Monday, 17 December 2007

A Cautionary Tale.

This is a true story that does not reflect well on the FamilyM
but is told to prevent you from making a similar mistake.

Several years ago MasterM discovered spoof writing
and decided to write a spoof Christmas letter.

"This year we went to China to learn about the local culture.
The first 10 days of our holiday we spent in a mud hut
eating little more than a bowl of rice a day.
We cleaned elephants and helped spread Christianity.
Sadly, MrM sat inside the hut typing away at his keyboard -
after all, the wheels of industry must keep turning -
but he did organise the locals into a small but profitable business
making pallets out of recycled chopsticks.
The rest of our holiday was spent watching
famous plays from Chinese literature
and observing rock structures in the Great Wall of China.
Fortunately, MasterM managed to teach himself Chinese
during half term and so he was able to translate for us."

And so on....

It finished:

"We hope that you will have been inspired by our news
to lead a more fulfilled life in the New Year."

It made us laugh a lot
and MrsM thought that it would be amusing
to include it with the family Christmas Card.
It made most of our friends laugh
and there was also a small number who phoned us up
to find out why we had not let them know
our new address in China.
Which made us laugh even more.

And then we got our comeuppance.

On Boxing Day (the day after Christmas)
we visited my parents-in-law.
Grandpa is a Canon of the Church of England.
He receives cards from all over the world.
It is fun to read the messages inside.
The very first card that I picked up had a letter
and I started to read it...

"This year we are in China
where we are attached to a Anglican mission.
We feel privileged to be able to spread the word of God.
There is so much to be done because we are surrounded by great poverty
but we still find time to enjoy ourselves.
We recently had the opportunity to help with a Panda rescue project... "

There was more
Lots more.
It was identical to our letter.
BUT IT WAS ALL TRUE .
I felt as though my stomach was going to fall out
through the soles of my feet.


And the moral of the story is:
don't be a Smartypants with your Christmas letter
because someone, somewhere
will be living that life for real.

10 comments:

Ali said...

But I still think yours was funny. Probably the China missionary lot would too.

peppermintpatcher said...

Oooops. Of all the ways to get caught out, that is pretty good. Did the actual visitors to China receive a copy of your letter too? THAT would have been hard to live down!

Fairlie said...

I love a good cautionary tale when it comes to Christmas letters!

Who knows? Someone is possibly spoofing mine right at this moment, including all the mundane details of family life. Familiar and run-of-the-mill for one person is another person's fantasy (or another person's China, as the case may be).

Florence said...

Oh no! That story is painful - you poor things.

blackbird said...

...which is why we never mention Youngest's prison term in ours.

bluemountainsmary said...

The tale does not get more cautionary than that.

dottycookie said...

Oh my goodness. I can see why you would feel awkward but as Ali says, it was still a funny letter! And are you sure the other one was really true with not the slightest embellishment?!

driftwood said...

oh dear! your letter sounded very funny...

Anne said...

I tend to write letters when we've had semi awful tragedies that I have distanced myself enough from that I can say something silly about it. I hope your in laws weren't offended by your letter.

twolimeleaves said...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha *snort* ha ha ha!!
Nearly shot coffee out my nose reading that!!