I’m trying to be all healthy and active and whatnot

I Read A Lot of Internets

guest post: jiveturkey

Due to the aforementioned *#(Y&(&@#(&) brand of busy that I have going on this week, I decided to outsource posting to a few people. If I had had this idea sooner than Sunday, I would have asked more people, but I think you’ll find that the two people who I did recruit are veritable goldmines of lulz and all-around rad writing.

This post is from JiveTurkey. I wish I could remember how I came upon this lady. But I’ve been hooked on her blog for some time. She never fails to crack me up. Bonus: she works right down the street from me and a few weeks ago I asked her out on a little blogger playdate, which was a really fantastic way to spend a lunch hour. We have plenty in common, including our subsidization of our more artistic pursuits with administrative jobs and tenacious commitment to big, old Pittsburgh houses.

During our playdate, Ms. Turkey told me this tale that nearly made me pee and I’m so glad that she’s recreated it here for you. Now, without further adieu…

Now Is The Winter Of Our [Rectal] Discontent

Wow. A guest post on kdiddy? Me? Really? Well, I suppose the only way to fully deserve this honor is to talk about rectal bleeding. No, seriously.

A tradition I think (and hope) is approaching its slow and painful death these days is the mailing of the annual Christmas letter. Ah, the annual Christmas letter – where you learn all the details you never wanted to know about the people you only see at large funerals and weddings. I don’t recall my parents ever sending out such a letter (although my mother still religiously sends out Christmas cards. And Easter cards. And Thanksgiving cards. AND HALLOWEEN CARDS. For real. You have not lived until you have gotten a card from your mother that reads “Happy Halloween to a Wonderful Daughter and Her Husband! You’re Loved So Much, It’s Scary!”), but I know for sure that we always received these inane letters from other people in the outskirts of our family and social circles.

Obviously, we have email, blogs and social networking sites to thank for facilitating the end of the Christmas letter. Even my most technology-backwards relatives are online these days, which makes it easier to stay in touch, but harder not to reply to my aunt’s 150th “I Said a Prayer for You Today” forward with “I did not die for your sins so that you could fill your niece’s inbox with bad clip art and sentences that begin with >>>>>. Love, Jesus.” Now that everyone can communicate so easily and immediately, there’s no need to send out three typewritten pages on your family’s yearly doings every December. The most I get these days is a handful of red and green cards with maybe a school picture or two thrown in, and that’s just fine with me – especially because I don’t send Christmas cards to anyone. It’s not that I’m some kind of cold-hearted motherfucking Scrooge, it’s just that I’m lazy, I don’t care, and I think it’s a waste of money. In other words, I’m a cold-hearted motherfucking Scrooge.

But as absence makes the heart grow fonder (…of mocking things), I’ll be damned if I don’t JUMP at the chance to get my hands on a real, live annual Christmas letter these days. Because, honestly, the only people who still write these fucking things are either a) dinosaurs, or b) arrogant enough to think that people still give a shit. Either way, the result is COMEDY GOLD.

Case in point: the distant relatives of my in-laws who took the time to detail – on watermarked, cream-colored, holly-bordered, 100% cotton resumé paper – that their cat had learned how to use the toilet. Let me repeat that: the news that these people decided to share with one and all in the Jesus-reason-season was that THEIR CAT COULD SHIT ON THE TOILET. Happy Holidays, y’all!

But nothing compares to the gem that was bestowed upon us this year. Actually, it was more of a “Christmas in July” thing, because my mother-in-law had forgotten to forward us the letter until she ran across it this summer. I usually only glance at the things my mother-in-law takes the time to fold into threes and mail to us (usually it’s just misspelled clippings from her local paper or a panel of “Howard Huge” that she found especially poignant), but this letter – in all of its typewritten glory – drew me in. And I’m so very glad it did, Internet, because now I have the distinct pleasure of sharing this marvel of the written word with you.

BEHOLD! The most awesome Christmas letter of all time! These are actual excerpts, my friends. ACTUAL EXCERPTS:

“JON is still living with CATHIE, hasn’t found a job but continues to film his former high school football games.”

The all-caps gossip-column style? All hers. I’m entirely sure “JON” appreciates his unemployed status being trumpeted from the rooftops during this blessed holiday season. But no matter – if he’s upset, he can just complain to that whore with whom he’s still (still!) living in sin. (Also, does anyone else picture Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite when they try to picture JON?)

“WILL is still at the metal shredding factory. CATHIE and I like his live-in girlfriend Amber very much.”

Ooo, snap! No caps-lock for you, Amber, you live-in hussy. “Very much,” indeed.

“CATHIE will finally have hip socket replacement on Dec. 22 and will likely spend Christmas in the hospital.”

Joy to the world!

“Brother GEORGE also developed peripheral neurology in his feet. He is enjoying get-togethers with his wife’s family.”

I submit that he is not enjoying much of anything right now because OW MY FUCKING FEET.

“ALICE and DALE went to Olympic National Park for a week. Unfortunately, I seemed to collapse after they left.”

Hold on tight, Internet. Things are about to get super fucking festive up in here.

“My feet burned as if I was walking on hot coals and the ointment I was using gave no relief.”

So…no wassailing then?

“On Nov. 8, a stroke in my right eye has left blurry vision.”

Oh.

“On Nov. 18 while in my doctor’s office I had what appeared to be a heart attack.”

Let me take this opportunity to remind you that you are not reading the Journal of the American Medical Association. YOU ARE READING A CHRISTMAS NEWSLETTER.

“An EKG showed some heartbeats with slow pauses. I left the office in an ambulance for the ER, had a pacemaker implanted the next day and came home the following one.”

Oh my. Well, here. At least have a Christmas cookie.

“This was another December with rectal bleeding.”

Nevermind.

OK, hold up: another December? There’ve been others? And when did it ever seem like a good idea to include the word “rectal” in a CHRISTMAS LETTER?

There are a couple other paragraphs after that one, but really. There’s no topping that. I mean, look, I get it – old folks like to talk about their ailments. My grandmother certainly did, and it used to really depress me until I realized that if you tried to get her to branch out into other topics of conversation, she’d just end up saying things like “That Barry Manilow is really talented; it’s too bad he’s a faggot” in public.*

So, Internet, promise me this: if, in my twilight years, I ever start blogging about my various and sundry medical conditions (especially those that contain the words “rectal,” “anal,” or “bum-bum parts”), please drive to my house immediately and push me down the stairs. The world simply cannot handle another December with rectal bleeding.

*Yes, she totally said that. IN PUBLIC.

17 comments to guest post: jiveturkey

  • I LOVE those newsletters. Because I am a total voyeur. And my parents send one and get a lot in return–it’s the standard way military families keep up with everyone’s activities. But I always get the shaft in my parents’ newsletter. My siblings get whole paragraphs. My brother gets his pilot’s license and has a baby, my sister is still saving the lives of beloved pets and hiking the Grand Canyon, and me? I rate two sentences that inform everyone I’m still living in upstate New York with my husband. And the highlight of their trip to visit me last year was, according to their newsletter, the food.

    Maybe now that I’m With Child, I’ll be worthy of some real space in the family newsletter.

  • Since you’re a Guest Blogger you may not know this but I work in an open plan office full of fishbowl windows and people at desks practically in my lap. So I’d like you to revel in the fact that about 15 arrogant young financiers now think that I have a. lost a beloved relative, b. choked on a complimentary cashew or c. finally crossed the line and become as big a freak as they always feared. All this because you wrote “So…no wassailing then?” among other things. Choking on my laughter, tears in the eyes, shaking in my chair. Very undignified.

    Thanks!

  • Jon Conley

    It just really isn’t December unless there’s some rectal bleeding.

  • One of my very dear friends (who I swear has about a million other redeeming qualities) sends out these types of Christmas newsletters every year. And she’s my age (early 30’s) – NOT a senior citizen. I don’t really get it. So far, though, none of her newsletters have mentioned anything about rectal bleeding. I feel cheated. I guess I have to stay friends with her for another 50 years until I get that kind of gem.

  • It’s not Christmas without updates on weeping sores around here.

  • What Kizz said. Thank goodness for a very noisy air conditioner next to my head. Not sure how I’m going to explain sorbet all over my keyboard.

  • My grandma sends out a Christmas letter every year. She writes it out by hand (in her squiggly handwriting) and then my aunt photocopies it onto holiday-themed paper using an ancient photocopier. So no-one can actually read the letter, is what I’m saying. I feel cheated. Like I could have been blogging about gram’s rectal bleeding if only the Christmas letter were legible.

  • baltimoregal

    It’s hard to top burning feet, an eye stroke (?), a heart attack AND rectal bleeding.

  • OMG I am related to JiveTurkey’s husband and we TOTALLY got the CAT SHITTING ON THE TOILET LETTER TOO! Its been a joke/laugh in my family for years. They also send pictures of the cat each year, more pictures of the cat than their CHILDREN. (we always count)I did not get the rectal bleeding one, that must be her side of the family.

    but in all honesty, JT, I totally see you talking about rectal bleeding, considering all the other stuff you talk about, and no I won’t push you down the stairs, because it would probably be funny to hear you talk about!

  • Can you really have a stroke only in your eye? And am I the only one who found the whole right/left thing funny? “A stroke in my RIGHT eye has LEFT me with blurred vision.” Ha!

  • Amy

    Big ‘ol fan of Jive Turkey…and now apparently I have another kick-ass blog to follow. I mean, anyone who thinks Jive Turkey is funny, has to be awesome, as well.

    You two had an actual in person playdate? For real? I have total blogger envy.

  • Sarah

    Am I the only one who is slightly creeped out by unemployed JON who films high school kids getting dirty and sweaty?

  • oh my dear heavens! that is amazing! and also insane.

    i have suspected that people that wrote those letters were just self-important asshats, but then i thought, i guess it is nice to share. but i think we can all do without the OVERSHARE.

    and was that letter meant to guilt everyone?

  • Jeanne

    OK, I confess that I send out a Christmas letter every year, and I LOVE to get them in return. I get to update out of town family without actually having to talk to them. I don’t think my letters are braggy, or that they cross into the TMI zone. I try to keep them light and humorous, usually poking fun at my husband (who I no longer show the letter to prior to mailing). I get annoyed when I get a generic Christmas card with just a signature, and since I don’t have the time to write a lengthy personal note in all the cards I send out, this is my best option. I realize it’s lame, but it works for us :)

  • Oh, how I wish I still had relatives that sent out the family letters. My would read: “Your Uncle is still living with your other Uncle and his live-in girlfriend of twenty-two years. This was another December with the prison regulated ankle bracelet.”

    “This was another December with the Rectal Bleeding.” hahhahaahah. Also, haha.

  • Fost

    Joy to the World indeed!

  • My MIL sends out a Christmas letter every year. One year we were expected to sing it out loud. It was set to the tune of Jolly Old St Nicholas. It centered around her favorite grandson (Nicholas). My kids? Not mentioned. The next year she wrote a witty little poem with 2-3 lines about every family member except – wait for it – my son. I think it is a passive agressive stroke of genius that she has the balls to mail the thing to us.

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