9 Villa Verde
San Antonio, Texas 78230-2709
Dear Family and Friends of Jean and Henry,
It is I again, the Halffs family historian, again presenting the Halffish events of the past year in the tradition of impersonal Christmas Form Letters, written in the third person. And what a letter this will be! It is, after all, the last one of the millennium.
So, turning to the diary . Whats this, there doesnt seem to be much writing here. "Is this the real diary?"
"Er, well, , maybe a few entries missing, here and there."
"Missing? MISSING? There are no entries whatsoever in this diary, just some airline boarding cards and theater tickets stuck to the pages. What do I put in your letter? The Halffs took a few trips and saw a few shows?"
"I, uh, kind of took a year off from diarizing."
"Great! Just great! I dont suppose that at your advanced age you happen to remember perhaps a few events of the past year, eh?"
"I remember getting laid off."
"OK, thats good. You got fired. Mei Technology finally wised up."
"No, they were acquired and then downsized. This sort of thing happens all the time in my fast-moving, high-tech world."
"Yeah, downsizing, right. Recall anything else by any chance?"
"I remember lots of stuff. I remember taking a trip to Bora Bora, spending a week recovering from jet lag, returning from Bora Bora and spending a week recovering from jet lag."
"I dont suppose this little sojourn is documented, is it? I am a historian, you know."
"As a matter of fact, it is, on the web at http://www.quiensabe.com/gallery/borabora/." On the web, thats where all we high tech types document our stuff."
"Lets just check this out." Tap, tap, click tap, click. "Pictures. Nothing but pictures! Ah well, I suppose youve forgotten how to write too."
"I have not. I got published last year, also on the web at http://cie.ed.asu.edu/volume2/number6/."
"Better check that out too." Tap, click, click, tap. "Wait a sec. You didnt write this article! It was written by some Jenifer Wheeler person. We family historians are not easily fooled. I am not amused."
"Picky, picky, picky. OK, how about http://cbl.leeds.ac.uk/ijaied/abstracts/Vol_10/Halff.html?"
Tap, tap, click, click. "Ha, that isnt a real publication. Hey, I cant even read it since I dont subscribe to IJAIED."
"Well, you could read it if you went to http://www.quiensabe.com/ITSsunset/sunsethome.html."
"No good, its still not a real publication. Besides, it was written in 1998, and there only six people in the world that can understand what its about. Recall anything else?"
"Um , oh yeah! I remember that I have a consulting job. I remember that because they send me an occasional check."
"I dont suppose you recall any details, maybe the client or the nature of the job?"
"Hold on while I look it up. Ah, yes, it says here that Im helping the Navy develop a computer-based course on basic electricity and electronics. It says the instruction is supposed to be based on the latest research on cognition and instruction."
"Hmmm , I wonder why they turned to you for help."
"Ill ignore that remark. Hey! I remember something else. My vanishingly small church (http://www.cuucsa.org/) put me on the board of trustees.
"I see. Has anything come of this rash move?"
"Well, the president of the church resigned, but I dont think that has anything to do with me."
"Think again. Anything else?"
"Er , hey! Why dont you make something up. Maybe you could write about how President Clinton called me to Washington to help with the Syrian-Israeli peace talks or about how Bill Gates has made me CEO of Microsoft or about how I won a Nobel Prize for my 1972 paper on ."
"Are you kidding?"
"No, thats the kind of thing other people put in their impersonal Christmas Form Letters. Why cant I have the same stuff?"
"Because . Oh, never mind! What about the rest of your family?"
"Well gee, Larry is doing something that I cant tell you about because its secret and proprietary and all. Come to think about it, I probably shouldnt have told you that he was doing something secret and proprietary and all. Here, sign this NDA that says you wont write that Larry is doing something secret and proprietary and all."
"Happily. Do you know how enforceable these NDAs are?"
"Thank you. And dont write that hes thinking about moving to San Francisco because he only does 10% of what he thinks about doing. Im hoping that hell come to his senses and move to Austin.
"You can write that were ending the millennium in San Diego."
"Good move. If there are any Y2K problems, they wont be noticed in San Diego."
"Actually, were doing it in San Diego because we were going to do it in Vancouver, but Larry said he was moving to San Francisco this month, so we were going to change to San Francisco, but we found that it would cost us roughly national debt to do that, so we settled on San Diego, but then Larry decided to move in February, so we figured we would change back to Vancouver, but by that time we had offered up certain body parts to hold our reservations in San Diego, so there we are, stuck with San Diego."
"As I said, good move."
"Jean continues to drag me off to Mind Science Foundation talks."
"Still no trace of science at these events, I suppose."
"Actually, there was this guy, Larry Powell, who brought some data. They ran him off the stage. Theyre now back to Whitely Strieber and Deepak Chopra."
"Its good to know that theyre keeping reality at a safe distance."
"Yeah. You do the same. Crank up Asleep at the Wheel (http://www.asleepatthewheel.com) on your boom box. Help yourself to a Yellow Rose Vigilante Porter and a few tamales, and keep your eye out for Santa."
Both Sides of the Tracks
An old man
Bro Halff, from the volume Seasonal Delights. Lewiston, NY: Mellen Poetry Press.