EST. May 2000 (AD)


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Awkward Thank You Notes for Awkward Gifts

By Pamela Miller

Dear Great Aunt Hortense:

It was nice to see you this year. It wouldn't be the holidays if you weren't telling me the many ways I could improve myself. It was thoughtful of you to remember me this season with a gravy boat. Yes, it's an unusual choice for a vegetarian, but I appreciated your suggestion to "just put some fotu" in it. Sorry about breaking your vase. It must have slipped from my fingers seconds after Conrad decided it would be funny to pour actual gravy on me. I heard he's recovering nicely from "my little overreaction." Luckily, Conrad has your salt and pepper shakers to lessen any unhappy memories of this holiday season.


Dear Judy:

Well, this was a Secret Santa gift for the ages. When I asked where on earth you found the circa 1971 Hamburglar costume, I never expected you to say you found it cleaning out your dead mother's house. How lucky for me that it still bore remnants of circa 1971 candy stuck to the mask. Yes, I used to be a fan of Sugar Daddies before losing part of my left foot to diabetes. This present brought back memories, let me tell you.


Hey Jerry:

Thank you for the generous gift of a can of Ensure wrapped in an adult brief. I guess people who work with the elderly tend to get up on a high horse about what is funny and what is offensive, repellant and cruel. Just so you know, I reported you to the Gray Panthers and called your mother.


Dear Mr. Chadwick:

Thank you for the kind subscription to Yachting. I understand that you are in the finals of a magazine sweepstakes and you were compelled to send the year's subscription so you could be assured of a place in the winner's circle. Also, thank you for the promised $400,000 once you receive your cash settlement from the Jamaican Lottery. I'll make you a deal. If you actually receive a check from Jamaica, I'll move from my landlocked state and buy a boat.

Wishing you actual riches in the coming year,

Dear Susan:

What an unusual gift! Thank you for telling me that the specimen cup was still sealed, so it could, theoretically, be used for juice or, as you put it, "an afternoon pick me up." I guess your advancing alcoholism has led to inspiring new levels of creativity. Anyway, I hope you liked the cashmere shawl I gave you.


Dear Chad:

Thank you for the gift certificate from the Piercing Shack and your many suggestions as to places where I could be maimed in the spirit of the current fashion. Pardon my caution, but that's just my way. The proprietor assured me that the last ten cases of Hepatitis C were just a fluke.

Your aunt,

Dear Shelly:

Thank you for the socks.

Sometimes there are no other words.

Dear Mr. Sloan:

It's very nice to continue to receive your holiday greetings, annual calls, wall calendar, and complimentary calculator/coffee warmer. You sold me this house in 1996 and it's difficult for me to believe that you're still trying to get me to trade up. Please note that it would take a tornado carrying my house off to Oz to ever get me to move.

Ms. Quigley

Dear Bruno:

You were the only person to get me something I actually wanted this year. The only one! Yes, it was illegal, illicit, and potentially life threatening. Still, it came from the heart. Thank you for braving the border patrol for me.



Pamela Miller saves the world by day, writes by night, and wishes she could find a hotter place to live than Phoenix. The world is simply too cold.