Greetings To You And Yours! / 14 December 2001
Wishing you the merriest of holiday seasons! Enclosed is a photograph of me and Mel in front of a sculpture made by a local artist named Spider. It is constructed entirely from barbed wire, aka “the devil’s rope,” mostly Merrill Four-Point Twirl though running along the sides is some Dodge Six-Point Star Barb which — weirdly! — looks like the Star of David. We are not Jewish. (In the olden days, K would say Happy non-denominational winter holiday! to be all-around friendly and compassionate.) Spider says it’s a giant hand reaching up toward the heavens but like the man says, if you have to tell me what it is then maybe you should try again.
What a year, huh? Mama says that time rots with each passing second and so by now it’s pretty haggard, on its last legs. I proffer the counter-theory that it already died, maybe a year or two ago, and now it’s decomposing. Mama counters with the idea that, since it’s time we’re dealing with, and so i.e., a more elaborate scale than we’re used to, then perhaps, OK, perhaps time did die a few years ago but we’re still in that moment right after you die, that moment when your soul is still in your body but beginning to look for a way out? And I can buy that although I’m still on the fence as to whether I should even let the new year unfurl or just retreat into Miffy’s new calendar. Miffy is a flat, animated character, sort of a miniature, stylized rhinoceros, although it’s clear that his blunt horn is not dangerous in the slightest. Miffy wears a tasteful blue suit. Miffy has elaborate adventures and I’m often asked to come along in order to solve specific problems. Miffy remembers fondly the one adventure we had where we had to make our way through a steel maze and across the semi-frozen lake, climbing steep cliffs to steal a shiny black egg, and he’s started a new calendar that begins on the day of that adventure, so now we’re only in Year Three, though I’m still writing Year Two on my checks.
I was asked to summarize this year by a reporter for the Anti-Defamation Daily and at first I said wild ‘n’ woolly but then I asked if I could change it to a fluid mosaic but she said I couldn’t, it was too late. There was the scandal behind the mayoral campaign, lightning striking every house in Everwood Estates, the cold snap, the bleeding paintings, the mystery of the fifteen-dollar bill and the beautiful lady, getting Geena Davis’ autograph, saying goodbye to Za-Za at the zoo, the fire shower, buying shoes that were exactly like my old ones except one size larger, learning to play the harmonica, learning to make eye contact, scaring the mailman, carrying Miffy on my back through the woods, Chesty Andersen, the broken lightbulb walk, the Dogcatcher In N’awlins series finale, the pug, the senator, the god’s eye, the fingerprint.
We’re absolutely strapped for cash so everyone’s getting the homemade presents, same as last year: Mason jars filled with soil and water and then a third item that can be anything as long as it’s free and buoyant. And we stick a Hi My Name Is nametag on the jar and label it something. Like: Your Monopoly Hotel Is Adrift, The Ice Caps Have Melted And All That Remains Is A Single Toothpaste Cap, Untitled No. 12, Miffy’s Skating Party. A and I will exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, balls of wrapping paper wrapped in wrapping paper.
You may be accustomed to the future being full of possibilities, and as we open the door to another new year you may feel overwhelmed by all that could potentially happen, but with the passing of time (and by “passing” I don’t mean “the act of one that passes or the fact of having passed” but rather “death”) these options have become increasingly narrow. And I find some degree of reassurance knowing that things are no longer limitless and that, in the upcoming year, only three things can possibly happen: I will rise to prominence, you will rise to prominence, or prominence will cease to be desirable.
All my best, Josh