Greetings from Yak and Erna

ccardTime was, when someone wanted to send a Christmas card it had to be signed and stamped and put in a mailbox. I think it was 1997 when my boss received a bad box of Christmas cards he was supposed to send out, but they were bad because they were not in his name.

Instead the name was Yak and Erna Debrakaleer from Topeka. He asked a couple of us if we wanted them and on instinct we both said we did. We split the box, each with designs on sending out Christmas cards to unsuspecting friends. I wrote a cool newsletter to go in each one. He decided to just send his signed, with a personal note to each person. I never figured out how to get mine sent, but my coworker did. He contacted a Mailbox Plus store in Kansas and had the cards sent from there. Over Christmas he kept hearing family members tell tale of getting cards from someone they didn’t know named Yak and Erna, two people who clearly knew something about them. My friend never let on that he was the one who sent the cards.

Here we are 15 years later and I’ve never stopped regretting the fact that I never sent my cards. Then came my moment to make good on my plan.

My brother joined a multilevel marketing company called Send Out Cards. It’s based on the idea that everyone sends out greeting cards, or should. It’s a pretty cool idea. I went ahead and signed up to have a small amount taken out of my PayPal account every month. Turned out, though, that I seldom used the account. So, thinking that I would exhaust all the funds I had in there, I created a card and sent it to about 20 friends and family. The return address said Yak and Erna Applewhite and included a made-up address in South Carolina.

This was the message on the inside of the card:

Holy cow, folks! I’m sure you can understand the tardiness of our annual Christmas greetings, what with the courts and the media attention and everything. We thought about sending you a card anyway, but Jake had hid our address book under one of the fenders of the pickup and didn’t think to tell us until about a week ago.

Life has finally settled down for us. You know us well enough to know that we’ve had a more than casual relationship with law enforcement in the past, but never all at once. I won’t go into too many details, because those have been spelled out in the newspapers. There are just three things we want to reiterate:

1.The police have become pickier about defining “kidnapping.”
2. Even if someone asks you in writing to hit them in the head, the law still considers it “assault.”
3.We honestly thought that girl was a mailbox.

Of course, you’re our friends, so we don’t have to explain that to you. We are going to miss Jake, Ellen and Spike for the next few years, but we trust they will make good friends and learn important job skills in the meantime. That alone gives us a reason to think we’ll have a good Christmas, even if we are celebrating it three months late.

We hope you had a great Christmas and look forward to hearing from you and hearing all your good news.

It takes a little longer for Send Out Cards to get out there. Several days later I saw this from one of my friends on Facebook:

OK FB peeps, help me out here.We got a “Christmas” card in the mail today, addressed to both of us from a “Yak and Erna Applewhite” from SC. I’m guessing it’s a joke or promotional thing, but I don’t get it. In summation the card alludes to legal issues, saying: “with the courts and the media attention and everything…” the card wasn’t sent on time. It then says: “You know us well enough to know that we’ve had a more than casual relationship with law enforcement in the past, but never all at once. I won’t go into too many details, because those have been spelled out in the newspapers. There are just three things we want to reiterate: 1. The police have become pickier about defining ‘kidnapping’; 2. Even if someone asks you in writing to hit them in the head, the law still considers it ‘assault’; 3. We honestly thought that girl was a mailbox.” Huh?! Seriously, can anyone shed some light on this?

I was pretty excited, especially because another friend posted that they got one, too. Then it got a little troubling when one of the first responses was “Not funny. A little disturbing. A lot Creepy.” Another friend of my friend suggested calling the police. I wasn’t worried that I would get in trouble. I’d explain it was a prank and figure everyone would be cool with it. But since I was operating under an account held by my brother, I was worried he’d lose whatever privilege he wanted. My friend knew it was a joke and wasn’t going to call cops, but I knew I’d never be able to hide it at work anyway, so I let on.

So if you got one of the cards, now you know its source. Please don’t contact the authorities.

Another New York story

More than 20 years ago Bart Hatch, a friend and coworker, and I wandered around parts of Times Square looking for the place another coworker and friend of ours, Brian Watkins, had been killed the week before. I talked about that in the first story on this podcast. It’s a story worth hearing. It was a moment when I discovered the gigantic size of New York City’s heart.

Also worth hearing is this story at the end of this post, one from The Moth that was rebroadcast on Sunday, March 24. It’s another story that shows you how special New York City is.

Growing up near Los Angeles I wanted to believe my hometown was the greatest in the U.S. For that reason I resented New York City. Now, years later and living near Seattle, I’ve changed my mind about New York. I want the Yankees to be good, and I suppose I want them to win it all every once in a while. That way I can justify my hatred for them. In 1996 I had reached a point where I felt sorry for the Yanks. That is no way to feel about the signature team from the city I see as the center of the universe. I love New York. I don’t believe I would ever want to live there, but I am so glad so many people do. That many people in such a small place creates the kind of humanity you find from someone like Ed Gavagan.

A false first

BELMONTMEMEWhen the NCAA Basketball tournament first expanded beyond 64 teams they called the games to get into the first round the “play-in” round. Now they call it the first round.

That means 60 teams get into the second round just by getting named to the tournament. Four do still have to play their way in. It just feels stupid to call the first Thursday and Friday of March Madness anything other than the first round. But no one asked me.

No one who matters, anyway.

I’m a meme man

HugoandKim A co-worker, Josh Farley, and I have taken up kind of a mission to join the meme maker generation. It’s more of a natural fit for him. If he’s 30, he hasn’t been for long. As for me, on the upside of 50, I consider the words of Larry Hobson (Christopher Walken), “I like to think all Pranksters are young at heart.”

nosebabymadmemeThe QuickMeme site is one I’ve found that makes it easy to make a meme. You upload a photo, attach the wording and you’re done. I’ve made a few so far. These you see here are a couple of examples. I made another one referencing the fight in the World Baseball Classic. For Daylight’s Savings Time I made one with Ted from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Most recently I’ve got one using a baby picture of one of my brothers. The other brother is going to get one, too, when he least suspects it.

I will start posting them here, as well as on Facebook and Twitter, so that this can go on my permanent record. I might as well have something good in there.

The other memes are below.

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When the podcast returns

When the Field of Steve podcast returns the first episode will about a night I gave a couple a ride, a decision that wasn’t popular with my wife even before she learned every detail. I lived to tell the story so it didn’t end too badly. Later, though, I found out how bad it could have been.

Below you can watch a silent version of the presentation I’ll have to promote the podcast. Later I will add sound. You can get a decent idea of the story from this presentation. And even though I spoil it by giving you the ending, what it took to get to that ending was endurance and whole lot of faith that the woman in the car wouldn’t die on the spot and I’d be able to leave the pair somewhere, anywhere.