Happy Holidays from Eric Three Thousand!
[I'm posting my annual holiday letter, which this year elicited concern from friends and family for my mental health. Regular readers, who are already aware that I am nuts, will recognize the text as a rehash of a previous Project Runway post, which was a parody of the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics.]
Burbank, City of Wonder, Christmas MMXII
Over these buildings, in these streets, on this page, in this city of wonder, Burbank, decades of holiday letters have defined the measure of our planet, and stubbornly propelled our progress toward enlightenment, toward lasting achievement. Here, the location of the Bob Hope International Airport and the only convenient Ikea in the greater Los Angeles area, we divide the hemispheres into the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys, set our clocks to rush hour, Greenwich Mean Time. but the laws of relativity, not Newton's, apply to a writer’s pursuit, an inescapable eternity of repetition, hours, days, years, from margins calculated by paragraphs, sentences, punctuation, for the promise of moments everlasting. Even when the words are all but frozen, we may still doubt what we see. Two and a half puns, an out of control simile, a metaphor slicing forty yards, to find a target two and a half inches in diameter.
And as these letters return to your mailboxes for the umpteenth time in the modern era, the theater of my laptop will entertain you with a Shakespearean swoop, with effusive, fast emerging nonsense, a writer with soaring expectations, waiting for lightning to strike twice, but with no exotic holidays to report on, and no other news at all; on screen, on paper, in mid-air, we will be tracked by the lens of a media microscope, where advantage is defined by hundredths of a second. And in letter writing’s greatest rivalry, the ultimate competitor collides with raw commitment and Zen-like cool, and soon could be the most decorated writer in his own mind.
Here, where monuments were built in an age of mythology, where for over five decades a ceremony of keys nightly locks the prisoners in the Tonight Show studio; here, where fairytales never end, and a writer, indomitable, sustains the flame of holiday letters. Here in this city of wonder we'll hear again the echoes of an ancient ethos: longer, slower, sillier. Diutius, stolidus, ridiculum. How long, how tedious, how absurd, can we extend the very measure of a letter? Mine is a pursuit of timeless achievement, be it astonishing ... magnificent ... everlasting.
Bob Costas: "Burbank, five hundred years ago the home of Henry VIII. Now, on a Saturday in December of 2012 it's where Eric finally began the final leg in the journey of writing his holiday letter, a journey that started by tradition way too late, and today the journey continues along the 101 freeway to the 405, and I’m like Are you crazy? You can’t take the 101 at this time of day! You should take Moorpark. Whatever. Anyway, at the end of this journey the flame will be lit again and Queen Elizabeth will preside over the opening of the envelope this letter came in. Hi, everybody, I'm Bob Costas and I think you'll agree that my hair is almost a color that can be found in nature."
Meredith Vieira: "Your hair looks great, Bob. This year’s letter will be produced by famed director Danny Boyle. I asked my dear friend Danny about the challenge of producing this holiday letter. He knows he can't compete with last year’s over-the-top letter produced by the Chinese, so this year you are going to read something more cinematic, a mix of hyperbole and plagiarism. In other words, it's going to be cheap."
Bob Costas: “Thank you, Meredith. Now, before we start, I have to tell you that due to weather conditions, you have been provided with a poncho to wear while reading this letter. Please don't use an umbrella in your house; it will affect your reading experience and it is also bad luck.”
And now Bob Costas will try to make my year sound more interesting than it was by narrating the parade of months:
Bob Costas: "Just a reminder: these months will appear in order based on the Pig Latin form of their names."
Meredith Vieira: “Well, no kidding, Bob. We weren’t born yesterday.”
Bob Costas: "Oh, we’re starting! OK, nothing interesting ever happens in January, and yet it comes back every year. That’s dedication!"
"In February Eric attended the annual conference of the College Art Association. Then he had all his skin replaced with the finest Corinthian leather.”
“In March Eric went to Palm Springs to attend the opening of a friend’s art exhibition. Eric has never won a medal in badminton”
“In April Eric went to Arizona for the weekend. You can always recognize Team Bermuda because of their shorts.”
“In May Eric attended his sister-in-law’s wedding. The king of his country offered him untold riches if he brought home a gold.”
“In June Eric visited family in Illinois. This tiny land-locked state usually excels in winter sports."
"In July Eric was suspended from competition for five years because he accidentally took cold medication. Fortunately, the verdict was overturned on appeal and here he is. I made up that story, but that doesn't make it any less inspiring."
"In August Eric attended a convention in San Diego. Hey, have I ever randomly mentioned that Kim Jong Il is supposed to have shot seven holes-in-one the very first time he played golf? I’m going to go out on a limb and say it isn’t true. I don’t care who knows it."
“In September Eric’s ophthalmologist told him to try wearing contacts to improve the vision in his left eye. But after enduring the film Hotel Transylvania, he decided that he really didn’t want to see that badly.”
“October was an exciting month for Eric; he got a flu shot and met the stars of the show Hot in Cleveland. Eric’s tears taste like Mountain Dew and contain even more caffeine.”
"In November Eric had root canal surgery. 97% of Americans do not know that the country of Belarus exists."
"In December Eric would like to wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy new year! Now stay tuned for Sir Paul McCartney!"