Making a list of people to send cards to is a surreal activity, as I discovered today.
"Should we send one to the N family?" Mrs. Luaphacim asked me.
"Hmm... nah," I replied, and took a casual swig of my cinnamon-hazelnut coffee. About two milliseconds later, I nearly choked on the coffee as I thought through the implications of what I had just done.
The N family was, once upon a time, my family's closest set of friends. They visited us at holidays, and we visited them on many weekends. They were much worldlier than we. For instance, it had never occurred to me that cutoff overalls were even an option as a fashion item until Z, the N child closest to my age, wore a pair -- with one shoulder strap recklessly unfastened -- to our Fourth of July barbeque one year. Those cutoffs were a revelation to me, and they were also the genesis of my ill-advised and much too long-lived Grunge phase.
Z influenced innumerable other things in my life besides fashion: my computer games, my music (ska was once the coolest genre in existence, believe it or not), and certain choice invective. He was the one who revealed to me what, exactly, Mike Tyson had done to earn universal scorn. He was the one who enlightened me with regards to the utility of waterproof firecrackers in fishing.
Now, with a single word -- a carelessly uttered word, at that -- I had banished Z and the whole N family to the realm of impertinence. They no longer mattered in my life.
Behold the fearsome power of the Christmas card list.