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Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on December 30th, 2014, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 15, Issue 43 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 15, Issue 43

Future Funk

By ROB KRIDER

At my house, there is an official-looking envelope that says “Do Not Open Until December 31st” which rests inside a locked fireproof safe. Inside this mysterious envelope are four different folded scraps of paper with the individual handwritten scribblings of my son, my daughter, my wife, and myself. The envelope is sealed with the family crest (a piece of Scotch tape with a “K” written in Sharpie). Absolutely no one is allowed to see what is inside the envelope until midnight on New Year’s Eve.

No, we are not part of a strange cult. We don’t sacrifice a goat on New Year’s Eve. The only things my wife and I sacrifice on New Year’s are our livers. The whole thing with the sealed envelope is simply a family tradition we started about five years ago. Each year we each predict one thing about each member of the family and write the predictions on a piece of paper. On New Year’s Eve, we open the envelope, read the predictions, and whoever guessed the most correctly about the future us wins cash and prizes.


For instance, during this year, I predicted my son would get straight As on his report card, my daughter’s cheerleading team would win a cheer competition, I would publish a book, and my wife, whom I love, would burn three separate pans of cookies. By September things were looking good. The kitchen had already been filled with smoke twice.

The real trick to winning the competition each year is to first complete what you predicted for yourself, which isn’t always easy. This year I had to write and publish an entire novel just to try to win the $40 inside the envelope. I was hard pressed to ensure the book came out before December to make sure I got credit for the prediction. The good news is the book is out (SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION PLUG HERE: Cadet Blues, the funniest book ever, is available in print or eBook on Amazon.com), so I am 25 percent of the way to being a winner.

To also improve my chances of my predictions winning this year, I helped my son with his homework, did cheers with my daughter, and asked my wife to bake cookies a bunch of times. She baked them perfectly—if you think perfect is a wooden cookie with a coal-black bottom.

The oddest thing about our New Year’s game is that my wife is absolutely terrible at it. This is strange because she knows the three of us better than anyone in the world. If we go to any restaurant, my wife knows exactly what each of us wants and can order for the entire family. But every year she completely blows the New Year’s game. Some years she hasn’t even gotten one out of four correctly, and one of the predictions is about herself!

The real reason my wife blows the game is because she always predicts that she will lose a certain amount of weight right before New Year’s. It is a tough time of year to be skinny, especially between the Halloween candy, the Thanksgiving dinner, and one of our favorite holidays: Chipotle burritos every single day. Even though it never works out, every year, my wife, a glutton for punishment, again predicts she will be a certain weight on the 31st. And every year she fasts herself between Christmas and New Year’s, trying to lose a reasonable five to seven pounds per day to win the contest. It never happens.

Around the end of the year, it isn’t hard for any of us to guess what we each predicted about ourselves. A couple of years ago, on the day after Christmas, I told the family, “Um, I think I’ll go clean the garage today.” Everyone knew I must have predicted that I would clean the garage sometime that year since I was trying to do it five days before the new year. For the official record, I never finished the project. I looked at it as, “I can clean the garage all day and maybe win $40 … or leave the garage as is, go watch Netflix, and remember that I have a full-time job and really don’t need the $40 that badly.” I’ve learned never to predict that the garage will be clean. My wife is not as quick a learner and is currently running around the block right now trying to lose the last eight pounds in the next six hours.

Making predictions about the kids has been a touchy thing. One year, I predicted one of the kids would get a first kiss. When it didn’t happen, and the predictions were read aloud on New Year’s Eve, my child’s feelings were hurt. Nice work, Dad! Make your kid feel bad about themself because nobody loves them enough to give them a kiss. I singlehandedly ruined New Year’s. Yeah, I’ll never make that mistake again.

The game does have rules: Each prediction has to be an accomplishment of some significance. This rule was implemented after my son predicted that I would go to work, he would go to school, his mother would cook dinner, and his little sister would be younger than him. He viewed his predictions as a strategic plan to ensure he would be a solid winner. The council viewed his predictions, and they were subsequently thrown out.

New Year’s Eve at my house is a lot of fun. We play games, eat lots of food (except for my wife, who is still fasting until midnight), and eventually break the seal on the prediction envelope. Usually, the sum of the predictions makes us all laugh, and the kids and I enjoy watching how bad Mom is at playing the game. To raise the stakes, every year I have doubled the money inside the envelope. This year the winner will earn $160. That is 160 reasons I need to make sure my wife burns those cookies just one more time.

 

Shocker—this year Rob’s wife predicted she will be thinner by 2016. If you enjoy Rob’s stories, check out his novel Cadet Blues available on Amazon.com.




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