Electric Literature Presents: A Christmas Card by Etgar Keret
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This is the story of a man who suffered from a hemorrhoid. Not a lot of hemorrhoids. A single, solitary one. This hemorrhoid started out small and annoying, but very soon it became medium-sized and irritating, and in less than two months it became big and really painful. The man continued to live his life as usual: he worked long hours every day, took time off on weekends and fucked on the side whenever he had the chance. But this hemorrhoid, which was clinging to a vein, kept reminding him at every long meeting or painful BM that to live is to suffer, to live is to sweat, to live is an ache you can’t fucking forget . And so, before every important decision the man would listen to his hemorrhoid the way others listen to their conscience. And the hemorrhoid, like any hemorrhoid, would give the man some asshole advice. Advice on whom to fire, advice on aiming higher, advice to pick a fight and with whom he should conspire. And it worked. With every passing day, the man became more and more successful. The earnings of the company he headed kept growing, and so did the hemorrhoid. It reached a point where the hemorrhoid outgrew the man. And even then, it didn’t stop. Until eventually it was the hemorrhoid that was Chairman of the Board. And sometimes, when the hemorrhoid took its seat on the chair in the board room, it found the man underneath a little irritating.
This is the story of a hemorrhoid that suffered from a man. The hemorrhoid continued to live its life as usual: it worked long hours every day, took time off on weekends and fucked on the side whenever it had the chance. But this man, who was clinging to a vein, kept reminding him at every long meeting or painful BM that to live is to yearn, to live is to burn, to live is to fucking screw up and wait for fate to turn. And the hemorrhoid would listen to the man the way people listen to their stomach when it rumbles and asks for food — passively but acceptingly. And thanks to this man, the hemorrhoid tried to believe it could live and let live, it could learn to forgive. It could conquer its urge to look down on others. And even when it swore, it didn’t mention people’s mothers. And so, thanks to the irritating little man under him, everyone came to value the hemorrhoid: hemorrhoids, people, and of course, the company’s satisfied shareholders all around the world.
— Etgar Keret (born August 20, 1967) is an Israeli writer known for his short stories, graphic novels, and scriptwriting for film and television.
Please spread the word and feel free to re-post! See last year’s card here.
Translated from Hebrew by Miriam Shlesinger.