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Original Issue

White [Lie] Christmas

CHRISTMAS LETTERS contain more whoppers than all the Burger Kings on the Eastern Seaboard combined. Sure, sure, your Timmy is teaching blind kids to see. How nice, your Samantha just split the atom. Congrats, your schnauzer's a lock for the next Mars mission. Riiiiiiiight.

But now, with my new, patented Holiday Hooey Converter‚Ñ¢, you can get the real skinny behind all those fat corkers people send you every year in pretty envelopes. Just feed it through the slot in the top and—presto!—the truth comes spewing out. Take this one I got the other day.

Dear Friends and Family,
Well, it's time again for the Bragmoor Family's infamous Christmas Letter. ["Infamous" is right. One cousin moved to Biosphere 3 just to keep from getting it.] I've cut it from six pages to one, so I hope you don't mind the four-point type! Besides, with a sports-crazy clan like ours, it was hard to know what to leave out! [I started with the intervention.]

Let's see, why not begin with...myself? Ha! Ha! Well, not to toot my own horn, but this year I got my name in Runner's World magazine [not "in"—"on"—as in "on the mailing label"] after the 2:58 I ran in the Lubbock Marathon! [I hid in Schlotzsky's for an hour until the pack came back around.] I continue to run the local track club [into the poorhouse. My lover, Helmut, our upper-thigh masseur, skipped town with the cash box] because I believe in giving a part of myself [liposuction, twice this year].

And how's our little angel, Alexia, you ask? She's only 11, but she's already been offered a spot with the U.S. junior national soccer team! [She got a letter from them. Selling a two-day, $5,000 camp in Fresno. Addressed, "Dear Sir."]

Sadly, we'll probably have to decline since Alexia's also been offered the role of Annie in the Lincoln Center production! [Lincoln, Ill., that is. And it's not the play about Little Orphan Annie; it's the role of Annie, third penguin from the left, in Exxon Valdez: The Musical.] Choices, choices!

Our Teddy led his El Paso team to the Texas high school hockey championship again this year! [Not exactly a Herculean feat since only three high schools here have hockey. And working the penalty box door ain't exactly "leading."] A health and fitness nut, our hero seems bigger every morning at breakfast! [That's true. Those "vitamin shakes" he's been taking have increased his hat size from seven to Bonds and a quarter.]

But boohoo! We'll be losing him soon! He's entertaining offers from the University of Minnesota and Boston College. [Not for hockey. Just from the same crummy brochures everybody picks up at College Day.] We'll miss him so much! [But not the bong-water spills.] Luckily, my Hank's doing so well at work [mostly making book], we'll be able to see Teddy often wherever he ends up. [We sure will. He'll be working at the Build-a-Bear in the mall.]

Teddy's twin sister, Brie, isn't much for sports, but she continues to be our biggest "fan"! [Her psychoanalyst says she despises us.] And we're big fans of hers too! Her artwork is featured all over the city [and the cops want to know who did it].

She graduated No. 1 in her class [big whoop, I home-school her], so picking a college is going to be a real joy! Right now, she's looking at Lewis and Clark [through binoculars. They're the neighbors' two football-player sons. She has about as much chance of getting into college as Charlie Weis into a pair of size 32s].

As for Hank, he's really kept his shape [harbor buoy] and is ranked nationally in Masters swimming. [He's 342,211th in his age group.] He really stepped up his training [drinking] and his charitable work [court-ordered community service] this year. He's such a good dad. He's made a real effort to cut back on travel to spend more time with the family. [He had to. The ankle bracelet keeps him within city limits.]

Overall, I feel lucky to have made so many new friends this year [Narcotics Anonymous], but of course I promise not to lose touch with the old ones [Gamblers Anonymous].

Anyway, all of us here at Chez Bragmoor want to wish you the very best this holiday season, even Puddles. [If you find him, will you call? During that whole mess with the sheriffs, he bit Helmut and bolted.]

[Wish he'd taken me with him.]

Holiday Joy!

Verity [Mary]

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