New Year’s Eve is behind us and it’s time to recycle the holiday cards and the holiday letters — those single-page updates that people send to let friends and family know how the children are doing and what they or their spouse may have accomplished in the previous 12 months. The following are some of the moments from 2009 that I tend to doubt these celebrities, politicians and criminals shared in their annual holiday letters, but I nevertheless would like to have read.
• Tiger Woods: “I know a lot of you are worried about Elin and me. To use a golf analogy, I was out of bounds and took a stroke. But we’ll be fine.”
• Kris Allen: “I did win American Idol. I really did. I mean, I know everyone thinks Adam Lambert won, but he was actually the runner-up. Anyway, I just bought some leather pants and left the makeup counter at Macy’s, so look for big things from me in 2010!”
• Jon Gosselin: “Never thought Kate and I would be sending separate holiday letters. But the good news? My agent is in discussion with Octo-mom Nadya Suleman for a reality TV show with my eight kids and her octuplets: ‘Jon and Nadya plus 16.’ I know the title needs work, but we’ll straighten it out. Stay tuned!”
• Lindsay Lohan: “Not a great year in the romance department, but at least I wasn’t on Tiger Woods’s cell phone. Also, I wasn’t in rehab. Not shabby!”
• Bernie Madoff: “First of all, I don’t want to hear any more insider trading jokes now that I’m behind bars. Everyone’s making them. Second, I have a new fund which has dramatically increased my cellmate’s portfolio. We’re investing in forward-thinking companies that make signs for flea markets and going-out-of-business sales.”
• Susan Boyle: “I dreamed a dream that Simon Cowell took off his T-shirt.”
• David Letterman: “I’m a total hacker compared to Tiger Woods. Woods, I imagine, is also a much better golfer.”
• Mark Sanford: “I’m a total hacker compared to Tiger Woods. Frankly, I would have stepped down as South Carolina governor, but the Republicans had already had one governor leave office early this year, and I didn’t want people to think we were all a bunch of quitters.”
• Sarah Palin: “It’s sad, but the elitist East Coast media think if you leave an elected position early you’re either a quitter or you had an extramarital affair like Mark Sanford. The fact I left early just shows I am not a quitter and I did not have an affair. Those other guys are rogues — I mean, cads. Rogue is good; cad is bad.”
• Richard Heene: “‘Wife Swap’ was a mistake. I admit it. And having my son pretend he was trapped on a runaway balloon was, in hindsight, a very bad idea. But I have vowed in 2010 to show the world what a fit parent I am with a brand new reality TV show, Antique Child Roadshow, in which my wife and I will travel around in a balloon and appraise antiques and children. Also, I have changed my son’s name from Falcon to eBay.”
The amazing thing, of course, is how many of these names we will have forgotten completely a year from now. Oh, Lindsay Lohan, Sarah Palin, and certainly Tiger Woods will still be entertaining us. As Stephen Schwartz wrote in the musical, “Wicked,” “The most celebrated are the rehabilitated.” So for all I know, by the end of 2010 Woods will be back in all of our good graces. Perhaps he won’t be endorsing only text messaging programs for cell phones.
In the meantime, to the New Year! May there always be people out there to remind us that to err is human, and to tweet about it sublime.
(This column originally appeared in the Burlington Free Press on January 3, 2010.)