You Get An Asterisk*

A long, long time ago, I used to keep a list.

Like a modern day Santa Claus, I had an Excel spreadsheet on my computer that had the names of all the people I knew on it.

Originally, it was for Christmas cards. I would order a huge batch of custom cards from (before they gave away everyone’s personal information) and send them to the people on the list. Two-thirds of the list was probably church people. (I feel obligated to throw that out there so you don’t get the idea that I’m Miss Social Butterfly when I’m not.)

Eventually, Sam got annoyed with me spending (relatively) a lot of money on Christmas cards to send everyone, which he thought was a huge waste. “Just order 20 cards and send them to family and a few friends. You don’t have to send a card to everyone you know. Think of all the stamps you use! We probably don’t get cards from half the people you send them to.”

I couldn’t just up and not send cards to all the people. I’m not sure why, since now I don’t give much of a fuck, but I couldn’t then.

So I developed a two-year plan. If someone didn’t reciprocate with a Christmas card (there’s the holiday spirit!), I’d put an asterisk by their name on my spreadsheet. Two asterisks meant you got booted from the list. (Aren’t you jealous that YOU were never part of such an exclusive list?!) I italicized certain people, like a few special elderly people from church and a family members that I knew wouldn’t be able to do cards anyway, that were exempted from getting asterisks.

A couple years later, I was still sticking with my Excel sheet, only it had grown into something else entirely. Not only did people who didn’t send cards get an asterisk, people who offended me in some way got asterisks as well.

One day, Sam got curious and opened up the spreadsheet.

“Um…what’s up with this list of names with asterisks beside them? And why is my name on it?” he asked.

I told him why I had created it.

“But why am I on it? And why do some people have more than two asterisks?”

I then explained what the spreadsheet had evolved into.

“What did I do to get an asterisk?” he wanted to know.

I shrugged. “I don’t know. Unless it’s big, I don’t really remember what people do to offend me. But I wanted to make sure I remembered that they did offend me–what they did doesn’t matter so much as the fact that they did it.”

He was quiet for a minute, possibly realizing that he had married a crazy person.

“You petty, petty woman,” Sam sad, channeling his inner Rachel. “I’m taking off my asterisks.”

“Removing asterisks will earn additional asterisks,” I told him, half joking.

“Oh well, guess I won’t get a Christmas card,” he teased as he deleted his asterisks.

I didn’t end up keeping up with the spreadsheet much longer after that. I’d like to say that I grew as a person and realized how silly it was, but in reality, something happened to my computer and a lot of my documents were corrupted, so I couldn’t open it anymore.

Have you ever done anything as silly as keeping tabs on people in an Excel spreadsheet? 


40 thoughts on “You Get An Asterisk*

  1. Just Plain Ol' Vic says:

    Never done anything like that. I did create my own excel spreadsheet to help me manage my budget. I use it as a check against my bank account and still use it today.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. rachel says:

    jeezus! this made me laugh so hard. i would so totally be your friend in real life. i promise to never show up at your house uninvited and i swear i’ll reciprocate the Christmas card love.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I haven’t done anything like that, leaning more toward trying to let go of the asterisks, but oh! I had to tell you I busted up laughing at this particular sentence:

    “Removing asterisks will earn additional asterisks,” I told him, half joking.

    I’m still laughing. :p

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well, I know we would be friends in real life too, so I promise to ALWAYS show up uninvited (and unannounced) and NEVER to send you a Christmas card, but expect an expensive one every year. 😉 Laughed my ass off at this post. Love.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have not sent cards for years. It was too much of a hassle for me. I do have three friends who send cards with pictures of the kids and family and two send summaries of their year. I like to receive these and I am glad they still send them. I think if they use your system I must be asterisk exempt because they know I am inadequate as a card sender and they still like me.
    I think you should have told Sam it was too expensive to send him a card.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I send cards to grandparents – the rest of the money I would have spent goes to charity. And then I feel guilty every time another card drops through the letterbox, even though I know I’ve done a good thing. Nothing like lapsed Catholic guilt to make the Yuletide fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Um, I tie up (2014) cards with ribbon, and I mail cards to those people the following year (2015.) I’ve done this since 2010.. My time is important to me. Sometimes people will say to me, “I didn’t get a card from you, Joey,” or “I missed your card this year,” and I just ask, “Is that right?” I offer no apology.
    Kinda the same thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I had a list…hubby deleted it. It was a list of who got normal cards, who got special fancy cards, and who got an annoying fake Christmas letter. You know those people who send out Christmas letters writing only all the great things they have done this year, bragging about everything? Yeah….those people got my letter, detailing all the awful things happening in the real world. Hubby’s mom was on that list…which might be why he deleted it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. On so many levels this made me laugh. And I used to send out hundreds of cards. And then I realized I only got cards of a sent a card. So I called them sympathy cards and who wants a card only because someone feels that they have to send one. The asterisk thing I only did in my mind. And I was like Alice in that I had letters, special cards, picture card, and cheap cards. Kind of using the asterisk method was how I decided which card you got. And then people started to die off. And I could remember who was dead or alive and I’d be calling family or friends and asking and it just got overwhelming. The year I broke down I didn’t send any cards. It broke my tradition and I haven’t sent a card since. Oh my gosh, I’m still laughing at this post. Love your writing and attitude.

    Liked by 1 person

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