Anthology of Answers: Riley Responds to Slew of Suggestions


Riley Wheaton

The suggestions box is located outside the Deanery.

Over the last month, since I first set out The Observatory’s suggestion box, I’ve gotten a wonderfully wide array of questions. Some of them merit complete columns of their own. There were also some suggestions that I very much want to respond to, but which I couldn’t write a full two pages about. You’ve made some really great and deep suggestions and those are going through the process that turns questions into articles as we speak (much like the process of turning bills into laws). But this is the Anthology of Answers, a collection of the answers to questions I wanted to get out as soon as possible… Beware some of my answers may not be entirely serious…

Question 1: Delinger

Delinger is one very near and dear to my heart. Jack Delinger was a gymnast in high school, went on to win Mr. Northern California and later Mr. America and Mr. Pro Universe. He embodies what is, for me, the central element of the American Dream. Work hard, work out hard, and also be very buff. That’s my America. It’s my fondest hope that someday I’ll be just like Mr. Delinger and win beauty pageants for men based on my incredible musculature. Right now the most feasible plan I’ve come up with to achieve this goal involves replacing all the other contestants with small sacks of flour with faces drawn on them… It’s a work in progress.

Question 2: Deja vu (spelling?)

The short answer to this question is, no. Yes, you spelled deja vu the conventional way, suggester. However, it is my view that spelling represses creativity. The idea that a lone arbiter should decide how everyone in the whole world expresses themselves grinds my gears. A kindergarten future genius I had the pleasure of studying under several months ago sent me a note back in november which said “Der Riley, thank you for krving my pumpcin.” This struck me as how we should all spell, so that we can let loose the passion within our hearts unencumbered by “conventional spelling.” I have no doubt that if you ask your English teachers if they require conventional spelling on papers they’ll tell you “of course not, I want to support your creativity.”

The written word is art and we must take from art whatever we put into it. Accents are repressive! Now I’m getting deja vu.”

— Riley Wheaton

A brief note on the history of this phrase which you have asked how to spell. Deja Vu is a french term and therefore requires some crazy accents over the e and the a. Accents, like spelling, are designed to force the reader to hear the word exactly the way the author heard it thereby limiting the process of creation. The written word is art and we must take from art whatever we put into it. Accents are repressive! Now I’m getting deja vu.

Some of you may ask, “Riley! Why’re you spelling things conventionally? I feel betrayed!” Well, angry voice, you should see my drafts.

Question 3: Bees?


I’ve been told by a reliable source that this is the correct answer to this question.

Question 4: Corn/Pizza

I’ve gotten ten suggestions for “Corn” in various forms and about two dozen suggestions for “Pizza.” The reason these suggestions have fascinated me is the simple question, where they all written by the same person?

All the pizza suggestions were written on scraps of paper torn from the same sheet. I tried to reassemble the sheet but was only able to get a small part of it back together. I examined all the pizzas for handwriting similarities and found that the formation of the “a”s was very similar in all, they all had about the same height/width ratio. The “i”s too had a distinct distance of separation between the dot and the line. It’s similarities like these that police use to match handwriting, and that technique is why criminals leave those stupid notes with the letters cut out of magazines and newspapers.

Whoever sends in the coolest Observation or prediction will receive a corn related prize along with some CHOCOLATE.”

— Riley Wheaton

The corn suggestions, however, didn’t follow as close a pattern. This was partly because the suggester (or suggesters) sometimes drew some really good pictures of corn rather than writing “corn.” I loved the pictures! I think this writer (or writers) took pains to conceal the similarities between the suggestions because they varied the size of the word, the placement of the letters (strange but true), and even the way the “o”s were drawn. At least two different pens were used and there were purple specks on one of them. This is something of a mystery.

Nevertheless, The Observatory is ready to project that all pizza suggestions were written by one person and the corn suggestions were written by two people.

I am now pleased to announce our first Observer of the Month Contest. I’ve posted images of all suggestions in a drive folder. This folder can be accessed by typing (or clicking) If you have any Observations (get it? Cuz we’re The Observatory?) you’d like to share, or if you’d like to make alternative predictions or even come forward as the author of these suggestions, feel free to email me at [email protected] or find me on twitter @rileyobservato1. Whoever sends in the coolest Observation or prediction will receive a corn related prize along with some CHOCOLATE.

Question 5: *Giant pine cone*

The week before last a giant pine cone turned up on my suggestion box. I had no idea what it was so I moved it out of the way so that people could admire my only successful art project in the last decade. Someone moved it back. I then took the view that it must be a suggestion, but what does it mean?

Is it something to do with the little protruding petal things? The Fibonacci sequence? Is there some strange antidote inside that cures all ills? Is someone trying to send me a cryptic mobster message like a fish in a bulletproof vest? Is Luca Brasi “sleeping with the pine cones”? Maybe the pine cone grew so large because it was nourished with love and its owner wants to pass that love on to me. If that last one is the case then I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

This brings me to our second Observer of the Month competition. If you have an explanation for this mysterious possibly magical pine cone, email them to me at [email protected]. The winner will receive the massive pine cone in question as well as CHOCOLATE.

Question 6: Go vegan?

I assume this is a suggestion to me personally, perhaps in the hopes that I’ll one day be fit enough to win Mr. America! I appreciate the suggestion but I’m far too fond of meat to give it up.

Question 7: Riley, you’re a cool dude. BUTTS

Can you imagine what SPA would be like if, sometime in the next week, every student in the school gave a compliment to a someone they didn’t know? When I imagine that it looks pretty good to me.”

— Riley Wheaton

I’ve gotten a surprising number of unpleasant suggestions in this box. People have taken advantage of the mask of anonymity I offer to make some very pointed personal attacks on me. I’m disappointed that SPA community members feel the need to do this and I purposefully omit their contributions since I don’t believe in giving their cowardice a platform.

However, it’s suggestions like this one that get me through the day. Someone put a valentine in my box a week or two ago and someone took time out of their day to write this for me, even though I’ll probably never get to thank them in person for their empathy. Taking an opportunity to do something simple and nice for someone else (maybe even a stranger) can be an amazing thing.

Can you imagine what SPA would be like if, sometime in the next week, every student in the school gave a compliment to a someone they didn’t know that well (ideally not one based solely on appearance)? When I imagine that it looks pretty good to me.

Thank you very much to whoever wrote this note. You’re amazing.


Thank you so very much to everyone who has written me a thoughtful suggestion. And thank you very much to anyone who’s written me a silly one! Every time I look in the box and see that someone’s left me a thought, suggestion, or question I fill up with excitement. It’s like a little Christmas morning of my very own.

Keep up the good work (stay tuned for columns on how to ask a girl (or anyone) to a dance, feminism, and much more) and I look forward to naming the winners of the first ever Observer of the Month competitions! THERE WILL BE CHOCOLATE!