Thursday, 13 January 2005

Kristmas Kard Krackdown

Hasn’t this gimmick been done before?

Christmas is still going strong for 14-year-old Nick Waters.

When the boy’s church asked what he wanted for Christmas, Nick, who cannot talk and was born with no arms, slowly typed his reply with his feet: Lots of Christmas cards. Ten thousand of them.

More than two weeks after Christmas, he has more than 130,000 cards — and they are still coming. They line the halls at his home, along with the living room, and the kitchen, and every other room in the house.

And did the last attempt not descend rapidly into farce as people kept sending things to the kid for years and years to come. The email went around every year saying he was some poor 10 year old and here’s his address and hundreds of thousands of people would send cards annually. Not surprisingly he got over it and the parade of mail not only started giving his poor postman the shits but he got sick of it as well and started showing up on television shows going “I’M 26! STOP SENDING FUCKING CARDS!” But nobody listened and the email just keeps going around and the cards keep rolling in.

I predict that young Nick’s future consists entirely of being irritated by idiots off the internet.


In 1989 an appeal was made on behalf of this then 9-year-old English boy afflicted with a terminal brain tumor. Young Craig wanted to be in the Guinness Book of World Records for having received the most greeting cards. By 1990, 16 million cards had arrived, and his wish had come true. (According to the 1997 edition of that book, by May 1991 he had collected 33 million.)

Ah, but that was then, and this is now. Shergold’s tumor was successfully removed in March 1991, and this lad (born 24 June 1979) is now a healthy young man. However, like the implements in the Sorceror’s Apprentice, the cards and letters have proved impossible to stop — they just keep rolling in. Several versions of the Craig Shergold appeal still circulate, and almost every one of them now asks for business cards, not greeting cards. (In yet another form of the same hoax, compliments slips are solicited.)

The child’s name also gets munged on a regular basis. “Craig Shelford” and “Craig Stafford” and “Craig Sheppard” and “Greg Sherwood” are common variations, but there’s a double handful of similar-sounding names out there too. With some of the names, it’s difficult at first to be sure if they’re Shergold mungings (”John Craig” comes immediately to mind. And yes, it is.) In those cases, a quick look at the address where the cards or slips are to be mailed will settle matters — many Shergold appeals direct mail to an address on Selby, Selsby, or Shelby Road. (The real Craig Shergold did at one time live on Shelby Road in Carshalton, England. The family has since left that address.)

So there you go.

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