My father in law, Noel, gave me the following item, a letter, for inclusion in Bytes. Thanks Noel.
Mrs. Gladys Gardner
The Methodist Centre for the Aged
NEWTOWN. NSW 2042
Dear Mr. Dumbrell.
I am writing this from my room at the Methodist Centre for the Aged, where as you know, I have been since my daughter died 10 years ago. It gets very lonely here and I don't know how much to thank you for your wonderful gift of this beautiful little portable radio.
I have not had a radio of my own before and you don't know how much comfort it is to be able to listen to the wonderful music and pass away the lonely hours. May God bless you for your kindness.
I share this room with my friend Elsie Jackson who is 81, I am 93. Elsie had a little radio but she always played it so softly that I could never hear it. The other day she dropped it on the cement floor and broke it. The repair man said it would not be worth fixing, so you can see how nice it is to have my own.
Last night while listening to the lovely choral service from the Methodist Church, Elsie asked me to turn my radio up, so naturally I told her to get fucked.
Thank you again for your generosity.
May God Bless You
Snopes.com, the website that looks at urban legends, email onsends, internet rumours and other stories of questionable origin, has a piece on this letter. It comments that the letter has been circulating since 1992 and quotes an alternative version:
The following letter was forwarded by someone who teaches at a small high school in central Ontario. The letter was sent to the principal’s office after the school had sponsored a luncheon for the elderly. This story is a credit to all humankind. Read it, soak it in and bask in the warm feeling that it leaves you with.
God bless you for the beautiful radio I won at your recent senior citizen's luncheon. I'm 94 years old and live at the local County Home for the Aged.
My family has long since passed away and I rarely have visitors. As a result, I have very limited contact with the outside world. This makes your gift especially welcome My roommate, Maggie Cook, has had her own radio for as long as I've known her. She listens to it all the time, though usually with an earplug or with the volume so low, I can't hear it. For some reason, she has never wanted to share it.
Last Sunday morning, while listening to her morning gospel programs, she accidentally knocked her radio off its shelf. It smashed into many pieces, and caused her to cry. It was so sad.
Fortunately, I had my new radio. Knowing this, Maggie asked if she could listen to mine.
I told her to fuck off.
According to snopes.com:
The story employs many of our fears of old age as the set up for the joke: having to live out the end of our days in a nursing home, no longer having the autonomy of living alone, having so little set aside that affording a small luxury such as a portable radio is out of the question, having to rely on the capricious kindness of strangers (rather than being able to look to family or friends) for small betterments, and being forced through reduced circumstances to share accommodation with a dislikeable person. A dig is also made at those who observe the form of religion but don’t live its teachings - in this case, a roommate who selfishly hogs her radio uses it herself to listen to Sunday morning gospel programs.
http://www.snopes.com/humor/letters/newradio.aspIt is the unexpected obscenity that completes the piece that gives it punch. We are unaccustomed to thinking of seniors as prone to vulgarity, let alone considering them comfortable with using any of the more crude swear words. The old lady’s answer to the roommate who comes seeking a favour she has herself been unwilling to grant is therefore seen as shockingly incongruous and tickles the funny bone.