My Love and I are ready to start our annual yuletide battle of the wills and, as mine is as squishy as the ancient Sunkists in our fruit basket, I'm preemptively conceding. Therefore, let it toll throughout our fair, deep-in-hock land that Uncool Christmas card recipients will again be subjected to an annual family holiday newsletter.
I know, I know. Most people hate holiday newsletters. As a fellow blogger recently wrote me: "Your life is not interesting enough to warrant a four-page, four-color tabloid, thank you very much."
True. In fact, most people's lives aren't that interesting yet here we all are, spewing our every thought, alleged bon mot and detail of our kid's last bowel movement on blogs, Twitter and Facebook.
Chew on that while I continue.
The first holiday newsletter we did, back in 1998, was completely justified. We had moved in midyear from the Northeast to an exotic foreign land where the hair is high and the pickles are fried -- Dallas, that is … the Big D, Cowboys and concrete strip malls, y'all -- so we inadvertently lost touch with some good friends. Our solution was a cute one-pager, laid out and written in newspaper fashion, highlighted by a guest column from our new puppy (the late great Kiner was a fine writer but a ham-fisted typist).
The format has changes over the years, but we continued to grind them out … mostly at My Love's behest.
"If people need a written synopsis of the past 12 months of our existence to know what's going on with us, doesn't it stand to reason that we are no longer that close to them and should take them off the Christmas card list, period?" I recently said to her.
She deftly countered with "no."
Therefore, newsletter naysayers, I will do my best to keep it tolerable. For those about to attempt their own newsletters, here's my advice:
Keep it short. I can summarize a year for four people and a dog takes me about 250 words. Twice, in pre-Thing 2 days, I summed up our lives in less than 152 words. Now I'm thinking of writing it Twitter style: "No one died or fired. Won't need to sell kids to pay mortgage. You?" Seventy-three characters to spare. Boo-yah!
Keep it entertaining. For a few years, Kiner served as letter narrator. He made many typos but still wrote better than the executive I once worked for who wrote (twice!) that the company would "use all the tools in our arsenal." Bob, if you are reading this, let me say again that tools are kept in toolboxes and weapons are part of one's arsenal, arse hole.
Avoid bragging, boasting and obnoxiously clever designs … but if you must, do all three past the point of obscenity. My favorite holiday newsletter annually comes from a family friend who, without fail, dazzles us with tales of exotic locales, brilliant career moves and over-the-top leisure pursuits (alpaca farming in Australia covered all three in 2005). These letters come fully packaged, one time as a glossy, UV-coated self-designed N.Y. Times crossword puzzle folded into an origami Ankylosaurus. On 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper, no less. Reading these always gives me a good belly laugh of self-righteousness ... followed by weeks of grave depression over my feeble existence. Well, nobody's perfect.
Uh-oh, My Love just asked me what I'm writing about.
"You're writing this year's?"
"No, I'm blogging about how I loathe writing ours every year."
"Oh. I was hoping …"
"C'mon. Why, why, why must I do this year after year?"
"Because you're the writer."
"Cop. Out. Expand YOUR skill set, sweetie. Why don't YOU write it this year and I'll read it over and say, 'Hmm, I don't think we should say THAT!'"
"OK," she said.
Mixed with a homeless cicada.
"OK, I'll do it," I relented, "but you need to finally clean the dog poop off your running sneaker that has been sitting in the laundry room sink for two weeks."
Lonesome train whistle, off screen.
Bare light bulb swinging in the dark night.
Tree falls in the forest but only a deaf, dumb and blind pinball wizard witnesses it.
"I'll think about it," she said.
Crap, literally, I'm on it.
Speaking of, vote me out of the bottom-dwellers at Humor-Blogs.com or else the newsletter is headed for your mailbox ASAP.
My Uncool Past
- ► 2012 (61)
- ► 2011 (57)
- ► 2010 (100)
- ► 2009 (87)
- ▼ December (9)