Peter Chianca: Tidings of great joy?

Peter Chianca

Sorry to interrupt, but I’m bursting with excitement and had to share: I just got, not one, not two, but three personal e-mail messages from none other than Joan Collins! Yes, they were all exactly the same, but I do know that they were each a personal message from Joan Collins, because all three subject lines said “Personal message from Joan Collins,” and the “From” line said … wait, let me check my notes … “Joan Collins.”

But why would Joan Collins be sending a personal message to me, Peter Chianca? I can’t recall ever meeting Joan Collins, or having any business dealings with her, or watching any of her movies or TV shows. (Except of course for her guest spot as Edith Keeler on “Star Trek” … When Kirk says “Let’s get the hell out of here” at the end, I still get a little misty.)

Well, in her personal message Joan writes, “Just like all my screen and stage characters, I love making a grand entrance. So I simply can’t let the launch of my new jewelry collection go by without a personal word to mark the occasion.” OK, but I find it surprising that she’d take time to write me about this, and I didn’t hear word one from her when she got that guest spot on “Guiding Light.”

The message from Joan capped off an odd mail week for me all around. For instance, just a few days earlier I received a giant box at my office that promised to help me discover my “inner elf.” My friend Gary, who brought it over to me, assumed that it was an elf suit I’d ordered for the entertainment of my co-workers — this is how desperate people in my office are for some kind of distraction.

But it turns out in the giant box was … another giant box, this one red and tied in a huge white ribbon. And in that box was a veritable ocean of seemingly non-biodegradable foam, in the center of which was wedged a small tin of cookies. I could only assume that anyone who would go through that much trouble and postage to send me cookies that could have fit in a standard size manila envelope must think very highly of me, almost at the level of personal esteem in which I would later find I was held by Joan Collins.

Well, it turns out it was from T.J. Maxx, whose store I’ve never shopped in, although several people have told me that there’s still a chance they’ve somehow managed to misplace my credit card information. “Here’s a holiday treat to indulge your Inner Elf,” wrote T.J. Maxx, who I immediately decided would be my new best friend — he or she sounds like the star of a ’70s cop show, or porn movie. One of those two things.

And then, soon after that, I got an e-mail from “Sara” with the subject line “Feedback.” All the Sarahs I know have h’s on the ends of their names, so of course I was perplexed. But when I opened the e-mail the entire message read, “I love you.” Did you hear that, world? Sara loves me! I’m sure the fact that she sent me a dangerous computer virus that had to be forcibly removed by Microsoft Outlook was completely unintentional.

So in the true holiday spirit, it seems people have really been showing me the love this week, topped off of course by that thoughtful personal message from Joan Collins, which I printed out so I can carry it with me and read it while I’m stopped at red lights on the way home from work. Hey, wait a minute … What’s this part?

“It would be wonderful if you would pass on the news to your readers. Eddie Deutsch in NY can fill you in on all the details for the attached Press Release.”

Press release? Press release? Oh, so that’s how it’s going to be, eh, Joan? Entice me with your “personal message” and then shill for some cheap press. How could you? I feel so … used.