to warn you that I am not convinced that Matt likes your name that much.
Last night at the D.C. gala, for example, I tried to explain to Matt how interesting the quite complex mouth, lips, breathing, and tongue muscle symphony and coordination is to just pronounce Astrid properly.
He was alarmingly uninterested and tried to feign that I was making a public spectacle of myself trying to explain this to him.
To me, this did not seem very respectful, by Matt, of either you or your excellent name.
I would keep one eye on full alert around that fellow.
Why your parents, who you say are from El Salvador, named you Astrid, I have zippo idea. But, you might want to ask them.
Have you ever introduced Matt to your parents? My God! I hope not. It is important whether someone has made the cut to meet ones mother.
The name Astrid has been around in Sweden since the 10th century, and is most importantly the name of the author of the Pippi Longstocking stories, Astrid Lindgren. And Astrid is currently in the top 25 most popular names in Sweden.
In more properly organized and civilized countries where we don’t worship Vikings and eat rancid fish, like here in the United States, Astrid has yet to break the top 1000 in popularity.
Then again, popularity is overrated. I have never been a big fan of popularity for popularity’s sake alone (But then again popularity has swung both ways regarding me, too. So there is that).
But let’s get back to the important stuff. Your name is Astrid. That is a Swedish name. Your boss, Matt, is currently working in Sweden.
I don’t trust the Scandinavians. They all claim to be such goody-two shoes, and they have too much free time to let their mind’s wander and then they get up to all kinds of no good.
And the fact remains they eat that horrid fish, Surströmming. Look it up. Civilized, normal people do not consume these things.
I don’t know if you believe in coincidences, but if you do, you might want to take into account that your name is a Swedish name, Astrid, and your boss, Matt, is currently starring in a movie currently being filmed in Sweden, where he plays a serial killer.
What is wrong with him?
I am worried about him.
Why can’t he play normal people?
I remember, in the good old days, when he was normal and made movies like “Something About Mary.” I loved that movie. Not the least for the reason that my rather short list of GF’s at the time would inevitably get swoon worthy and then want to smooch me and so on and so forth.
Plus Matt had an excellent mustache then, unlike the quite alarming scrabble currently on his face which makes one wonder whether he even bothers to look in a mirror before venturing into the public square.
Does Matt mutter to himself when walking alone on the streets of New York City?
Then again, Something About Mary is the only movie of Matt’s I have watched, except for “City of Ghosts”, and that is because Matt has an unhealthy interest in a country, Cambodia, from which I fled long ago after I wasted my now rapidly diminishing youth trying to wrap my head around why they killed 2 million of their own people.
You do know that Cambodia is pretty much the Penn Station (a place I have learned Matt claims to not like) where all serial killers go to pay homage to the Serial Killer Heavyweight Champion of the World, Pol Pot, right?
That Matt has an alarming fixation on Cambodia concerns me. Along with the fact that Matt strikes me as a bit shifty eyed.
We need to get to the bottom of this serial killer obsession thing of Matt’s.
You do know every serial killer in history has abused animals as a child? If you find yourself availed of the opportunity, if you could snoop around a bit, as his assistant, and see if Matt tortured frogs in his youth, I, and likely much of the country, would be most grateful.
My gut tells me that I would be, if I was his assistant, very, very careful, if I were you.
There is more going on in that mans brain than he is letting on to, and it makes me nervous.
Keep one eye open at all times. I have seen his sort before and it rarely ends well. And since I like your name–a lot–I wanted to give you a heads up.
Is Matt up to date on his medical appointments? As his assistant you need to be on top of these things.
I am cc’ing Matt on this message just so he knows he is being monitored.
Thanks again for all your help on arranging my smooth arrival at the Gala last night.
I wish you had been around to protect me from the unseemingly influences of your boss, Matt, who forced me out against my will doing things my mother would not approve of into the wee pre-dawn hours when I should have been home with my pal, my dog Lamont, who actually has my best interests in mind, unlike, I am pretty sure, Matt.