Last week I got one of those annual holiday letters from a high school friend. This was the second week of March, mind you. What made it even more remarkable was that it was the third such Christmas New Year's greeting I'd received this month! Each one, of course, started with some lame, jokey excuse: "Hey, only 10 weeks late -- not bad for me!" "My New Year's Resolution is that next year I'll be on time with my card." Last week's writer claimed his was a combo St. Paddy's Day / First Day of Spring greeting.
Whenever I get one of these better-late-than-never cards, it begs the following questions:
1. If writing these letters is such a chore and a drudge that you can't get them done till mid-March, then why force yourself to do them at all?
2. Once you've blown the Christmas/New Year's deadline, and you still feel the need to produce that card, take your time. Don't worry about the excuses. Nobody's counting the days till we get your letter.
3. Honestly, though, isn't the holiday period stressful enough without having to do "assigned reading"? Wouldn't a good old photo card serve just as well?
4. Is there anyone, specifically, we can blame for coming up with this custom?
5. How is it that only amazing and very, very wonderful things happen to holiday-letter senders? College acceptances! Phi Beta Kappa awards! Engagements! Weddings! Twins! Promotions! Professional society honors! Remarkable travel adventures to exotic places! Wow, what a year!
Neither my wife nor I has ever felt tempted to write one of these annual reports. But you know what? I think I will. Right now. And one more thing: I'm gonna tell it like it is:
Dear Friends and Family,
All's well here in the Nutmeg State. As I'm sure you've heard, we've had one of those good old-fashioned New England winters up here -- tons and tons of snow! During the last storm, visibility was so bad I backed into a parked car in Bridgeport! And just a few days later, I rammed one of those traffic dividers. (They really shouldn't leave them in the middle of the road.) Oh -- and I also got a speeding ticket while driving in Vermont. Let me tell you, this new car of ours is so quiet you just have no idea how fast you're going!
As always, I'm getting a lot of enjoyment out of my running and biking and skiing. Though I did miss a good bit of the spring and summer and fall with a herniated disk. And a torn meniscus. But I seem to be turning the corner and getting back to my good old healthy self.
Speaking of sports, 2013 also saw me give up golf, after a brief two-year fling. I tried my best to get into it so I could enjoy the camaraderie with my friends and my sons, but I came to realize a number of important things about the sport: It's slow, it's boring, it's frustrating, and I hate it.
I also had my third TGA episode in 2013. TGA stands for "transient global amnesia" -- a temporary memory loss brought on by overexertion during a workout. Never heard of it? That's because it's pretty rare. And having more than one episode? Even more rare. Let me tell ya, the docs were puzzled all right. But worry not: The old memory is just fine.
I also had some other medical misadventure, but darned if I can recall what it is.
Made a few family trips out to always-sunny-and-78 Los Angeles to visit Son No. 3 at school. You might have heard his USC Trojans were Numero Uno in the pre-season football polls. Turns out they didn't even make the conference playoffs, but hey, there's always next year!
Well that about wraps it up from yours truly and Carol and Matt and Greg and ... what's that third kid's name? Whatever. From all of us to all of you, here's to a great 2014!
Even though it's already freakin' March.
Hank Herman is a Westport writer, and "The Home Team" appears every other Friday. Hank's adventures with his dog, Ricky, can be followed on his blog "Beagle Man" on the Westport News website -- http://blog.ctnews.com/beagleman/ Hank can be followed on Twitter @BeagleManHank and reached by email at DoubleH50@gmail.com