"[Mister Wonderful is] like a cross between Don Juan and William Gibson."
- M. Rourman, scientist and explosives expert
"Mr. Wonderful answers all those nagging little questions that no one cares about."
- N. Switzer, educator, actor, and parent
"[Mister Wonderful] would be a welcome addition to any cocktail party, provided he didn't bring up Salma Hayek. I hate it when he does that."
- B. Howard, philosopher, author, and editor of "Self-Service"
"Without him, we would never get e-mail."
- P.J. Switzer, art historian, shower singer, and parent
Have you ever wondered why the world is the way it is? Have you ever wanted to know the secret recipe for sexual excess? Have you ever said to yourself, "Hell and dammit, there just aren't any advice columns for literate and sophisticated people like me?" Well, hold on to your hats (if hats you have)...
Thanks to the intervention of a friend/family/enemy/other you are now part of that dynamic super-group of mortal men and women that receives "MISTER WONDERFUL ANSWERS ALL" via e-mail! Like Dave Barry mud-wrestling with Ann Landers on Mars, MWAA seeks to enlighten the world -- one query at a time.
THE MISTER WONDERFUL NAQ VERSION 3.14159.ALPHAGO!
-never asked questions about the world's sharpest mail daemon-
1) WHO IS MISTER WONDERFUL?
Mister Wonderful is a nom de plume (/guerre/amour) for Mark Anthony Masterson, an unpublished comic book writer who reads way too much and listens to Cop Shoot Cop. Mark has long enjoyed entertaining his friends with newsletters and broadsheets of great humor and little relevance. Mister Wonderful is the next step: a wise, witty, warm persona with the ability to answer any question at all, on any topic. This allows Mark to indulge his megalomania and creativity at the same time. We think it's funny.
2) WHO ASKS THE QUESTIONS? THIS MARK GUY?
No, no, no! You ask the questions, you people out there in Cyber-land! All the queries come from real knowledge seekers just like you! Readers from Denmark to California write to ask just any damn thing they can think of.
It's true, some of the questions seem a bit, well, made up. The point is they were "made up" by clever people other than Mark Anthony Masterson (probably Katura Reynolds (see below)) and the answers are valid nonetheless! Don't worry about it. This isn't an essay contest.
If you have any queries, just send them along to "misterw@******.com"
3) WAITAMINNIT. DIDN'T IT USED TO BE "MISTERDARK@*********.COM"?
Yeah, so what? Wanna make somethin' of it?
Long story short: Mister Dark and Mister Malice are other fictional personas that pop up from time to time in the column. They express the more cynical and cruel thoughts Mr. Masterson has. It's just a literary device and you shouldn't let it keep you up nights. But you should laugh.
4) IS THIS FOR REAL?
Oh, absolutely. Mister Wonderful has been answering questions for over two years (minus the odd month we consult Illuminated Masters in Tibet and Mac's Bar on First Street) now and has no intention of stopping. You can see the evidence (up to February 1998; we're, uh, working on that) at http://www.geocities.com/soho/6856/wful.html or in University Reporter magazine.
If anyone can figure out how to make this pay, it'd be even more real.
5) NO, I MEAN, ARE YOU TELLING THE TRUTH WHEN YOU ANSWER QUERIES?
Ah. Well, that depends. Was Keats right? Cuz if Beauty is Truth then we got one Truthful Momma of an advice column right here. Otherwise... yeah, it's basically all lies. But listen: these are good lies. This is the world the way it should be. You don't need bland "facts" when you go out and face society, that just plays into their hands; you need the secret wisdom of the ages, you need weapons to break down the monotonous walls of conformity!
How much more exciting is a ride on the bus when you know that the Transit Department designed the route based on Mayan glyphs describing a path through the Asteroid Belt, or that the Raiders baseball cap on the man next to you is actually beaming his thoughts to the super-computer of television personality Pat Sajak?
6) OH. HOW DO I STOP GETTING THESE E-MAILS?
You need a note from your doctor.
7) WHAT SORT OF PEOPLE READ "MWAA"?
Intelligent, creative people with stable personalities and big hearts. If you stop reading, you're probably a small-minded shrew on crack.
Frequent correspondents include Tom Graham, Tekurah McCullough, Neil Switzer and the Queen of Keen, Katura Reynolds (rumoured to be responsible for 75% of all Wonderful Queries). If you recognize any of these names, then you know what sort of person we're talking about. If you don't, then make up a personality for them, send it to us and we'll print it.
8) WHAT IF I DISAGREE WITH MISTER WONDERFUL?
Hey, it's a free country (yeah, right. Just try to leave the store with it).
If you feel strongly enough, write to us. We're pretty good about printing occasional "commentary" columns where alternate opinions are displayed. Oh, but don't expect to get away without a good mocking.
9) WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW?
The language can get a bit rough at times; if you're offended, we suggest applying white-out to the naughty bits on your screen.
In certain cases Mr Wonderful will use a string of stars "************" to let you know it's him talking and not the correspondent.
There are some running gags-- it's a good idea to check out the Archives if you want to catch everything. Even still, it's hard to tell the difference between a running joke and a private joke (some of these people have been infected by Mr. Masterson for years), so maybe you should just let it go.
Don't hesitate to be anything.
10) HEY! CAN I SUCKER OTHER PEOPLE INTO THIS?
Oh, please do. Just send me their e-mail addresses. Also, feel free to print out anything you like and pin it up to office bulletin boards, policemen, etc. Just be sure it includes the website address below and/or our e-mail info. A plague is just a disease until it spreads.