Friday, December 22, 2006


So they say it’s my birthday, and I guess I believe them, although I have to admit, I’m mostly taking their word for it, at this point. And, no, I’m not about to kick off round number 22 of “My God, why hast thou upstaged me?” (because: we’re cool), and, okay, I’m sort of kicking off round number 573 (today) of “Seriously, guys, where’s the piñata, because I wasn’t born on this day, 22 years ago, to not break open a Bob the Builder full of candy,” but mostly, I’m coming to realize that this birthday doesn’t come with half as many privileges as last year’s—my 21st. Which leads to the more depressing realization that my “shiny new privilege” years seem to be behind me, for good, at least until I’m eligible for senior citizen discounts.

And it’s this line of thinking that’s lead to the decision to come up with my own privileges, which will begin on this day. For example, now that I’m 22, I grant myself final say in any pizza topping or movie rental debates at which I am present. Yes, I will be glad to hear you out on the fact that you like meatball and we never get meatball, or that you know it got how it got, but that doesn’t change the fact that Donnie Darko was a pretty entertaining movie that we haven’t seen in a while, but we'll still be doing ham-and-pineapple with Clue: The Movie, in the end. Also, I grant myself permission to jump in front of any senior citizen in line at the grocery store, because we both know that I’ll have been paid and outta there in the time it would have taken them to triple-check the price, realize that they had to buy four in order to receive the sale, complain about said requirement, and then fish through their little change purse for the extra 29 cents that they now have to pay. Also, I always get front seat, I never have to give up my controller for somebody else, and the dark Tootsie Roll Pop is blue and tastes like blueberry, not purple and tastes like grape, because I say so, and besides, it’s totally obvious.

But, before you let this new switch-up in rules send you clicking furiously on the “Comments” button, here’s the thing: not only are they good solely for my 22nd year (with a brand new set of privileges to be released on my 23rd), but they’re good for yours, too. So, whether you are 22, or will one day be turning 22, I’ve given us all something to look forward to! Unless, of course, you're 22nd year is behind you. Then, well...I hope you like Clue: The Movie.

Background noise: Sufjan Stevens’s “Happy Birthday.” By the way, get his Christmas album(s). Yes, even if you’re Jewish, because they are just that awesome.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

And On The Topic Of "Celebrity Birthdays..."

Well, I’m home for Christmas break. Which might not seem like such a feat, given the fact that my close proximity to the place has previously allowed me to be home for my siblings’ birthday, Veterans’ Day and November the 4th Day, but seriously, you guys? I haven’t looked forward to something quite so much since the years separating Free Willies 1 and 2. Plus, assuming that Santa got my letters, I’ll be riding back to school, come January, on a shiny new pony. Or, if he’s noticed the general increase of last-minute good will towards men that I’ve been exhibiting in the past few weeks: unicorn. But, while any of them are more than preferred to writing yet another “reading response” about Virgina Woolf (who, unlike Flannery O’Connor, isn’t half as cool as her name), I’m learning that Christmas break comes with its own set of responsibilities—the main one being my own desire to fit as much Christmas as I can within the seven days that I’ve got before the 25th.

I’m also learning that there are many possible routes to take, towards this goal. Though still one less than I came home with, because, as it turns out, eating enough Christmas cookies to make up for all of the ones that you’d missed since Thanksgiving doesn’t make you feel like the holidays so much as joining the gym, again, if only you’d thought of installing a system of pulleys and levers in the living room to help you off of the couch before you realized there was a second layer of gingerbread men underneath the wax paper. Also a bad plan (though not a bad name for a death-metal Christmas cover band): nogging ‘till you vomit. Which leads me to turn towards that most reliable provider of holiday spirit: the TV. Because what could be better than watching the original “guy gets hurt lots on Christmas” movie, Christmas Vacation, or the more evolved “two guys get hurt lots on Christmas—in the name of justice!” movie, Home Alone, or the movie which, due to its “kids suffer ‘round Christmas” theme, I wasn’t allowed to watch until years long after my failure to understand why all the kids in my third grade class were yelling “You’ll shoot yer eye out!” had left me a social outcast, A Christmas Story. Not to mention remembering a time before all of the mall-Goth kids declared Jack Skellington their official mascot with a viewing of The Nightmare Before Christmas. And, wow, you guys: Christmas movies are dark! I mean, the theme of It's a Wonderful Life? Don't kill yourself.

And it’s weird, the pressure that comes with Christmas—not the obvious, you’ve-already-heard-it-from-your-mom stuff like shopping, wrapping, decorating, and pretending that you didn’t already buy the Roomba for yourself while being careful not to overdo it with the staged excitement. I'm talking about the pressure to make it feel like Christmas, and the fear that you’re going to find yourself standing in the middle of January, realizing that you didn’t have one moment, this year, that looked like the front of a Hallmark card, or even a Cool Whip commercial. And I know that it seems like I’m leading up to some kind of profound point about the true meaning of Christmas and the dangers of commercialism and how sometimes we need to believe in order to see, but actually, I’m just trying to explain why I’m about to get off of here so that I can untangle lights while Raffi’s Christmas albums plays on repeat, in the background.

But, so as not to completely disappoint, on the Christmas Lesson front: Jesus!

Background noise: “Who's got a beard that's long and white?/Santa's got a beard that's long and white!/Who comes around on a special night?/Santa comes around on a special night!; Special night, beard that's white.../Must be Santa, must be Santa,/Must be Santa, Santa Claus!”