Hey, everyone. I'm a little late posting it on the blog, but here's the 2017 Brown Family Christmas Letter...
Christmas can be traced back to pagan celebrations of the winter solstice which is why I’ve just conducted a pagan ritual to honor the old gods, filling me with focus, wisdom and fertility. The ceremony is over. I’ve extinguished the candles and cleaned my altar with febreze. I feel virile. My skin tingles. I also took both a men’s and women’s multivitamin so that I may transcend the worldly trappings of gender and birth a Brown Family Christmas Letter worthy of our readership. Are you ready? If not, put it down. Read it later. Either way I’ll just keep on writing this thing, like I have for the past several years mostly out of pure obligation. My hope is by next year a robot will write the Christmas letter for me but until Elon Musk makes that happen, I’ve gotta keep banging on these eggnog-stained keys every December.
Let’s start with a major piece of news that affected the entire Brown clan. In 2017 we upgraded to unlimited data on our Verizon family plan. No longer must we shame a family member each month for their data gluttony. It’s a tradition I miss actually. At the time, it felt like the data wars were tearing us apart. I now realize they’d been bringing us closer together all along.
Speaking of people being brought together, Ashley and Justin got engaged this year. These two will be getting their knot hitched down the aisle in June and we’re all very excited about it. In March the whole family gathered in NYC for Justin’s surprise proposal. We had lots of fun showing my parents around the city and even though it was a short trip, mom still found time to pay a visit to her favorite New York tourist destination, the Museum of Sex. She never hesitates to remind us that our bodies and kinks are nothing to be ashamed of.
In addition to locking her man down, Ashley has also rebranded her business. Not to be pigeonholed as a pilates instructor, she’s broadened her focus to include general fitness, check cashing, nutrition and the disposal of hazardous waste. Two of those are false. I’ll let you decide which.
Unfortunately in November Ashley was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s. But don’t worry, it’s not that serious and it’s really fun to say. So far, symptoms include fatigue, inflammation and cluttering your family group chat with updates about Hashimoto's. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Always an enterprising young lady, Ashley began exploiting her diagnosis as soon as she was aware of it. Whenever she comes around it’s all “Excuse me, autoimmune disease coming through, everybody make way for Hashleymoto!”
This year Katie said goodbye to her life in Raleigh working at Avance Care because she was accepted into a Physicians Assistant program in Knoxville, Tennessee. I’m still not convinced it’s a real school. It goes by the incredibly vague name of “South College” and all she’s done so far is dissect small woodland creatures. She keeps telling us she’ll be learning about the human body soon which would be nice. We’re all counting on her to find a cure for Ashley. Katie’s also been dating a great girl named Olivia who we all love.
My dad is wrapping up his career at IBM and spent most of the year building a new deck on the back of the house. I’m not sure why it’s taken so long but I don’t dare ask. The timeline of home improvement projects has always been the leading cause of tense silence in my parent’s house. I’ve learned it’s best to offer benign, positive commentary like “Nice railings.” or “That wood is neat.” Then my Dad will start talking about how “ya know, Ry, it’s not actually wood. It’s a synthetic which makes it a lot easier to…” And I just sit there wondering if I’ll ever know how to build a deck. Probably not.
Just recently, on December 9th my mom ran another half-marathon. She did it 10 minutes faster than her last half marathon which was 3 years ago. She’s getting faster as she ages, which makes no sense and, frankly, defies nature. Studying her aerobic system is Katie’s top priority once she gets Ashley’s Hashimoto’s situation under control. My mom is still working at GlaxoSmithKline but not for long. She’s been embezzling money and the jig is up! No, actually she’ll be retiring in just a few months. She wants to leave the company with dignity and grace, ignoring my suggestions to burn every bridge she possibly can on the way out.
My mom desperately wants grandchildren even though I’ve told her repeatedly she’s not grandmother material. Not yet anyway. She has potential but misses the important details. For instance, she likes candy but she keeps it all at home, never in her purse or coat.
My parents are still the proud owners of two dogs, Chloe and Samson. Samson, a great dane, weighs 150 lbs but still hasn’t mastered going up and down stairs. He’s a dopey, uncoordinated beast and he knows it. His two biggest fears are stairs and everything else in the known universe. He looks at a staircase the way an old man looks at his first suppository. It’s a look that says “I don’t trust you, but I know I must face you.”
As for me, I’ve been meditating, drinking a lot of La Croix sparkling water and generally living my best life. In July I got in a car with a few other comedians and spent 4 nights touring through North Carolina under the banner “Escape From New York Comedy”. If any of you came to those shows, it means everything to me. We’re doing a bigger tour with more cities in 2018 from February 17th to 24th. I’d love for you to come to a show. Visit ryanbrowncomedy.com/efny to see our full schedule. But wait, there’s more self promotion! I also started my own monthly show in the east village called School Nite Comedy Hour. If you’re ever in Manhattan on the 4th tuesday of the month come check that out.
Aside from doing comedy, I’m still living in New York with Julie and our cat Charlie. Julie and I celebrated 7 years together in November so it’s starting to get serious. Some people can’t believe we’ve been together so long and still haven’t taken that next step. But we hold fast to our belief that becoming facebook official is something you’ve gotta do at your own pace. Julie still works at Cisco and spends her free time singing with the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus. They’re especially busy this time of year with caroling gigs and their winter concert. By day, I continue to work as a copywriter at EP + Co.
So the Browns are doing pretty well. For the first time ever, all the siblings are coupled up. My parent’s nest is empty and in the next year we’ll get to see how they transition into retirement. We’re excited about the future and we hope you are too. With any luck the next Brown Family Christmas Letter will be signed by the Tesla Letterbot. Happy 2018 y’all.
Correction: Cid Brown would like to clarify that she has never been to the Museum of Sex. She also believes that our “bodies are always something to be ashamed of and your kinks… I don’t even want to talk about those”.