When did it become socially acceptable to send out a single-spaced, sometimes double-sided Christmas letter about what a fantastic year someone has had and how wonderful their family is? You find it folded up in a Christmas card with a picture of the perfect American family on the cover: husband and wife and two or three kids with a dog or two seated in front of the fireplace smiling their over-achieving smiles.
“Oh, uch,” you say, but you open it even though your own finances may be in a shambles, you hate your job, you’ve just had a fight and broken up with your boyfriemd/spouse, and you’re waiting for the lab reports on your colonoscopy.
You sit on your unmade bed and read this endless letter from someone you barely know. It starts off with Ted having been promoted to CEO. “He’s worked hard for it! We opened up the champagne for that one.” Ted, Jr. “gets a big slap on the back for being accepted to Harvard. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it?”
You stop reading for a moment, but it draws you back like a train wreck. Slumping over now, you read on. “We’re trying to keep Sally from getting a big head after graduating Valedictorian from her high school! Just kidding. She came back from her volunteer work on Habitat for Humanity with her feet pretty solidly on the ground and even more committed to a year’s work in Uganda fighting AID’s. Teddy Jr. teases her endlessly about becoming the first female president.”
You fall back on the bed and reach for the bag of Lundt’s chocolate balls. Tearing the red wrapper off on, you pop the whole thing in your mouth, it’s too big, but you roll it around trying to resist biting into it as you read on. The wife, who’s writing this epistle (you pause, where do you know her from? Oh, never mind) says that her cupcake business has become a nation-wide phenomenon, and she’s in the process of selling the recipes for so much “I think they added a couple of zero’s by mistake!”
And, that’s only the first paragraph. The letter goes on and on through every single fabulous thing they did after the last bragging “newsletter” was written. Tucked modestly in the middle of this one is the Christmas party they went to at the White House last year. “I was nervous but Michelle was really down to earth and we’re exchanging recipes.” As you unconsciously go through what’s left of the bag of chocolate balls, you read to the bitter end.
“Wow, what a great time we all had in Dubai. You really must go first chance you get!”
Last year it was Turkey. Why do I remember? You ask yourself. And why am I on their mailing list? I haven’t talked to them for years. The bag is now empty. But, wait, it’s not all good in the letter
“Poor great grandmother, Bella, passed away this year, but it was peaceful, and she was surrounded by family.” Then, without a pause, “Ted, Jr. is getting a lot of attention with his Youtube videos of our guinea pig, Winston Churchill. What amazing feats he’s taught that little creature to do! (Check them out sky diving at www.flyingpig.com Winston’s very own website!)”
You sweep the letter and the empty bag of Lundt’s chocolate off the bed, roll over, fall into a deep sleep praying that it will be Jan 2 when you wake up.