December 7, 2007
Do you remember telegrams? When I was young we used to get telegrams all the time, especially at this time of year. We’d be sitting around the Victrola drinking sarsaparilla and a telegram would arrive with a message like, FELICITATIONS AND SALULTATIONS STOP WE HOPE YOU ARE ENJOYING THE HOLIDAY SEASON STOP SINCERELY STOP. And then we’d have to send a return telegram to every single person we knew because they never included who it was from. This was back in the day when you paid for every word, unlike modern texting, in which you only pay for every correctly spelled word, and whoever sent us telegrams couldn’t afford to sign them because that last STOP was all they could afford. Okay, I’m kidding, I’ve never gotten a telegram in my entire life. It really is true that, when people used to send telegrams, they were charged by the word, not by the letter, so it’s probably a good thing I wasn’t around because I’d be tempted to send telegrams to my friends thanking them for their Verbesserungsvorschlagsversammlung, or asking them if they know how to define floccinaucinihilipilification. And I’m pretty sure what finished off the telegram wasn’t new technology but people sending telegrams from Wales, telling their friends, "Well, here we are in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch!"
But I digress. I’m pretty sure singing telegrams are still around. People in the movies and on television used to get singing telegrams all the time, but even then I had no clue where I’d go to send a singing telegram. And are you supposed to come up with the rhymes yourself or do they write those for you? I’d better not find a place that does singing telegrams because I’d be too tempted to send one to a honorificabilitudinitatibus friend with a message about how I was in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch and hoping they didn’t suffer from hippopotomonstrosequippedaliophobia. There are all kinds of other grams you can send to people. There are cookiegrams, pizzagrams, lobstergrams, sushigrams, beargrams (the toy kind, although you probably know at least one person you’d like to send a real live bear), zombiegrams, Draculagrams, Frankensteingrams, werewolfgrams, fruitgrams, saladgrams, tomatograms, potatograms, burgergrams, pajamagrams, and even-I’m not making this up-Jewish grandmother-grams.There are puzzlegrams, which must be the perfect way of telling someone, "I was thinking of you and wanted to make you feel like an idiot." If it can be bottled, boxed, basketed, borrowed, or bashed in the head and stuffed in a trunk it can be sent as a gram. There are beergrams, whiskeygrams, vodkagrams, gingrams, rumgrams, tequilagrams, and even, I’m pretty sure, fancy mixed flaming cocktailgrams. Most importantly there’s the candygram, because Mongo like candy, although with that one you have to watch out for those pesky land sharks.
But I digress. The crazy thing is there are all these grams out there and I’ve never received or sent one and I don’t know anybody who’s ever sent or gotten one, not even while they were cranking the Victrola. I hope somebody somewhere gets some kind of funky gram this holiday season, but, even if you don’t, I’d like to share at least a couple of kilograms of holiday spirit with you. And I’ll be back gramming it up next year.