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 CVS.com (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?