31 December 2011
The Annual Letter
Back to the struggle. If I want to say the family is thriving despite individual problems, should I just say they are thriving? That’s so 1980s—like everyone had a functional family. Or should I lightly mention they are either poor, jobless, or depressed, whichever applies where? But that’s sort of a teaser, right? Must be another way. For all I know, the recipients could be poor, jobless, and/or depressed too. You don’t want to rub it in. Empathy at all times.
Does Mexican friend want to hear what a great city I live in? Not when he’s battling annual floods and fighting for turtle rights. Does cousin Agnes want to hear she’ll have to buy the family history? Likely not. Does my high school friend want to hear I went to Scotland without her? What about Uncle Sydney when he hears I was in his town last year and didn’t visit him? And worst of all, who wants to hear about more camels.
So why am I doing this and what will I “talk” about? Should I repeat stuff from my blog that they never read? You don’t have to remind me that not everyone gets thrills and chills from genealogical problem-solving.
But wait. Speaking of thrills and chills. How about medical reports. Everyone likes a little of that. For advanced hypochondriacs who enjoy a good colonoscopy, maybe I could prepare a separate handout, you know: a blow-by-blow account of various symptoms, diagnoses, and operations; contrast and compare emergencies rooms; number up the friends in rehab centres (physical and mental). Mere cataracts and bunions don’t count. Slipping on the sidewalk doesn’t count unless it led to a hip replacement. Coronary stents and pacemakers should have a good audience. Funerals. Bedbugs. Now I’m thinking I could really go to town here.
I should probably omit events such as the outdoor café in Edinburgh where the stupid pigeon crapped on my stupid sandwich plate when I went indoors for the stupid salt and pepper. Or the time all the fake barnboard had to be peeled off my door. Or anything to do with Karaoke. Or the persistent man to whom I never properly explained the War of 1812. Or Amethyst cocktails and driving in your nightgown. Things like that.
It’s a delicate thing, the Annual Letter.
But a lot of fun. Oh what the hell. Throw tact and diplomacy to the winds! Happy New Year!
© 2011 Brenda Dougall Merriman