Monday, December 23, 2013

He'd Rather Get Fruitcake

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It was almost 20 years ago when Jim Murray wrote one of the greatest Christmas columns ever to seen print.
Here it is. Enjoy!

December 24, 1995, SPORTS


He'd Rather Get Fruitcake

    Stop me if you've heard this, but are you as tired as I am of the upbeat Christmas letters, the look-at-us, hurray-for-our-side family chronicles you get this time of year?
    You know what I mean. The ones that start out something like this:
    “Well, it's been a banner year for the Mulligans.  Christin finally had our first grandchild, a bouncing baby girl, 9 pounds 7 ounces, who'll probably grow up to be our first woman President.
    “John has taken over the Federal Reserve System. Paula is still working on a cancer cure at Johns Hopkins and we expect a breakthrough any day now. A Nobel Prize, perhaps?
    “Dad and I are enjoying our retirement. He has produced a new hybrid rose for our garden that is hailed by horticulturists everywhere.
    “I am still busy with my charity work, saving the whales, protecting the spotted butterflies, supporting a Hottentot village in the South Pacific and still have time to combat illiteracy in our universities and lobby for outlawing the death penalty but legalizing abortion. Dad thinks I take on too much but I was on Howard Stern twice last year and am taking dead aim on Oprah Winfrey.
    “Phil got his PhD in optical engineering and is working on the telescope with which they hope to bring in Heaven by the end of the century. Rita is in the Peace Corps some place where they can only get a message out by bottle but finds her life fulfilling and thinks the dysentery is only temporary. Harriet is still into archeology and they have found the lost city of an Aztec sun god of the second century BC, but she can't find her car keys.
    “So, all in all, it's been a joy and we look forward to more of the same in 1996 and hope you all are enjoying the happiness and success that has been our fortunate lot this year.”
    Well, when I read those, I have this irresistible urge to pen the kind of letter I dream of receiving:
    “Well, it's been a good year on balance for the Mulligans. Clarence got out of prison in time for Christmas and the good news is, he likes his parole officer.
    “Hilda got another divorce, her ninth, and she has moved back home with her 11 kids. We don't know where her ex-husband is. Neither do the police.  He's two years behind in child support to Hilda and 10 years behind to his other five wives.
    “Paul has stopped sucking his thumb. We're proud of him. He's only 16.
    “Carl is doing better. He's happy to say he cleared $30,000 last year begging from cars at the corner of Crescent Heights and Santa Monica Boulevard. He is buying a new Mercedes. He loves it when they yell at him, 'Get a life!'
    “Frank lost his job at the factory. They're downsizing. Particularly with guys like Frank who they said was late 47 times last year, didn't show up at all on 20 other days and got caught making book in the company cafeteria.
    “Tom goes around burning flags. He's not unpatriotic. He says it's a good way to meet girls.
    “Alice's movie career is progressing nicely. She got to wear clothes in her last flick — a garter belt.  She also got a speaking part — all moans. It's not Shakespeare but it's a start.
    “Jonathan flunked out of another college. The dean explained, “Jonathan missed the question ‘What year was the War of 1812?’ but he only missed by 2.”  We tell him if he had a good jump shot, he could miss it by a century and still graduate cum laude."
    Face it. Wouldn't a letter like that be a welcome relief?  So, have a great New Year. Just don't tell us about it, eh?

Reprinted with permission by the Los Angeles Times.

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