I Believe in Santa

No, it’s not “Virginia” but rather “J” in Canada. It started with her letter, which ran in the 7 December 2004 issue’s free edition:

I have been enjoying the free version of This is True for several years now, and I just want to say thanks for all the laughs that you have provided me with. Your column has provided me with much needed humor especially in the last while, as I have just left my boyfriend of 3 1/2 years, who is an alcoholic and was verbally (never physically) abusive to me and our 2-year-old son. [My son] and I are now safe, and we have family and wonderful friends to support us. And in some bizzarre way, even though you and I have never met, I count you in that list of friends whose support I receive, in that you bring a smile to my face when I think that I may not be able to go on. I am 30 years old, and I still believe whole heartedly in Santa, and I am going to ask if he will get me the upgrade to the Premium subscription for Christmas this year! Once again, thank you for all your hard work and for making me smile when I want to cry.

Congratulations on getting out (and getting your son out!) of a bad situation, J. Who knows: you might read about your ex in True sometime — seems to me a lot of the people I write about are substance abusers…. The best of luck to you and your son, and I’m very happy if True helped you in any way.

Well, of course, that wasn’t the end of it.

When I run letters like that, it doesn’t even occur to me that some readers might want to step forward and “play Santa,” even though it seems pretty obvious in retrospect.

Playing Santa

“G” in Australia was one: “I’ve recently got myself a Premium subscription and predictably, wish I’d done so sooner. ‘J’ in Canada mentioned a hope that Santa would provide an upgrade to her subscription, and from the sound of what she’s been through, she could use a bit of joy. I’m wondering if I might be able to purchase an upgrade for her as a Christmas gift. Please let me know if this is possible.”

It is possible and thanks, “G”, for offering, but “J in USA” beat you to it. He wrote: “As a retired police officer, I can testify to the hell some go through due to abuse. I would like to purchase the Premium version for her as a friendly gesture. Let me know how to go about it, if you still have her email address and can get it to her.” I told “J in USA” how to go about it and he followed up quickly.

“J in Canada” got her first Premium edition this week, and wrote:

What a wonderful surprise it was to open my email and see the Premium edition of This is True!! You and your readers are such truly wonderful, generous people. It overwhelms me to think about how much people really do care, even when it is a total stranger. I just wanted everyone to know that my son and I are doing ok, and will be starting to go to counseling. When I saw the Premium edition, I let out a scream, and my little guy came over to see what the fuss was about. I scooped him up, and we did a happy dance all over the living room! He has been screaming ‘hooray! hooray!’ and blowing kisses for all of our guardian angels ever since. A BIG thank you goes to (ret.) officer J in the USA for being my Santa, and also to G in Australia for the kind offer. Much Love, J (and son) in Canada.

Several others made similar offers. So thanks to all, and I’m pleased to let everyone know what happened.

– – –

“J in USA” continued to renew the subscription for “J in Canada” for several years. Sweet!

4 Comments on “I Believe in Santa

  1. That story was wonderful. I am having terrible eye problems and am going blind. For me to be able to read something I have to email my subscription to my self and enlarge the print size to 18, and then I can read it with ease. I had to cut/copy and read the story about the user who wanted an upgrade. If anyone else needs an upgrade, let me know. I am letting my subscription lapse as I don’t know how much longer I will be able to see.

    I hope she stays happy, and remembers that she did the right thing, for her and for her son.

  2. To Sue in Bremerton:

    There is a way — a free way — to be able to read mail and browse websites when failing vision requires enlarged size on the fonts: The open source Mozilla community makes available their SeaMonkey combined suite for both email and web browsing. If the font is too small, a simple CTRL + (plus sign key) will enlarge the font; the more you use the key combination, the larger the font gets … and it can be very VERY large == ten characters wide on my screen.

    Equally nice is the fact that someone with better sight can use CTRL – (minus key) to reduce the size of the print; it gets smaller with each key combination. So that way both the visually handicapped and those of us who simply need glasses can use the same software without any major problems.

    The only major complaint I’ve seen voiced on the text enlarge feature is the fact that reading email can be made bigger, but when one goes to compose email/reply, the font doesn’t get bigger; maybe that will be a possibility in the future.

    If you are more used to Internet Explorer and the microsoft mail client — rather than Netscape style footprint SeaMonkey has maintained — there are free open source packages for you on the Mozilla site also: Firefox and Thunderbird parallel the behavior and menu/hotkeys structure of the Microsoft programs, usually with fewer bugs, greater security, and better grades when it comes to user friendliness.

    Most of us know someone who is more comfortable with larger fonts, or who wants to squeeze more onto a monitor screen. So check out what Mozilla offers, and if you like what you find you can pass the info on to someone you know who might benefit.

    Here’s the Seamonkey site. I run the Firefox browser most of the time, and it has the Ctrl+/Ctrl- font size change built in too. -rc

  3. Sue, going blind is certainly a terrible fate, but it doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying “True”. There is a kind of Software that is called text-to-speech or speech synthesis which is able to “read” your emails (and other texts) aloud for you. For Windows XP such a software is even installed with the system. See http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306902 for details. For other operating systems, free software is available on the internet. Just search the web for it.

    All the best to you!

  4. Thank you so much LD and Ulrich. I had no idea it could be such a simple fix. I shall resubscribe for myself then. Awesome~

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