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It arrived today, the first of them. It arrived from someone I once considered a friend; not anymore. Today, she made the final cut. It began with the all too cheery writing on the envelope, continued with the feel of the glossy paper within, the promise of a Kodak (Smoke Crack) Moment, and, sure enough, the gloss emerged with the words “Season’s Greetings From Ours to Yours.” As I stared at the end of our friendship, my mind wandered…
Oh God, it’s getting to be that time again: sleigh bells ring, sister, are your cold sores blistering? In the lane, brother, why are you re-enlisting? The holidays…and this…the first of the Christmas Card, America’s way of saying Willie Loman is alive and well.
“We have had a wonderful year. Jeremy got promoted and I gave birth to our lovely baby girl.”
“Our year was blessed by our purchase of the house in Green Lawn.”
“The family sure has had a time cruising around in our Subaru Outback and I have returned to my painting.”
Oh, how I hate the Christmas Card. Every year, I write little retorts in my head to these bits of correspondence.
“We have had a terrible year. Jeremy got fired and hit the bottle again. I gave birth to a child who promises to have a full fledge case of anti-social disorder by the time she is six.”
“Our year was ruined when the bank foreclosed on that trailer in Brown Lawn.”
“The family has had a hard time getting around this year due to the several DUI’s and I have returned to the anti-depressants.”
I know this sounds angry and bitter, but I think my disdain stems from something deeper, a complete disillusionment with what Christmas has come to mean: clobbering people in Toys R Us for the last Tickle Me Elmo, mandatory court cards to 12 step programs such as Visa Anonymous and the desperate Kinko’s copied form letter complete with pukey cute little graphics that cry “My family is doing okay. We are! We REALLY are.”
What happened to that little star in…where was that star at? Be Little Them. What happened to those three dudes from, god I forgot that to, but I do remember they had cigars. And what about that little kid in the whole Christmas deal? What was his name again, hey Zeus? No, I am not angry, just a little disillusioned.
I am especially disillusioned by the people who get their Christmas Cards out WAY before Christmas Day like the one I received today. Where did they find the time? Don’t they have anything better to do? Somebody in that family has got to be…dare I say…unemployed, but, yet, in their card, it makes no mention. Oh no….everything is all mistletoe (a tree killer) and reindeer (an animal close to extinction). No, I just cannot trust these people that entertain such contradictions and turn around and don’t admit to any foibles. Nope.
I guess I am stuck having relationships with people like my brother. I trust my brother. He has never gotten a Christmas present out before January 9th and…Christmas Cards? Never, he still can’t spell due to that Montessori experiment 25 years ago (Something that was not mentioned in my parent’s Christmas Cards). But I like him even if he spells Celebration…Sell abrasion. I like him, also, because he sends me things like he did today.
His present was an email attachment entitled “10 Reasons Not to Drink.” The reasons not to drink were 10 of the most embarrassing images of drunken passed out people I had ever witnessed. One was of a man, who looked eerily like my brother (not everyone has hair of a red headed Shaft); someone took the time to place multi-colored shesh kabob sticks all over his fro. The pictures got progressively more compromising…
The Day Five picture consists of a women sitting bow legged on a green suburban couch wearing Levi’s and a black tank top and she looks eerily like me. Well, most people would say so, because, for some reason, people always lump me in with every other blond including Aileen Waronos and, on occasion, David Lee Roth.
This particular blond serial rock star’s head has fallen to her chest and in her right hand there is a half empty bottle of Cuervo, but the real cincher is the moisture around the zipper of her Levi’s; this blond girl has done peed her pants.
Seeing this picture of this tinkling blond made me realize that this year I, too, have found the perfect Christmas Card. I am going to print it out and in all too cheery font (Wingding, perhaps) write “It’s Beginning to Look A lot Like Christmas” at the bottom of the photograph, take it to Kinko’s, make copies for my friends and family. My true friends will appreciate my card when they receive it somewhere around January 15th; they will know where I am coming from, but my friends, like the one I spoke of earlier…well, I can just imagine her opening this envelope and perusing the image through Prozac lenses and calling her husband, “Uh, Brian, come look at this…I think Renee, I think she has…problems.” He will step away from his computer where he is downloading kiddie porn and they will discuss the nature of my problem in plural form before returning to their prozac and porn. Oh,Season’s Greeting from Ours up Yours.
R. Gurley, MA, MFA, is a writer and English teacher with over 20 years of experience with words, whose works have appeared in Coping Magazine, Lehigh Valley Woman’ s Journal, and Budget Press. You can view more of her work at https://medium.com/@reneegurley