Several years ago—It was 2006, to be precise—a San Diego County Superior Court judge sent an all-encompassing, legal-neutral holiday greeting to all the members of her staff, the California State Attorney General, the San Diego County District Attorney, the San Diego County Public Defender, and several of her close friends of which I happened to be one.
She meant it as a joke aimed at the futility of a legal system locked in the perpetual motion of trying to be ALL things to ALL people. However, it took on a life of its own on the Internet.
I was doing my annual rummaging through ancient files and came across the card she had sent me. In light of the season that’s upon us, I thought you might get a kick out of it (assuming you haven’t already received a similar greeting). I modified this one a bit to account for some legalese that has changed since she sent me her original.
To all by these presents…
Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all . . . and a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 1999, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great, (not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country or is the only “AMERICA” in the western hemisphere), and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform, or sexual preference of the wishee.
By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.
The wishee further agrees to hold harmless and indemnify the wisher, along with its heirs, assigns, officers, directors, shareholders…
Joe Walther is a freelance writer and publisher of The True Facts. You may comment on his column by clicking here.