If songwriting excellence is defined by the sheer number of people who have cherished, sung, and enjoyed a particular tune, then Randy Brooks is the Metroplex’s greatest living songwriter.

“Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” might not be the most poetic and insightful song of all time, but you can’t argue with its success. The Christmas song about an elderly woman getting sloppy drunk and then being struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver has become a feel good classic. God Bless America!

Brooks is a local musician, playing bass and singing with coastal music party band The Bad Monkeys, and a longtime employee at American Airlines.


But he’s also one funny son of a gun. Each year at this time he emails friends with an update of the Brooks family and, for most of us, it’s the most exciting part of the holiday season. If that means the friends of Randy Brooks are all a bunch of boring losers, well then slap us with a dirty mop and call us boring.

Without further ado, I give you another classic report from the Brooks Family (Randy and wife Marti along with kiddos Libby and Kristi). The post is edited for length since Randy apparently thought he was getting paid by the word:

Parental notice: this newsletter is rated R…for “really?”

Greetings.  Yes, once again it’s that time of year when you can display any tasteless inflatable thing on your front lawn with impunity.  Driving around to look at Christmas lights, we’ve seen inflatable Batman, inflatable Uncle Sam, inflatable sinking of the Titanic, etc. etc.  One house near us has a moving display with Mary and Joseph kneeling at the manger, while Frosty the Snowman looks reverently over their shoulders.

When did our contemporaries go from “drop-dead gorgeous” and “devilishly handsome” to “looking good for their age?”  And when did we stop mocking those people with a death grip on the steering wheel…and become one of them?

Yes – as seems to be the case almost every time we compose one of these letters, we have somehow become a year older.  The tell-tale signs are everywhere.  Take for instance this recent actual conversation:

Marti (after a pause:) “What was I talking about?”

Randy: “When?”

Randy has reached that inevitable unfortunate age when men start forgetting to zip up.  But Marti kindly tells him, “It’s okay, Honey; dead men don’t fall out of windows.”

One of you pointed out a glaring omission in last year’s newsletter: we failed to explain the sudden disappearance of Coco Bunny from our signature line.  Coco lived an amazingly long life by rabbit standards, due in no small part to the fact that in all those years he had almost no contact with owls.  (We had one as a weekend house guest only once.)  But after thirteen years, he eventually succumbed to bunny bugs, and now hops in that great lettuce patch in the sky.

But that was 2010.  2011 has been a banner year for us.  Since joining Facebutt, a new social networking site for ugly people, we’ve made so many new friends!  One couple has even invited us to visit them in February at their trailer in the desert outside Tucson.

Our family suffered a financial setback this year when Marti instructed Randy to entrust their life savings to Morgan-Keegan…and, due to hearing loss, Randy sent it all to Morgan Fairchild.

Randy is hard at work on responding to the lack of vegetarian songs, composing a catalog which already contains “Cantaloupe Without You,” “How Grape Thou Art,” “Soy to the World,” “I’m Gonna Wash that Mango Out of my Hair,” and “Give Peas a Chance.”   Recently he was excited to learn that one or more of these may be used in the new PBS special “A Pagan Christmas,” scheduled to premiere during this month’s winter solstice fundraiser.

Libby still freelances in theatre, but has also explored a variety of other career possibilities, including Head Sweater Folder at Macy’s in downtown Chicago, Mexican food delivery specialist in Dallas, and chief taster at a frozen yogurt emporium in Nashville, where she moved to pursue her symbiotic relationship with her boyfriend, Special Ed.  She is currently working as a para-neuteror at Music City Animal Repair.  Libby hasn’t built up much of a nest egg yet, and suffered a further financial setback when she impetuously enrolled online in the first “Pole Dancing” class she spotted.  Imagine her dismay when she learned from the confirmation email that expensive tap shoes are required, and that the class meets every Thursday in Warsaw.

Meanwhile, Kristi, after interning at a law firm last summer, is talking about law school.  Her parents, after examining their long-range financial prospects, are talking about the witness protection program.  Ever the over-achiever, Kristi is taking 81 hours this semester, in pursuit of a quadruple major with six minors.

Marti had two of her most promising business ideas to date this year, just awaiting someone with the wherewithal to bring them to market.  The first is Rent-a-Cat, a service for people who need reminding why they really don’t want a cat.  (If cats had credit cards, there would probably be similar justification for “Rent-a-Human.”)  The other concept is Scotch-in-a-Tube, because as Marti says, if drinking a scotch and water takes the edge off this much, what if you could rub it on and absorb it directly through your skin?  She is developing this product in tandem with a tequila-infused trail mix, designed to appeal to the outdoor alcoholic.

After decades of frustration, Randy finally grasped the scientific principle explaining why hair spray doesn’t work on him.  Hair spray causes each hair to adhere to the hairs around it.  If each hair has no hairs around it, a better solution might be Elmer’s Glue.  Or duct tape.

(Once again this year, we notice that our newsletter- just like so many of yours – has apparently been written by a mysterious third party, someone who includes themselves in “we,” but is none of our four immediate family members.  Perhaps this is the same person who drinks all of the beer in the house when we are not looking.)

Early on in our marriage, Marti got Randy hooked on the wonder of haunting thrift stores and yard sales.  And as friends heard Randy waxing rhapsodic about his used wardrobe, they began offering him their hand-me-downs.  But Randy has a “learning difference.”  He was born without the brain cells which detect clothing size.  So eventually he was regularly wearing hand-me-down large and extra-large shirts and sweaters on his medium frame.  He rolled up his pants legs to an acceptable length and pinned them with safety pins.  Eventually, Marti put her foot down, and said that something had to change.  So Randy reluctantly got rid of all of his old, oversized male friends, and replaced them with a bunch of guys with 34” waists and 32” arms.

2011 featured a big honor for Marti: she received a lifetime achievement award from the Bilingual Exotic Dancers Association.  This took her completely by surprise, having been out of the business for so long.  Randy was in on the surprise, though, as he was in charge of getting her to the awards banquet, and coming up with old photos, press clippings, and tassels for a slide show tribute accompanying the presentation.

Further evidence of Marti’s enduring appeal is that she is “randomly selected” for a pat-down by TSA every time she goes to the airport – even when she’s just there to purchase a ticket for future travel.  Meanwhile, Randy’s pleas for extra frisking go unheeded.

Randy attempted to further his career as an occasional writer this year, but suffered a setback when all of the major gourmet magazines rejected his article, “5 Surprising Things You Can Do With a Turkey Baster.”

Did we hear you say, “But what about health woes?”  Yep, we got ‘em!

Randy’s doctor finally said it was time to start on cholesterol-lowering medication.  This worked with such resounding success that Mr. B had to start supplementing his diet with extra cheeseburgers. Randy’s only injury of note this year was when he fell off a barstool and got his dentures caught in his toupee.

Kristi complained of disconcerting chest pains.  Luckily, Marti’s skill and tenacity with Google makes her a diagnostician of uncanny accuracy, and she was able to determine that Kristi’s problem was, in fact, jungle rot.  We were able to mitigate the malady by smearing the infected area with guava jelly, and pumping camphor through the air duct into her bedroom.

Frustrated with traditional medicine’s failure to find the source of her own various complaints, Marti began consulting with a maharishi in Mesquite (not covered by insurance.)  He gave her a copy of his book, “How to Get Younger Every Year, Like Benjamin Button.” She now swears by a diet consisting mostly of powdered fruits and vegetables, augmented by actual Brussels sprouts, and punishing exercise eight days a week.  And there’s no denying the results: her fur has grown noticeably thicker, and she has begun to sing like Yoko Ono.  And men are attracted to her like moths to a banjo.  (And P.S. – that troublesome nymphomania appears at last to be in remission.)

In addition, Marti made the mistake of going in for dental implants and breast implants on the same day.  (This is the audience participation part of our newsletter.  Please supply your own punch line.)

As we fast approach our 25th wedding anniversary, the marriage seems to have settled into a nice groove.  In fact, there was only one rough spot to speak of in 2011.  This was when Randy, feeling sentimental, asked Marti, “Will you still love me when I’m old and fat?”  She answered, “Yes, I do.”

Once again we’ve all come full circle, back to that wonderful time of year when you break out the eggnog to congratulate yourselves on how straight you’ve managed to get the tree.  But by the time you get the first couple of strands of lights on, the damn thing is leaning like the Tower of Pisa. But quit your whining.  At least you have a tree.  And a pizza.  Not to mention eggnog.

And as you retrieve your presents from under that tree on Christmas morning, we remind you, in the words of Randy’s back doctor, to be an elevator, and not a crane.  Bend from the knees, because every time you bend over from the waist, you’re cashing a check with your back.  And eventually you cash a check that your back can’t pay.  Because you’re backrupt.  And that, as Marti says, would be like biting your nose to…do something to your face.  (Remember – English is Marti’s second language.)

Now we’re off to anesthetize our own aching backs by adding some Backardi to our eggnog.  Cheers to you all, and to all a good night!

Randy, Marti, Libby, Kristi, & Winston the Maltie-poo