Saturday, December 28, 2019

Something old, too much new

As a kid I loved Christmas presents. I liked to think I was easy to shop for since what would always make me happy were model airplanes. There was the year that I dropped hints, in the form of brochures, of my desire for a minibike. The experience taught me not to put much credence in the Law of Attraction. Older now, and as a dad having masqueraded many times as Santa Claus, my perspective on the giving of presents has shifted. I realize that the best things we can give one another are not material objects. But I'm not going to risk being labeled as a Grinch by withholding gifts. I know the pressure of giving something, and the closer the relationship, the more money you tend to spend. As a result, I've bought expensive gifts that ended up gathering dust or were promptly regifted. Gift cards are a convenient way to assuage gift-giving guilt.

At my age, I pretty much have what I need. As to what I'd like? Beachfront mansions are unfortunately out of the question. In fact, like most of us, I have too much stuff. I have a closet full of coats, of which I wear only three with any frequency. My spring/autumn coat, my winter coat, and my Are You Kidding, It's a Blizzard Out There coat. For some reason I have five pairs of heavy-duty snow boots. Years ago I wrote a story where a gangster told a smart-mouth wannabe, "Hey kid, I got shoes under my bed older than you." Which is true.

When I was growing up, I was always losing stuff. Since then I've earned how to hang onto things. I'm proud that I still carry a pocketknife that I bought for myself for my 40th, twenty-four years ago.  My yoga mat is likewise more than twenty years old. On my nightstand rests my Ninja Turtle water bottle that dates back to the mid-80s. I get cranky if I lose gloves or a pair of sunglasses, even though I only buy cheepy ones. What doesn't last? I can wear out a pair of jeans in two years. Sneakers and bedroom slippers last about a year. And I've got a cardboard box of obsolete phones, mismatched chargers, tangles of cable, busted keyboards, and dead mouses.

Seeing as this is a writer's blog, I'd like to say that I give the gift of reading, i.e., books. Which I do, sparingly. I have a stack of books given to me which do little more than gather dust. It's bad karma to give them away until the requisite time has passed. I could give cards to Amazon or a local book store, but that seems too much like, "Here, let me give you something that's good for you, versus what you'd rather have."

So as we close out 2019, enjoy the rest of the holidays and have a Great New Year!

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