An Open Letter to Manti Te’o, from Jan Brady
Hi, Manti Te’o. It’s me, Jan Brady! I’m a sophomore at Westdale High School in California. I live with my three brothers, two sisters, and parents. Oh, and Alice! Don’t forget Alice! (She’s our maid, but she’s more like one of the family.) We’re a real bunch. A “Brady bunch!” Ha-ha-ha-ha!
I think it’s really neato that you play sports. My favorite sports people are Don Drysdale and Joe Namath, and it’s too bad that you didn’t win the big championship game, but I bet you’ll still be the Big Man on Campus until you graduate. But that doesn’t mean that you can go around and tell people that you have a girlfriend who isn’t real, and that she died.
Lying is wrong, Manti. And you shouldn’t lie to people to try to get them to like you. If you have to pretend for them, do you really want them to be your friends?
But we Bradys don’t judge, Manti. Also, I understand. Even me, the great Jan Brady, lied about having a boyfriend! I was just so tired of everybody talking about how great and how pretty my sister Marcia was, and how every boy in class wanted to talk to me just so they could try and go steady with Marcia. Marcia! MARCIA MARCIA MARCIA! It was driving me positively bonkers! So I wanted to feel special too. I told everyone that I had a boyfriend named George Glass. (Where did I get that name? Oh, I don’t know. I think “George” just came to me, and then I saw a glass on the table.)
Nobody believed me, Manti. Not even Marcia. But then something amazing happened, Manti: I met a boy named GEORGE GLASS. He was real. So maybe you’ll get lucky, too, and your pretend girlfriend will turn out to be real!
Or, you could reinvent yourself. When it’s time to change, you’ve got to rearrange, after all, so now would be the perfect time to introduce the world to “the new Manti T’eo.” Here’s how you do it: 1) Get a dark wig. 2) Wear it to a party. 2) Be the new Manti T’eo!
Another way you could get everybody to like you again is to say that making up a pretend girlfriend was that you were playing a joke. One time I tried to reinvent myself by wearing a dark wig to a party. Everybody thought I was making a joke and they laughed at me! I went home crying, but when I found out they thought it was supposed to be a joke, I pretended it was a joke, too. See, pretending! You’re already out-of-sight at that, Manti!
In the meantime, don’t worry about all the attention. Sure, the school newspaper and Dear Libby probably won’t have very nice things to say about you, but you just remember that you’re the famous Manti Te’o and everything will be all right. In fact, maybe you could come over for dinner! My little brother, Bobby, is a big fan, and you could play catch with my sister Marcia’s face. I mean, my brother, Greg. He’s the captain of the football team and the Big Man on Campus. And you’ll love Alice’s famous meat loaf! (You’d have to come to my house. I’m not going back to Hawaii ever again.)
P.S. Don’t smoke.