Dispatches from the Colder
Press Release from Sara
Girma ------- Monday, March 11, 2002
Ten-year old Sara Girma just learned today that she has gotten straight As again
for the sixth quarter in a row, proving yet again her intellectual, as well
as overall, superiority among the children in the Teferra household. Eight-year
old Sammy Girma, as is typical of him, could barely muster one A, and that was
in Art, which, as everyone knows, is a course for dummies who can color within
"I am really proud of you," Girma Teferra said in response to this
momentous occasion, confirming his belief that Sara is indeed vastly superior
to her good-for-nothing brother. Sara was beginning to become concerned with
"Daddy," as he is otherwise known, and his recent trips to the park
with Sammy, believing that there might have been a shift in the power balance
between the two siblings. Daddy's comments today reaffirmed his commitment to
Sara as the better child.
Demonstrating the expectations she has of her gifted daughter, Blaine Mekonnen
noted, "I expect no less of you. You have always done well. Keep up the
good work." It won't be long before Ms. Mekonnen begins inviting Sara to
her book club meetings and/or archaeology digs.
This latest development demonstrates that Sara Girma's sphere of influence is
indisputably strong over the key area of intelligence and academic achievement
among the Girma children. Respected neighborhood pundit Rahel Mesfin commented,
"Now that your superiority has been confirmed, Sara, lets play with our
dolls." All agree that Sara richly deserved the accolades heaped upon her
today by Daddy and Mommy and that she more than earned this opportunity to play.
Press Release from Sammy
Girma ------- Wednesday, March 20, 2002
Sources close to Sara Girma have confirmed to Sammy Girma that Sara smells.
This revelation comes as no shock to Sammy Girma, as he had long suspected that
she was a smelly jerk.
Sammy has mounted a vigorous and responsible campaign in the past few months
to educate the public, and specifically his parents, about Sara's smelliness
because he sees a direct link between the smelliness and Sara's jerkiness. "The
fact that she is smelly and a jerk is no coincidence," Sammy noted.
The confirmation today of at least Sara's smelliness and jerkiness came from
a respected source who was very close to her. The source who wished to remain
anonymous but goes by the initials "R.M.," provided vivid detail,
over Snoopy snow cones, about both how and why Sara smells. The conclusions
R.M. had reached were uncannily similar to the facts Sammy had been disseminating
as part of his campaign.
Mom, as she is properly known (not "Mommy," as the afore-mentioned
smelly jerk calls her), commented, "Sammy, I don't know about that."
Mom's uncertainty clearly demonstrates her concern that Sara's smelliness and
jerkiness may be tearing apart the fabric of an otherwise happy home.
"Be nice to your sister," noted Dad, demonstrating a touching sympathy
for his smelly jerk daughter, but perhaps underestimating the extent to which
Sara's smelliness and jerkiness can, and will, be ultimately problematic. "I
understand where Dad is coming from in some respects," Sammy said later,
"But we cannot trivialize this issue because whether or not one is a smelly
jerk is really about freedom and whether you support democracy."
Press Release from Sara
Girma ------- Friday, March 29, 2002
Daddy reaffirmed today the primary place Sara has in his heart by hugging her
first after coming home from work.
Breezing by Sammy Girma, Daddy wrapped his arm around Sara in a moment that
demonstrated to everyone in the family where his priorities lie. Sammy, playing
Madden 2002 at the time on the family's Playstation 2, was oblivious to the
slight, but in the end his ignorance will provide no shelter from the unavoidable
truth that, among the Teferra children, he places a distant second.
Sara asked esteemed former secretary of state Henry Kissinger for his thoughts
about the conflict in a question and answer session after a presentation he
gave at Sara's school earlier today about the new World Order. "It is all
about coming to the negotiating table and coming to some sort of lasting agreement,
with both sides making sacrifices and commitments. The most important question
you will have to ask yourselves at the outset is, of course, what shape will
that table be? I like triangular tables because they are pointy. Square tables
are even pointier. Frankly speaking, there is something menacing about circular
Press Release from Sammy Girma ------ Sunday, March 31, 2002
Sammy Girma demonstrated why his yellow belt in karate was so richly deserved
as he delivered a punishing blow to Sara Girma after a heated dispute over the
last of the orange juice.
"What have you done?" Dad yelled, clearly marveling at the skill and
beautiful savagery of Sammy's blow to Sara's shoulder. Rather than respond,
Sara wept uncontrollably and effectively conceded defeat. As Master Chang has
said many a time to his prize pupil, "Most defeat comes from a weakness
of the heart and the mind." Those words, as they relate to Sara Girma,
could not be any more true.
Sent to his room to meditate on what he had done, Sammy concluded that his growing
physical superiority just might alter the balance of power among the Girma children,
tipping it irreversibly in his favor. The stoic "Teddy," Sammy's bedtime
companion of the past five years, provided his usual silent support in his typical
best friend/bear-like way.
Mom, at a book club meeting, was unavailable for comment.
Press Release from Sara
Girma ------- Sunday March 31, 2002
Daddy affirmed commitment to pacifism and Sara's superiority today, while issuing
a stern rebuke Sammy Girma for an act of wanton savagery.
Sara was maliciously attacked earlier today by Sammy after she had staked a
legitimate to the last of the orange juice. As recounted in numerous Discovery
Channel shows Sara has watched, inferior creatures tend to be more territorial
and prone to lashing out violently when they feel threatened. The threat here
is clearly the esteem in which Daddy and Mommy hold Sara and her exemplary juice
acquisition and drinking skills.
"Apologize to your sister," Daddy demanded, "what you did was
wrong and inexcusable. I don't know what has gotten into your guys lately."
After giving a tepid apology and an unconvincing explanation, Sammy was sent
into confinement for an indefinite term.
In an unrelated development, Rahel Mesfin recanted comments she made about Sara
earlier this month. Angry that Sara had made a date to play with Maria Ramirez
and did not invite her, Mesfin said that she made comments in anger about Sara
that were not true. "I was mad," Mesfin explained. Sara accepted her
apology, and both pledged to work towards strengthening the friendship between
these crucial allies.
Press Release from Sammy
Girma ------- Monday April 8, 2002
Dad and Mom revealed exciting news today that the baby Mom is going to have
in June is another boy, providing Sammy hope for an alliance that would allow
him and the new arrival maximum access to his parents love and attention.
"Mom and Dad have indicated
that babies require a lot of time and attention," Sammy noted, "an
alliance with this baby will not only help me maintain my status in the family,
but possibly enhance it. The fact that he is a boy will make the forging of
an alliance easier."
The good news came on a day where Sammy demonstrated his unmatched athletic
prowess by scoring three goals for the Meadowbrook Red Wings 7-8 year-old boys
soccer team, leading them to an 9-8 come from behind victory. Dad congratulated
him by taking him out for ice cream afterwards, something that he notably has
not done with Sara since her mediocre violin recital last fall, which was roundly
panned by most critics, including Teddy and Sammy's imaginary friend Afreworkie,
the talking spider.
of Understanding between Sara and Sammy Girma ------- Wednesday June 5, 2002
In light of the developments of June 3, 2002, Sara and Sammy Girma (collectively,
"the Parties") recognize that it is necessary to join forces and work
together to combat a new scourge that threatens to undermine our position and
prestige within the Girma family. The Teferra family is now facing the growing
threat of the spread of "Beniyamism," a movement that has begun to
infect the Teferra household and must be neutralized as quickly as possible.
After consulting with their cousin, respected neighborhood elder and "cool
crowd" eight grader Thomas Woldemariam, and taking advantage of the wisdom
and experience with such matters that he has accumulated over the years, the
Parties have come to the following agreement.
Background: On June
3, 2002, Blaine/Mommy/Mom gave birth to the Parties' new collective enemy. Despite
weighing only 7.5 pounds and being only 22 inches long, the new arrival in the
Girma household, Beniyam, is an eating, pooping and yelling machine that has
drastically altered a carefully crafted balance of power between Girma/Dad/Daddy,
Blaine/Mommy/Mom, Sara and Sammy.
Beniyam makes constant and
harmful demands on Sara and Sammy's parents such as: (i) waking up repeatedly
during the night and demanding food, (ii) vainly making cute faces and gurgling
noises during the course of endless attempts to garner the parent's attention,
and (iii) unfairly demanding the attention of the Parties' parents' friends,
who previously doted over the Parties in an appropriate, reasonable and appreciated
by a lack of sleep and/or Beniyam's manipulative charm, it would be easy for
the Parties' parents to be lulled into a false belief that Beniyam is somehow
better than the other children in the Teferra household. Beniyamism cannot be
understated or underestimated and must be addressed immediately; it poses a
clear and imminent threat to the stability of both the Teferra household and
the neighborhood as a whole. Beniyam's arrival marks the beginning of extraordinary
times requiring the Parties' to take extraordinary steps.
The Parties agree to take necessary steps to:
- Strengthen their positions
as the children of choice in the Teferra household; and
- Limit the spread of Beniyamism,
which threatens to undermine peace and stability in the Teferra household.
Covenants and Promises:
The Parties agree as follows:
- The Parties pledge to
do nothing which undermines their respective standings with their parents.
While it is as yet undecided which of the Parties is superior, it is clear
that Beniyam is inferior to both of them, and his efforts to destabilize the
Girma family with his constant demands and forced co-dependency must be neutralized.
Such neutralization can only take play if both Parties are in a position of
- The Parties agree to
begin a policy of constructive engagement, offering to help Girma/Dad/Daddy
and Blaine/Mommy/Mom feed, clean up and otherwise take care of Beniyam. By
doing so, the Parties seek to show how indispensable they are to the household,
while pointing out -- through their actions -- how dispensable Beniyam is.
To that end, the parties shall supplement this policy of constructive engagement
with a public relations campaign aimed at demonstrating how much better the
family would be if they traded Beniyam for a bike (Sammy's preference) or
a hardbound set of the Lord of the Rings books (Sara's preference).
- The Parties agree to
provide various forms of assistance to one another in order to bolster their
position within the household. To that end, Sara will assist Sammy with his
homework, and Sammy will help Sara develop her athletic skills. The collective
objective is to make both better and more competitive against the growing
threat posed by Beniyamism.
While delegating Beniyam to a lesser position is the short-term goal of this
agreement, the Parties' longer-term goals remain the same as they were before
Beniyam's arrival: to establish and maintain a position of superiority among
the children of the Teferra household. Nothing in this agreement is intended
to abrogate any previous positions taken by either of the Parties nor is it
meant to be a tacit approval of any one of the Parties' previous statements
of positions on any issues. Upon satisfactory completion of the objectives laid
out in this memorandum, to be confirmed in a final review by Ms. Mesfin and
Mr. Woldemariam, the obligations and promises in this memorandum will cease
to be operative and the Parties' status will revert to as they were as of June
With these steps, the Parties
hope to restore some stability to the Teferra household and a sense of normalcy.
It is with trepidation that the Parties take this grave step, but the Benyaminist
threat is great, and the Parties' cause is just. The Teferra family has entered
a daunting new era, and it is the Parties hope that this Memorandum of Understanding
is step back in the right direction.
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