As a personal blogger, I am morally obligated to put up at least one post talking about the new year or the end of the old year. I should talk about all the travels (first solo international trip!) or becoming an employed person with a business card. These were proud accomplishments. Or we could get all sad and talk about how I tried muffle my tears as I left Paris. Instead, I’m going to satisfy the talking-about-the-past obligations I am bound to fulfill by the Chief Wizard of Blogging by talking about pictures.
My grandparents send out an annual Christmas card and newsletter to several hundred people. As their army now consists of three kids, over a dozen grand kids, a couple great-grand kids and a grand-kid-spouse or two, it’s a huge deal if you get more than two sentences in the newsletter. I spent my four years of college haggling with my grandmother over the way she represented my school. For three years it was “Geo. Wash. U” in spite of my endless protestations that this made negative sense and that it doesn’t matter if they know what “GWU” is because at least that’s logical. Part of her graduation present to me was spelling out my school’s name in full that year. Thanks, grandma.
The other epic feat of the newsletter is the family picture. We’re a close family so we always have at least one event that brings us all together each year, but there are always stragglers. As such, The Disembodied Head, Cut-&-Paste Family Member, and The Photoshopped One are all understood terms with us. In recent years she has moved more and more in the direction of Photoshop, but I don’t consider this a victory for technology; it’s a loss for a brilliant art form. For many years the family photo was the work of literal cutting and pasting. Not just absent members, I might add: frowning/crying/sleeping child? I’m sure we can find another picture. The point is that her Christmas card has become a work of art.
It’s reputation has often preceded us places, too. My father’s family is all aware of the great Christmas card too, as they’re recipients of it. One year the printer made an epic SNAFU and didn’t cut out something that was meant to be cut out. This year is a personal favorite. It was 2000 and we were in the UK for my cousin’s high school graduation. Most of my cousins on this side are younger than me and I had just turned 12 at this time. After sitting through a painfully long commencement ceremony in nice clothes, which are like little kid kryptonite, we then had to rally for family photo time. Tempers were running high. Anyone with a single digit age cried at some point and anyone with a child was yelling. Good times all around.
Somewhere in this delight, my little brother, on the far end of the picture, right next to me, got yelled at. He’s always been a little punk, so he took his vengeance by standing ramrod straight and oh-so-sneakily flipping off the camera. I saw it and said something, only to be yelled at for trying to make trouble. Have I mentioned that holding grudges is one of my vices? It is. With that in mind, you should not be surprised that I felt entirely vindicated when we got the picture back and THERE IT WAS. BOOM. LOOK WHO WAS RIGHT. LOOK WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN LISTENED TO AND NOT YELLED AT.
It would appear that I am still holding on to this. Maybe I should work on that.
Somehow being right didn’t make me feel better about my poor grandma. She told the printer to crop that part of the picture out, but it didn’t happen. I will never understand why she chose to send the pictures anyway, but she did. She sent out around 400 copies of my little brother flipping people off, all around the globe. Merry Christmas, y’all.
I’m not lying about the global nature of this card. When my grandparents retired in the early ’90s, they spent over a year traveling the world. When I backpacked across Europe with my little brother over a decade later we were able to stay with some of their friends. An adorable, gracious, and kind of ancient woman in Rome was among these friends that housed us. She fished out a shoe box to show us that she had kept the cards so that we could point ourselves out. As she went looking for it, all I could think was, “OMG PLEASE LET HER HAVE THROWN OUT THE 2000 PICTURE.” (She did. Or, at least, it wasn’t in the box.)
The family Christmas card is a Big Fucking Deal, but this year was my first entry as the Cut-&-Paste Family Member. I was either in Paris or Morocco when my cousin graduated from college, and coming back wasn’t an option. In light of this momentous occasion and the fact that I possess superior voodoo magic with the newfangled machine, I volunteered to take on Photoshop duty for myself, my older sister, and my nieces. I took one look at the picture and knew what had to be done:
Are you ready for me to bring it all home? There it is, ladies and gentlemen. My proudest accomplishment of 2012 is making my first Cut & Paste appearance and doing it well.