It was beautiful! I felt alive. I loved everything I could see. I sprinted out into the street and hugged the garbage man. He was beautiful. He looked really surprised. Maybe I should have worn pants but there was no time for that.
In my hands I held a Christmas card. It was even addressed to me. To me! Someone had sent me a Christmas card. A bona fide recipient of the Ribbon of Participation. I was finally somebody.
“God bless us, every one!” I yelled at the top of my lungs. I’d never felt a stronger sense of belonging.
Yes, it was time for a let down.
The envelope was made of heavy stock. It had that “Christmas Card” heft. In the corner was a postage stamp of a festive snowflake. In the top-left corner was a return address sticker. The old-school kind used by us pre-millennial folks. There was clip art of an idyllic wintery scene of a house, peacefully alone in the wilderness, surrounded by evergreen trees, and dusted with freshly fallen snow. So Christmasy!
I read the name on label with keen interest: “Chris Thomas.”
Well, I’ll be! Chris, you old dog! What the hell have you been up to all these years? Sending a Christmas card out of the blue? That’s classic Chris, that’s for sure.
What a minute.
My spidey-sense was tingling.
Who the hell is Chris Thomas?!
The neighborhood echoed with the sound of my heart shrieking in pain. It was just made one size smaller.
Squinting in distrust now, I looked at the return address more carefully.
2260 East Imperial Hwy.
El Segundo, CA 90245
I don’t know anyone in El Segundo!
Taking out my electron microscope, I reexamined the addressee. It was supposed to look handwritten but it was obviously a font. A sneaky damn font. This was some kind of pre-printed thing meant to only appear like it was done by hand. My heart got yet another size smaller.
Lastly, I noticed the machine coding on the bottom of the envelope. Hmm, I thought to myself. Most humans don’t take the time to add that. What does this mean? Either the envelope was created by a machine or one of those damn millennials who had taken a bar-coding calligraphy class.
My heart had now officially reverted to standard Grinch sizing. “Bah humbug,” I muttered under my breath and punched the return address into my computer. In a matter of moments the answer glowed across my display:
Customer Service Contacts
If you are not 100% satisfied I want to know!
E-MAIL: Ed Balcerzak, Sr. Vice President Customer Care
The game was over.
Like an automaton I went through the motions of sliding open the envelope. Slick, full color glossy advertisements for DIRECTTV spilled out and covered the table. I wasn’t surprised.
There were no wishes for peace on Earth. There were no tidings of comfort. No tidings of joy. No one asked me to don my gay apparel. None of that mushy stuff was there!
Instead, in the name of Jesus, I was being harassed into spending money and consuming retail goods and services at an alleged discount. Instead of “peace” there was the word “savings.”
“God bless us, every one,” I yelled again, this time with feeling. Things were back to normal in the Abyss.
Facts about my old friend Chris Thomas:
- Voted “Most Likely To Suck” as a senior in high school
- Steals presents from Whoville to fuel DIRECTV programming
- Is an ambidextrous rectum-sniffing assface (this takes true skill)
- Made a deal with the devil for a fiddle made of gold
- Thinks he’s going to heaven; thinks you are not
- Voted “Most Likely To End Up On A Milk Carton”
- Voted “Most Likely To Grab A Donut”
- Voted “Most Likely To Go To Prison”
- Voted “Most Likely To Produce Porn Movies”
- Voted “Most Likely To Meet Chris Hansen”
Yes, DIRECTV. I have noted your attempt to initiate a business relationship based on deception. Nothing else matters except getting ’em to open the envelope, right? To sign on the line that is dotted. Would you push your own grandmother off a cliff to make it so? I bet you would. It’s actually refreshing to get that much honesty about how fraudulent you’ll be at every turn if I should decide to hitch my wagon to your horse. I appreciate knowing who you are up front before getting into bed together.
Win at all costs. That’s the DIRECTV reason for the season.