My Letter To The People Who Accidentally Sent Me Their Kid’s Christmas Gift

Dear Kelly and Rick’s Mom and Dad:

Thank you so much for the gift box of dairy you sent to my house this holiday season. You actually intended for it to go to “Kelly and Rick”, whom I assume are your children. Being that the box came from the Penn State Dairy Science Club (it said so on the box), I’ve spent a lot of time wondering what you’d send to Kelly and Rick that 1) came from a Dairy Science Club and 2) needed to be refrigerated “immediately.”

While some would naturally think you’d sent a Hickory Farms style gift box, I’ve chosen to imagine the box is filled with something more dairy and science’y like soft cheeses made from cloned cow urine or a replica of a sheep baby made out of curdled milk, the result of the botched final exam of a group of stoned college students on the 5-year plan at Penn State.   That’s a little more interesting that your typical run of the mill smoked gouda/ holiday salami gift box accompanied by the world’s smallest box of chocolate.

But I didn’t open the box.

Instead, I called the Penn State Dairy and Science Club and left a message on their voicemail. Cute how they say, “Leave a message after the moo.” It was utterly adorable. (See what I did there?)

I wanted them to know that their box of dairy (a word that automatically binds me) had been delivered to the wrong place. And since the outside of the box read, “Refrigerate immediately,” I wanted them to also know that in addition to their box of dairy being delivered to the wrong address, it had sat on my porch for the past seven days while I was out of town making “refrigerate immediately” a mute point.

Then I Google’d the Penn State Dairy and Science Club and sent them an email, to which they have yet to respond. But I was hoping to them know, so they could let you know, that the box of dairy you got for Kelly and Rick had not made it to Kelly and Rick. It had made it to me.

I’d imagined the box of dairy was some sort of annual holiday tradition that I might not know about because I’m Jewish, which genetically gives me a dairy aversion despite my continued desire to eat it. I pictured Kelly and Rick eagerly awaiting the holiday season this year knowing full well that December, in your family, is dairy month. I wanted to get Kelly and Rick their box.

So still I didn’t open the box.

Upon close examination of the outside of the box, I saw the sweet note you had written to Kelly and Rick, “Merry Christmas, Love Mom and Dad.” Then I noticed that the box was addressed perfectly, were it meant for me. Since Kelly and Rick don’t live here, it wasn’t addressed perfectly since it wasn’t meant for me.

At first glance, one might think that the Penn State Dairy and Science Club goof’d when typing out the label. Or, you guys goofed when submitting your dairy order. These are all possibilities I suppose. But since no one on my block or street goes by the name of Kelly and Rick, the mistake is probably not just a “1” meant to be a “2” or something typo’y like that. In fact, the mistaken address is beginning to seem like more than a typo. It’s been beginning to seem like you don’t know your kid’s address.

Kelly and Rick are probably going to bring that up in therapy someday proving that when it comes to our children, no good deed goes undiscussed in a shrink’s office.

Anyway, instead of opening the box I asked my readers what they thought was in the box. While I imagined a gift box of cow semen scented perfume or wall mounted utters, my readers took a smarter and more literal approach.

April Peveteaux, the hot shot writer of Gluten Is My Bitch, suggested it was Cougar cheese form Washington State University which I’ve guessed is aging cheese that hits on younger pieces of dairy. But since this was a Penn State gift and not a Washington State gift, Ms. Peveteaux was wrong. But if you speak to her, please ask her what’s up with colleges and cheese? At UCLA, we just had frat guys who tried to spike your punch with cocaine and a long stroll down the walk of shame the next morning, but we never had cheese.

Another reader, Amanda McCollum, suggested that you had sent cottage cheese. Maybe it hadn’t started out that way, but after the seven-day stay on my porch cottage cheese is where it ended up. The very thought of a gift box of cottage cheese makes me want to throw up a little in my mouth, but I appreciated the sentiment.

Christy Wisnewski thought it was a cheese mold of Santa reminding me that you Christmas celebrators can make a Santa out of just about anything. Even cheese.

But Tara Wilson, that charming Canadian writer of Don’t Lick The Deck suggested the contents of the box were, “The Milk carton their kid left in the fridge in 1993 with less than a thimble of full milk in it.” Clearly Tara’s received a gift box filled with dairy in her lifetime and has some psychic beat on what’s inside. Or, her answer made me a laugh and I just like it.

So Kelly and Rick’s Mom and Dad, I’ve already spent enough time doing customer service recon for the Dairy and Science Club. There’s no way I’m spending more time getting this box returned to its sender. And I’m sorry Kelly and Rick didn’t get their gift. Hopefully by now the Dairy and Science Club has answered it’s emails or checked it’s voicemail or heard from Kelly and Rick, despondent that they don’t have their dairy.

Me, I’m opening that damned box!


Meredith who is neither Kelly nor Rick.

So what was in the box?

Cheeses and salami, silly! Cow urine scented perfume? As if.

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