Merry Christmas, Baby, Please Come Home

Darling,

I know that you said you didn’t want to see me, or hear from me. But I think this card complies fully with the court’s order of protection, provided I do not hand-deliver it to you. I know it just looks like a cheap 89-cent greeting card manufactured in 1986 and purchased from a dusty, underused spin-rack at a truck service center in rural Nebraska, but to me, it expresses perfectly my feelings at this, the time of year we are so far apart and should be so close together.

See the comical drunk on the cover, leaning woozily around a lamp-post and sporting dishevelled pajamas and an ice-bag on his head? That lovable scamp is me, on Thanksgiving night, and on the seven previous holidays we’ve spent together going all the way back to last Halloween, and also every weekend and Thursday and Monday night for the last two years. See the nagging wife with her hair up in curlers, stuffed into a shabby floral-print dress, wielding a rolling pin like some frightful poleax? That’s you, only you’re much prettier, sweetheart. And see the punchline inside, about how I don’t have a drinking problem — I just drink, get drunk, fall down, and no problem? That’s like our relationship. No problem! Only now I realize, there is a problem. A big problem. A problem so important and unique that not even the spin-rack at the Torrington Travel Terminal could help me. A problem called me.

Now, it would be easy to place blame. I could, for instance, if I wanted to, blame you, for being less attractive than you ideally could have been (not that you aren’t beautiful!), thus driving me into the arms of women who care a little more about taking care of themselves. Or I could mention how, since you’re a teetotaler (some would say “killjoy”, but not me, darling, because I love you), you miss out on all the hilarious comments I make when I’m drunk. But I’m not writing you this card with a golf pencil I found in a guy’s shoe who hung himself in our cell to play the blame game. I’m writing you to say: I’m sorry.

I’m sorry I’m so mean to your children. And my children. And our children. And the children that are probably ours but we’ve given up trying to find out whose exactly is whose and besides, a check is a check. Just children in general, I guess. Kids really get on my nerves, but that’s no excuse for my behavior. Although you’d think they’d learn to stay away from me by now, especially when I’m drunk.

I’m sorry for being so drunk all the time. I can’t take all the blame for this one, since it’s my body that’s betrayed me by letting itself get totally polluted off of a six-pack when it used to take as many as nine beers just to get a light buzz on. Is it my fault that this has happened? Am I to be punished by your forbidding me to drink at all just because of one little armed robbery? But the fact is, even though I intend to keep drinking a fifth of rye every twelve hours, that doesn’t mean you should have to suffer for it. I’m sorry for stealing the diaper money to keep myself in booze; a person who really cared would steal from strangers, not from his loved ones. Tell the kids I’m sorry about their lunch money, too. Maybe soften the blow by mentioning it was really top-shelf rye.

I’m sorry for burning your house down. I know what you’re saying: there’s no need to apologize for that, it was my house too. But the fact is, I was deliberately trying to burn down just your parts of it, because they irritate me so much. It turns out that you can’t really selectively burn a house down, and that the flames really took to the collection of old tit magazines soaked in rubbing alcohol that I kept in the tool room, but even if that wasn’t the case, it was wrong to burn down your parts of the house, especially after you warned me the last six times.

Darling, I’m saying all this because I ran into one of the kids — Mike? Danny? You know, the one with the red hair and the gap teeth — when he was being taken to juvie this morning, and he said that he got busted for trying to hock some of the Christmas presents. So, sweetheart, love of my life, if there is even a light chance there are still presents, and an even slighter chance that some of them are mine, please believe me: I’m sorry. I’m sorry, I love you, and if you can throw my bail long enough for me to come home and open my presents, I promise you I will be a changed man.

Merry Christmas, baby. Please come home. “Home” being, at the moment, cell 14 of the municipal lockup. Ask for Randy; they think my name is Randy at the moment.

Love forever,
“Randy” (remember that)

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