It happens every year right before Thanksgiving: my annual spam email from Jane Fish. It’s a group email that “Jane Fish” sends out every year inviting all of us to meet for brunch, aka “turkey day brunch” around Thanksgiving time. Included in the group are Wendy, Wendy’s new boyfriend Brent, Mark Elder, Cheryl Davin, Beth Ide, Corrine Castano, Erin somebody, and me, Dave Barry. We are supposed to meet somewhere in Massachusetts at places that sound really real – The Bolton Street Tavern, the Horseshoe in Hudson, The Old Mill or Black Diamond II. The exchange of emails lasts several weeks and are always the same theme. Jane Fish wants everyone to meet for a turkey day brunch. All the members of the group, except me, Dave Barry chime in. This person can’t meet on Monday but could do Tuesday, someone else wants dinner instead of brunch, could they meet at 6 or 7 PM, can we meet after the holidays, how about skiing instead, and on and on. It sounds overly perfect with little newsy asides – is Keith bringing the baby this year, and unfortunately, Mark’s wife can’t come; someone else has soccer practice, and every one of them can’t wait to see the others. I’ve gotten this email every year now for at least ten years. There are some variations. Sometimes I get it again in the spring, as it seems they may want to meet for brunch around Easter too. Sometimes it ends right after Thanksgiving, but this year the group is still trying to plan that “turkey day brunch” now only a week before Christmas. The whole thing sounds very convincing, although a little too fake and cheery to be real. One’s first instinct upon getting this email is to think “oh no, I should reply right away so they know that they have the wrong email address for Dave Barry.” After all, I wouldn’t want Dave Barry to miss all the fun.
But, every year I resist because I know this email is not about turkey day brunch, but some elaborate phishing scheme. How do I know this? What are the tell-tale signs?
- The email originates from Jane Fish. Really.
- Everyone in the group chimes in with replies year after year, except me, aka Dave Barry. Yet, no one every says “Has anyone heard from Dave Barry?” or “How come Dave Barry never comes?” The group is totally unconcerned about the perennial absence of Dave Barry, someone presumably so important that they invite him year after year, but don’t miss him when he doesn’t reply.
- The event never takes place. The emails wax on about all the times and dates for the event, but it is never planned. Replies pass hot and heavy at first, then dwindle, and eventually the exchange is done, with the annual Turkey Day Brunch having never taken place.
- Everything about the exchange is too perfect. It sounds like a Hallmark movie script. Comments like “I will pencil you in” and reply “I’d feel better if you used a Sharpie” seem sappy and unreal.
- Don’t these people know about texting? Really – who would spend weeks planning an event via email when a few texts could take care of the whole thing? Or how about an evite or Facebook? It would save so much time, were this a real event.
- Blocking the senders does not help. I’ve blocked all the email addresses repeatedly for years, yet, every year they are back.
Dear Jane, Mark, Beth, Corrine, Cheryl, Erin and Wendy,
Unfortunately I am unable to meet any of you for brunch, dinner, appetizers, skiing, Christmas mass, or any other event, either before, during or after the holidays. Sadly, I will miss all the updates about everyone’s kids, jobs, ski trips, sporting events and Wendy’s health issues. I will not be able to meet Wendy’s new boyfriend, Brent. I will never know why Mark is flying solo, or why the Old Mill is closed on Mondays. I am hurt by your continual unconcern for the lack of communication from me, and quite frankly, wonder why you still invite me when I never reply.
Looking forward to hearing from all of you next year.
Love, Dave Barry
© Huffygirl 2014