Minutes ago, my wife Andrea revealed the text message that – without your help – will seal my holiday fate: “We [Lloyd and Harriet Goodwin of Clearwater] are getting ‘his and hers’ knee replacements,” courtesy of LivingSocial, on November 15. Before this revelation, I pegged my chances for a restful, in-law free, and home-bound season of thanks and Target/Jesus worship at roughly 95%, but the knee gambit has driven that figure into the low 50s – well within the margin of error for multiple unbudgeted and… let’s say “un-festive” journeys to Florida between now and December. “They need us,” my wife says, her eyes welling in tribute to the man and woman determined to spend our already meager inheritance down to zero. But I have to wonder: when did simple prayer – buttressed by Obamacare and the Red Cross and hospice – cease to be enough?!
Forget for a second the acute pain of spending Thanksgiving and Christmas on a Spirit Airlines C-130, living out your trip like a chicken on a factory farm and getting nickel-and-dimed for every goddamn thing, including peanuts and the flight attendant’s phone number. I’ve come to expect this sort of thing from our race-to-the-bottom, tattoo-your-ad-on-my-forehead society, which you’ve done nothing to forestall. No. The real torture is having to spend days loitering on the Goodwin compound – truly, a latter day, Branch Davidian-style militia retreat – discussing gun “rights” over loose ammo, Sanka (I know, right?), and mass-market beer, all in the shadow of a life-sized cutout of Ted Cruz. Sure, it’s on the Gulf of Mexico, but that’s the extent of Lloyd’s Mesoamerican fervor, believe me. Here’s a choice quote from a recent telephone call… “You’re gonna think I’m a little weird here when I say that Ebola may be the silver lining… Maybe that’s gonna awaken people to the fact that this man is not only incompetent, but that his radical open-borders agenda is gonna kill all of us. Just maybe, this could be a blessing.” – 10/1/2014
I’ll give you a $20 instant rebate if you can guess who he was talking about.
Barack, this isn’t just about familial duty. Hell, any schlub can charge a few grand to his Discover card if a vendor will actually accept it, within the boundaries, of course, established by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. (Thank you very much.) I’m talking about the American Dream. And the only way I avoid trekking to Pearly Gates Estates this year is if I can offer Andrea a once-in-a-lifetime alternative, an experience so baller she’ll forget her parents’ creeping mortality, the three jobs she works to support my fledgling decoupage gallery (FYI, Lloyd – it ain’t papier mache!), and Jason Manpitt, her Google-executive ex-boyfriend.
Just imagine… There she is, scouring the dour no-frills landscape that is the Spirit website, when I announce that our nest egg – supplemented by your generous contribution – has been diverted: “Honey, forget Florida! We’re touring with Taylor Swift in January! Indianapolis, Oklahoma City, Orlando… All your favorite cities! We’ll even get a signed copy of her new album, 1989!” Which we can sell later, at huge markup, on eBay. Think of her excitement: our first vacation outside of Clearwater in ten years… My approval rating soaring from the low zeroes to perhaps 50% in the Goodwin household, assuming of course that Harriet comes around. I will feel, once again, like a man.
Barack, I was there (in my living room) when you upstaged John Kerry at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. I supported your campaign ($25 according to the FEC) over Hillary’s because I was seduced by your personality cult. And every night I go to Stoney’s, slurp down five or six Jager shooters, and shout down the odd gay conservative who dares question your wisdom on Syria, Ebola, and the name “Redskins.” It’s well worth waking up in the Third Precinct drunk tank, trust me. All I ask for is a little support in return; maybe you can also get Joe Biden, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Al Franken, Paul Begala, Donna Brazile, Matt Preston, Jim Dean, and all the rest of my favorite summer/fall pen pals to throw in as well?
You’re the only thing that can stop my in-laws’ shady, cynical attack against middle class families – like mine. Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I wouldn’t want you to wake up the day after and realize that you, after all, had pardoned the wrong turkey.
*Not an actual appeal