So when we got back to our house a few days after Christmas we of course had a little pile of mail. Bills demanding every free dollar of my income, mail for people who haven’t lived here in years (I bring it back to the post office because I’M A GOOD PERSON), pathetic letters from cable companies begging us to sign up for cable, and one envelope from a person in Indiana who I had never heard of. The return address was on a sticker but mine was handwritten and everythang. I was kind of unsettled but the worst was yet to come. Imagine getting THIS from someone you don’t know:
When I first opened the envelope and saw that it was a creepy black and white image I thought it was a Chick tract*. I don’t know if that would be better or worse. It took me a few moments to realize that it was Donald Trump being taken to the Island of Misfit Toys from the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Christmas Special. If you got this from a weird relative it would be unsettling enough, imagine getting it from someone you don’t know in a different part of the country! Who were they?! How did they get my name?!??! I was certain I had already inhaled the spores or virus that would be the death of me. I opened it up:
It was just three common names, one of which had an asterisk pointing down to the name of the town it was sent from and the year 2012 (like Townsville2012). My super intense 21st Century Induced Paranoia was now in full force as we made sure our door was locked and peered through the blinds out into the dark, dark night.
I wracked my brains trying to think of who it could be. My girlfriend has relatives in Indiana but it wasn’t from them; and besides this was addressed to me specifically. Then thought maybe it was someone I knew in college or high school who has since moved away, or from when I taught English overseas. But I don’t know how someone like that would have my address, I’ve only lived in this house for about a year and the only people who would have it are those who I have regular contact with anyways. WHO THE HELL WAS THIS CREEEEEEEEEEEEEP??????????????
After another sweaty, adrenalin-packed half hour of thinking I hit upon the idea that “NameOfTown2012” might be a screenname, not the name of a 2012 End Of Mayan Calender Death Cult as I had initially postulated. I’m not on Twitter or any social network things so the only thing it could be was an Ebay account name. I have been a pretty prolific seller on Ebay since I returned to the US and have bought some things here and there as well (a saga you can read about in an upcoming post on SpaceStationWagon!). Sure enough, a frantic search through my account revealed the username asterisked on the Creepmas Card. It was a guy I had bought a few issues of Savage Sword of Conan from….IN JULY.
What kind of person does that. Yeah, okay, I know it’s a “nice” thing to do. It’s nice to send Christmas Cards. I plan to do it myself someday, when I grow up. But I plan on sending them to my family, my friends, and my coworkers I begrudgingly put up with. Not someone with whom the only interaction I’ve had was an Ebay purchase (during which no private messages were sent) and paypal transaction. The card itself is strange because it doesn’t have a picture of the family on it…is this what he sent to people he knows face to face? Also the names of the other people in his family are on it, do THEY know he’s sending cards with their home address to creeps (me) from the internet?
Maybe I’m overreacting, but in that half-hour before I Sherlocked this mystery out I thought that a serial killer had gotten into our house while we were gone and was going to leap out of a closet or the hatch in the ceiling that leads to our horrifying attic. As a very anxious, terrified and stumbling-through-the-haunted-house-that-is-modern-life person, receiving this weirdtastic card from a mystery person who handwrote my address…it’s just a touch too much.
Then there’s the content of the card itself. Creepily caricatured, black and white, and featuring a scene from a Christmas Special that I personally find a little off-putting (and I usually LIKE stop-motion animation). As I mentioned earlier it looks like a Chick tract, and anyone who sends you a Chick tract in the mail unprovoked is someone you don’t want knowing where you live. Then there’s the political aspect…now I don’t mind telling you, I’m not a fan of Donald Trump. Just don’t like him. His views are not my cup of tea. But what if they were? Look [username redacted], you’re a businessman. You should probably keep politics out of your business transactions (and the…follow up…to those transactions) to appeal to more consumers. If I was a Trump fan, I might reconsider next time I want to buy some sweet Conan the Barbarian magazines from you.
I mean, I’m sure the guy is harmless. But damn, man. Made me think I was being targeted by a psycho (like The Westfield Watcher, which apparently turned out to be some kind of real estate scam?) who was going to start sending me fluid-stained fabric next.
Anyways, happy January! And be sure to send me your home addresses so I can send YOU a Christmas Card this year, FRIENDS (please don’t actually do that).
*For readers unfamiliar with Chick tracts, they are small b&w comic strips drawn by an evangelical lunatic named Jack Chick (or several lunatics using a pen name) and presented in a style like a Tijuana Bible. They are small, usually with three panels to a page and a dozen pages or so, and often handed out by lunatics or dropped in places where people will find them. The first time I saw them was when I was a kid and someone had scattered a bunch of anti-Catholic ones outside of our Catholic church. They’re pretty awesome; Halloween and D&D and Harry Potter novels being doorways STRAIGHT TO SATAN type stuff. If some kindly gentleman at the bus station presses one into your hand, give it a read!