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Published on November 2nd, 2013 | by Richard Black


“What are you Wearing?” Wrong Numbers and Innappropriate Holiday Cards to My Brother in Law

In an effort to make everyone’s life a little more interesting I’ve been replying to calls and texts from numbers i don’t recognize. It’s all part of my “Kinder, Gentler, Creative initiative for 2013 which, unfortunately, is turning out to be more like my Odd and Creepy initiative of 2004.

A year or so after I kidnapped my wife and kept her in a constant state of inebriation until we were married I thought it might be fun to pretend I had a thing for her brother. It all began when I was looking for a card for his birthday.

Hallmark has managed to turn everything from Arbor Day to Love Day into a national event but they still haven’t figured out how to write a decent card for a man who wants to send a congratulatory message to another man on his birthday. And so in the mix of cards about hangovers (my brother in law doesn’t drink) and fart jokes (I despise scatological humor) and strippers (I find them to be degrading to men) were some of the most implicitly homoerotic messages I have every read.

After fifteen minutes of browsing I finally settled on the gayest one in the bunch and promptly sent it to my brother in law. I can’t recite the message verbatim but it read something like this:

It’s so nice to find someone

With whom I can share your sister.

She is the light of my life

and I am a better person

for having known the both of you.

At the bottom I signed the card with the phrase, “I look forward to holding each other in the true spirit of brotherhood.”

I may have even drawn a heart.

My brother in law never mentioned the card or the many others I sent him over the next seven years. Easter, Christmas, Memorial Day, or Kwanza. I never missed an opportunity to send Fred something a little special to let him know that he was in my thoughts.

Around the time he began actively avoiding me at family functions and diving into closets I finally came clean and we had a good, if somewhat forced, laugh about the whole thing. Fred still looks markedly uncomfortable when we’re alone in the same room together and I can understand why. In the back of his mind, no matter how many times I’ve told him that I have no interest, he’s convinced that I want to have a threesome.

This however is the price all those who know me pay for the pleasure of my company. I include myself in the tally.

I sent other cards out to various people around the same time. Former girlfriends who were unfaithful to my few friends, a pseudo public service announcement of sorts to let them know that my buddies’ contracted a virulent strain of super herpes or gonorrhea that would rot out a uterus in ten minutes flat.

“Rupert and I were just experimenting around the time you both broke up but you should know that have stage five syphilis and radioactive crabs. Please get tested ASAP. I look forward to seeing you at the Agnews wedding next month. Your new boyfriend is such a hottie!!!”

The passage of time combined with the rapidly dwindling group of people I knew brought the Odd and Creepy and Vengeful Initiative of 2004 to an abrupt halt.

To this date the Kinder, Gentler Creative initiative of 2013 is still going strong.

It’s not often I get a wrong call on my phone or a text but when it happens I’ve made a point to use the opportunity to bring a bit of interest into someone’s day.

“Is this Cherise?”

“It isn’t. Enough about me though. How are you doing?”

“…OK I guess,” I’d hear after a pause.

“Any big plans for the weekend?” I’d ask before he had a chance to hang up, “I hear the weather is supposed to be great!”

“Uhhhh,” I’d hear if anything.

“Listen I know that this is strange but I’d really like to know what you’re wearing right now.”

I haven’t had any conversation move past this point but I’m hopeful.

The texts are even better.

A few days ago I got one from a number I didn’t recognize.

“Riding a golf cart at the bookfair!!!! LOL”

“Did you know that the human body produces enough voltaic energy to power three golf carts indefinitely?” was my response.


“A little known fact is that the golf cart was invented in the 1930s by the Nazis to ferry large amounts of books from libraries to book burnings” I continued.


“Totally. You won’t find it on Google though because the government hates Jews.

Strangely I never received a response back.

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