Background on the Christmas Letter Files here. Yes, I actually sent all these letters to family and friends over the years. They’re fake summaries of a life I never lived, about relatives and pets I never had.
Ho ho ho —
And a bottle of rum. This is daughter Janie, knocking back a belt of Bacardi so I can write this letter. It’ll be short and sweet.
First: YES, Violet and I survived our Club Med para-sailing disaster. YES, my bikini top blew off at 15,000 feet over the Andes. And NO — for the ten thousandth time, NO — I will not discuss my frostbite. And it’s true: a TV movie detailing our ordeal is in the works (tentative title: “Twin Peeks”). Violet is driving the producers mad begging to portray herself, but they want the part to “play younger” — that is, they think Vi’s too old for the role. She may get a cameo shot as Mom, though.
Speaking of Mom, a few months of having her parents living here drove her out of the house. She couldn’t take Grammy’s daily harangues: “You’ve never done _______ right!” (clean, hunt, marry… you fill in the blank.) And having Gramps’ parakeet, Genghis, pecking bald spots on her head was more than she could stand. She took a full time job working a jackhammer down at the new mall.
Jimmy had some sort of life crisis this summer and got culture. Now he dances ballet. Yeah. Goodbye Soldier of Fortune, hello Swan Lake. He’s got tights, a pout more Russian than Baryshnikov, and a pirouette that knocks hell out of vases in the living room. Gramps wants to test him for genetic damage — thinks maybe in all those commando raids Jimmy’s Y chromosome got addled. But whenever Gramps brings it up, Jimmy clips him in the head with an arabesque.
Daddy can’t get enough of the Navy or far enough away from Grammy and Gramps. Now he’s at Top Gun, flying jets. Last week he buzzed our house in an F-18. Dangerous move — there are no rules of engagement for family feuds. Grammy ran out in the yard with her makeup mirror, trying to reflect the sun into the cockpit and blind him.
Daddy returned to base, loaded his bomb rack with flour sacks, and came back for a Pillsbury strafing run. Grammy outran him, zig-zagging across the patio, over the chaise longue — a trail of white splats marks her path — around the barbecue, and into the pool. Which is now a 20,000 gallon pit of papier-mâché.
We pulled Grammy free and hosed her off before she hardened. Then things turned ugly. While we screamed and dove under the lawn furniture, Grammy tried to hose the F-18 with her pearl-handled Uzi. Daddy uncorked a Sidewinder missile. There was a flash, a boom, and a brief “cheep!” Dirt clods rained down, then flaming bits of newspaper and a tiny scorched bird swing. We looked up to see chartreuse feathers settling into a crater where Genghis’ birdcage had stood.
For a second we just gaped. Then from the living room we heard “The Blue Danube” playing and Jimmy shouting, “Jeté!”
That, to make a long story short, is when Mom had her nervous breakdown.
So I’m writing the letter this year. Mom’s making progress, but isn’t allowed visitors at Shaky Acres yet. And please don’t send flowers. Bouquets trigger her flashbacks about Genghis’ funeral.
What else? Twink is apparently normal. Vi and I have finally buried the sibling rivalry hatchet. And —
Whoa. Vi just ran in screaming that the TV producers are going to make our story into an animated movie, casting Ariel, the little mermaid, as her and Marge from The Simpsons as me.
HA HA HA HA!! Too bad, Vi! Hey, quit it. OUCH! Vi, cut it OUT!! Don’t tip over my chair —
Violet here now. Janie is such a bi—
Janie, let go of my hair!!! Okay, you asked for it. ^)*$%jkl+) ++bn$%@
And a Happy New Year!