As with most mornings, I woke up and took a few minutes to come to terms with myself. Once I accept my fate I leave the bed and wander down the hallway into the kitchen and make coffee. While the coffee brews, I’ll walk around to the bay window in my kitchen and open the blinds, going from left to right, the last window directly facing my front porch. As I looked out the window onto the fresh light of a new day greeting my lawn (poetic, ain’t it?), I noticed something was on my porch that I was 99.9% sure wasn’t there the night before.
It wasn’t a large item, from a distance it looked as it was roughly the size of a saucer or maybe a little smaller. It was in a plastic gift bag, the kind that was made of that thicker, film-like plastic. The kind they wrap fruit baskets up with. Inside the bag, the saucer-sized object was a little embroidery. It was very pretty, expertly crafted. I kept staring at trying to figure out what it was, it had streaks of black, large areas of grey, and swipes of wipe throughout it. “A…a ham?” I said aloud to no one, confused.
There was a business card taped to the back of the bag, I took it off and looked at what it said. “Hello, Friend. During these trying times, we are a group of anonymous crafters who wish to spread joy and happiness through the gift of embroidery. Please enjoy this fine embroidery, we hope you will hang it up in your home and that it will bring delight for years to come.” This message was signed “Friends of the Embroidered Ham.” During these trying times when a mystery art of a ham appears on one’s doorstep, saying you ought to display it in your home, I did what any sane person would do. I lysoled the hell out of it before I brought it in.
Typically when something mysterious shows up on my porch, I can play amateur detective and figure out from whence it came. As I went to the social medias to look up “Friend of the Embroidered Ham” I found that I couldn’t find a thing. Not a Facebook page, twitter account, hashtag, nothing. I didn’t even bother to take the thing out of the bag once I sprayed it down. It sat on my desk in the bag for about two weeks. I wasn’t sure exactly where I was supposed to put it.
The kitchen was an obvious choice. Considering my particular whimsy, I don’t think anyone would be shocked to find such a thing up on the walls of my kitchen. But still, I just wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do with a mysterious embroidered ham from a clandestine organization. I thought about putting it in my bathroom, just to mess with people, but when will I ever have people over again? No. The kitchen seemed like the most obvious place. I took the thing and leaned it up against the wall in a corner beside my stand mixer.
I went on with my life, I didn’t think much about the ham. It was there. I would see it and think “That’s odd” but that was the extent of my rumination on a crafted ham. Two weeks went by with the ham in my kitchen, I slowly forgot about the strange circumstance that led to its inclusion in my home. Then one morning, much like the morning when I found the ham, I noticed the sheen of another, larger plastic bag on my front porch.
“Oh, no,” I thought as I begrudgingly wandered to my porch and again found yet another embroidered ham had been left there. This one was larger and more ornate than the previous one—it had the little pineapple slices on top. Just like before there was another card taped to the bag, this one read: “Dear friend. Again, during these times of difficulty, we want you to gather strength from our art, but to do so you MUST display our embroidered hams in a PLACE OF HONOR in your home. Is this too much to ask a friend? We are not anything strange or scary. Just a group of concerned citizens who wish to spread some joy. Wishing you joy, and a better location than a worthless kitchen corner. FEH (Friends of the Embroidered Ham).”
I went from a normal man enjoying his life to suddenly having an intimate relationship with the lyrics to the 1984 hit “Somebody’s Watching Me.” A sense of paranoia shot through my body. Who ARE these people? Why me? What did I do to deserve this strange brand of ham bombardment? How did they know it was in my kitchen corner? I hadn’t told anyone! Was there some weird Bluetooth/GPS tracking device built into the wooden rim of the embroidery? What was it?
Freaked out to the max, I put the ham up on my mantle. I couldn’t think of any other place that would seem to be more of a place of honor for these crazed, ham sewing freaks. I went and put the other ham next to it just to be safe. I didn’t sleep at all that night. I was convinced that some people were lurking in the shadows in the woods beyond my yard, just waiting. For what, I don’t know. But I felt that they were there. Sweating, I stared at the fan spinning overhead. “Should I…give them something? Do they want a ham?” I pondered.
I sat on the couch opposite my mantle and gazed at the fine threaded hams that now decorated it. “What is this all about, Alfie?” I said out loud. I then looked over at my cat, Alfie, who was curled up on the couch beside me. I grabbed my phone and sent a message off to my friend Shea, asking “have you ever heard some weird charity group that mysteriously leaves embroideries of hams on people’s porches?” Shea responded with a message that was only “????” After telling him about the entire ordeal he said to me “Please be honest with me, did you take an edible?” Shea was just as baffled as I.
I went to bed and tried to get it out of my mind, although I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe in a few months I could just put the darn things up and be through with them. A month had passed since the hams took up residence on my mantle, I was on my way to my mailbox one day when passing the mantle I thought “Eh, I’ll take them down in a week or two.” The mystery of the hams was soon to be solved as in my mail that day there was a letter simply addressed to “New Ham Owner.”
Praying for answers I read the letter intently, only to become incredibly indignant as the words “Now that you’re a member of FEH (Friends of the Embroidered Ham) you must not break this chain of joy and happiness, send $30 to the P.O. Box listed and we’ll send you an official FEH kit that will let you make your own embroidered ham to give to someone you want to spread a little sunshine to.” Out loud, on the road, by my mailbox, I yelled “It’s a damn chain letter!?” The neighbor mowing their lawn stopped to stare at me.
Yes, Virginia, the whole thing is a scam, a scheme to make money for some weirdos. It was all laid out in the letter. “Send a second ham to make sure you don’t break the chain, the kit is good enough for two.” Then I had to copy this letter and mail to the poor sucker I dropped a ham off on. “Or misfortune will befall you” the letter warned me. I was already there, I had two embroidered hams I didn’t want and don’t know what to do with now. As far as cons and or schemes go, this was the most ridiculous one I’ve ever heard of.
If you should wake one morning and find a crafted ham sitting on your porch, don’t bring it in, just take it to the goodwill and let them deal with it. I mean..who needs $30 so badly they want to lose most of it to gather supplies? I don’t get it. I mean. It’s weird, right? Be safe and avoid hams. See you next week.