Dear Ann:

I remember you once printed a response to those insensitive boobs who send newsletters announcing how well they are doing, the husband's great promotion, the kids' scholarships, the fabulous vacations, and so on.

I recently wrote a brief note to an acquaintance, telling her I had run into her sister while on a family outing. To my astonishment, I received as a reply her summer travel itinerary, her husband's business achievements, her children's musical recitals, and on and on. What makes people think all that extraneous information is of any interest? I'm happy to know everyone is well. The rest is bragging.

Please reprint that response to those annoying newsletters. It's time to see it again.

-- Carol in Houston

Glad you asked--many readers have requested it. Here it is:

Dear Ann:

Please tell me why normally intelligent people seem to take leave of their senses at Christmas time? I refer to those individuals who sit down and compose interminable chronicles of the year's activities, have them copied, and proceed to send the drivel to everyone whose last name they can spell.

Isn't this the height of egocentricity? What makes these people think anyone is interested in wading through all that stuff? What really galls me is the way these people try to paint such a glowing picture of affluence and success. I'm going to lift a few sentences to illustrate the point:

"Dear Friends: What a wonderful year we have had! Jim was named vice president of the bank, so we celebrated by buying a Mercedes and taking a trip to the Orient. In addition to his Boy Scout work, Jim served as chairman of the United Fund Drive. He is still on the hospital board, and president of Kiwanis. Just for laughs, he played the lead in the Little Theater production last June, and everyone said he was better than the star who did it on Broadway. His first love, however, is still conservation, and he continues to work hard as chairman of the Committee to Fight Dutch Elm Disease.

After completing my term as Junior League president, I swore I would take life easy, but it seems I am more involved than ever. I accepted the vice presidency of the Garden Club, and am still active in the DAR. Our church organist became ill, and they asked me to substitute, so I accepted. I ran the rummage sale again this year, and managed to take a course in flower arranging.

Jim Jr. was elected class president, and won his letters in football and basketball. He is on the all-state debate team, and placed third in the national oratory contest last May. He has already been accepted by Harvard."

And so it goes -- until you could upchuck. Next year, Ann, I am going to send a newsletter to all the people who have been sending us newsletters. It will read something like this:

"Dear Friends: We had a perfectly rotten year. Hal was passed over for a promotion again, so he got mad and quit. He hasn't lined up a new job as yet, but he has his name in at two agencies, and he looks in the paper every day.

Hal Jr. was defeated for homeroom monitor. He flunked French, and will have to go to summer school. Billy has not had a haircut since August, and had to hock his guitar to pay for repairing his Honda, which he wrecked. My mother-in-law's annual two-week visit in May turned into two months, and my migraines got so bad I had to go back into therapy.

As I write this, the whole family is down with the flu, and I don't feel so good myself. We hope next year is better. It couldn't be much worse. Love, Mary."

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