Pain in the Year End (1985)

Well (or unwell), now. It's that time of year for reaching out and Dutching someone, and you know we just couldn't let a year go by without sending another of our personally autographed form letters, whether or not you are the type who enjoys receiving them. 'Tis the season for closest loved ones to reveal just how much they have to say about themselves, and how little they have to say about you. We have no word processor, no revision capabilities—each letter has been impersonally mimeographed for your enjoyment and everyone else's. Sound interesting? You bet. And if a copy of the mailing list found its way into the envelope by mistake, you'll be even more interested in learning what sort of people we equate you with. It's all because we love you, and want all on our Christmas list to know how dearly valued and underappreciated they are, no matter where their names fall in the alphabet. If you did not receive your letter, please let us know, so we may write next year about how very popular we are.

Now for the substance, the thing that makes Christmas such a special event in our household—so much more special than it is in yours—namely us. We've been so very, incredibly busy this past year, like you just wouldn't believe—it's no wonder you're only now hearing about it. The process really began in March, when I received a bonus twice my hourly salary and a week's vacation in which to spend it, provided I didn't bring home anything weighing over four ounces. So we spent a week in Wilmington, and I'm happy to report that the tumor weighed only an ounce, excluding membranes. Wanda fed her marigolds with it. We really must send you some, once you return the enclosed card specifying color. Speaking of Wanda (that is to say, writing of her—that is to write, rather), we were flattered by the coverage she received in the May issue of Hustler. I, for one, found Alaska a most appropriate backdrop, and in fact have encouraged her to spend New Year's Eve there while I discuss the possibility of future encounters at the magazine (communication is important in our family).

Uncle Franz didn't do quite so well this year. He cut himself on one of these envelopes, and as you know, he was a hemophiliac, so we had to get help. We naturally tried to save money by going to a free clinic first, but everyone we encountered there was gay. Imagine! Right here in our home town! Well, we know all about AIDS and those types from talking to the gardener, so we had to keep looking. Well, you know what happened? It got to be around six o'clock, and the market was running out of clean rags, and there just didn't seem to be any place really responsible where we could take our uncle for treatment. So we shot him. Governor Lamm sent us a notice of congratulation, but at no point did he try to upstage us. People play an important role in our family, sometimes.

We've been at a loss as to how to go about disciplining our 14-year-old son, Wiltern, who has serious emotional problems of unknown origin. We've tried soldering his eyes shut and jamming cactus in his ears in an attempt to make him listen, but you just wouldn't believe the disrespect that comes out of that boy's mouth. Swarms of Goliath beetles don't seem to get the point across, either. You'd think when the punishment outweighs the crime a kid would learn, but he only gets worse... We feel it threatens the stability of the family, so we're buying him a cage for Christmas—one with spaces too small to fit a glass through, but wide enough for potato chips—until we can get at the root of this shameful behavior. The boy must learn to appreciate the value of dignity.

With distractions like these, you'd think we'd forget about the true and underlying meaning of Christmas—and we do. But our daughter, Chan Dara, more than makes up for our common sense. In September she joined KULT—that's Kids Uneducated in Life's Truisms, or something like that—and it's just not the same experience talking at her any more. This organization, whatever it is, has made her impervious to brainwashing. She thinks, perceives, reasons and has facts at her disposal. Who wants to be around that all the time? We pride ourselves on knowing nothing about this group, but we are very disturbed that a member of our own family should display signs of mentality, or any other signs not displayed yesterday. It's a change, and our household is steadfastly resistant to change. We don't like change. We don't want you to change just at the moment, and you shouldn't want us to. We will kill you if you try to get us to change. This is not a joke. You don't know what we might have sprayed on this letter before you picked it up. Been in the produce section at Hughes lately? Then you should know what we're talking about. The world is ruled by the insane, remember.

What were we talking about, anyway? Oh, yes, change—we meant only in people, mind you. Home improvements are always welcome, and this year we were able to accomplish quite a few—in fact, you wouldn't know the place. We discovered that for less money than it takes to buy a coffee table, we could just borrow more and more books until we had enough to build a table out of them. Who cares about the table when you're buried in a book, anyway? Besides, the place seems much more spacious when it's mostly space. Wiltern did his part by hurling a Residents tape through the living room window, followed by our hurling him. Chan Dara helps keep the home free and uncluttered by not being here most of the time, despite asking us constantly for a key. We asked the city if we could have our address number changed to something more aesthetically pleasing, but all we got was a lot of cheek about geometry and the number line and some such, and we don't deal with intellectuals. So we'll just brag about what we already have—that takes less effort. So what if no one actually comes to visit? We've already told you we are social creatures, and just telling you should be enough.

Well, that's just about it. We're sorry there wasn't time to enclose a card, or a present, or money, or anything really having to do with the holiday that prompted this. We've talked at length about ourselves, though, and that's the main thing. Fortunately, no one on our list takes part in Christmas mailings, so we can keep telling ourselves what we want to believe—though there was that tarantula in our mailbox this morning, come to think of it. Have a very, very happy holiday season, one and all, and we mean that sincerely. Really. We just told you. Don't question our authority or we'll do it again next year. What year is this, anyway?


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