A Bit About Me

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Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".

20 December 2006

The Way Too Many Gifts of Christmas

Gone are the days when I knew what to buy everyone for Christmas. Christmas isn't special to me anymore...at least the gift-giving part, and it seems that everyone I run across shares my same feelings. Let me elucidate...

I was speaking to a man who works in the vegetable/fruit section of a grocery store I frequent (for the purpose of not getting anyone into trouble...I'm not naming which) the other day...and for the sake of this story he shall be named "Pete". "Pete" pointed out that a little package of what appeared to once be mushrooms, had fallen underneath this draining table they use to collect the water into when the ice melts. He picked up the package and commented that it had been there a couple days...but he was interested in seeing if anyone else would attend to it. They didn't...so he reluctantly got on with the job himself...commenting that people, and especially kids, aren't usually interested in going out of their way to do little things like that without being told...really just a lack of motivation...yet they expect so much to be given in return. I went to the deli counter and bought some prosciutto...and I apologized beforehand for her to drag the whole leg out just to give me a taste (sometimes it's very salty and not so great tasting...sometimes it's fabulous). She gave me my taste and I opted for 1/4 pound of it...sliced very, very thinly...I didn't have the heart to make her stand there for 30 minutes cranking out 47 little slices each separated by a sheet of plastic so you can "unstick" them readily later on...and I told her this. I told her I wouldn't eat all of it as I was the only one in the family who eats it and the other 1/4 pound would undoubtedly go to the cats eventually. Lucky cats...that stuff's 'tres expensive'. The other deli lady who was there overheard our conversation and remarked about having to cut two pounds the other day for some woman...but super-incredibly thinly sliced...and didn't even get so much as a "thank you" out of the deal. What IS wrong with people?? I believe they think they alone count. Someone else will pick up that nasty mushroom package...you are just a deli worker...you work for the store...that's your job...I don't need to be pleasant with you...you are here to serve ME. Well, my friends...that mentality sucks...and I see more and more of it...oh, yes, I'm a great observer of humankind.

I think this "selfish motivation" might indirectly have its origins in Christmas and for those of you who don't celebrate Christmas...these same "me-tovated" acts still manage to find ways to manifest themselves. Now, I'm not saying everyone is this way...not at all...please don't send me hate mail...but the trend toward Christmas just being a day of obligation...and irrational expectation, is prevalent...in fact it's rampant.

Segue back to "Pete"...our conversation started about that leftover yucky, waterlogged pack but then mushroomed into one of ungrateful people in general and Christmas when we were kids vs Christmas today. I told him that I remember never getting any presents throughout the year...that Christmas was a real special event to look forward to as a kid...but my parents hardly went overboard...the gift I remember the most was a purple Schwinn bicycle with a silver glitter banana seat and those sparkly tassel things in silver and purple that would hang from the hole in the handlebar grips. Oh...that was some Christmas that year. He recollected a similar tale...his best Christmas was also a bike...and a bike he had for many, many years...there was no new bike for next Christmas...when we received bikes...they were there for the long ride. People today seem to give their kids "things" all year long. I know I'm guilty of it...perhaps it came from my never getting things thru the year...perhaps my kids are better at persuading me...perhaps it seems like I am obligated to as it's "the norm". When my kids open their gifts at Christmas they aren't overjoyed...it's just another day of "getting something"...only this time it has some paper and a bow on it. It's just not magical...it's just not special...and most times they know exactly what's inside. They have to...toys being as expensive as they are...you have to know ahead of time which colour Gameboy to buy...which colour controller they need for their machine...which games they want...because at $50 a pop...you can't afford to have one NOT played with. Pete nodded his head in agreement and spoke his like comments about it all as if it were dialogue we were reading...all scripted...Pete is a watcher of humankind, too.

We both can't tell you how many times we've actually heard this one..."My kid got 10 presents last year...he asked how many he was getting THIS year."...or "I got my kid $500, $1000, $2000+ worth of stuff last year...I don't know how I'm going to swing it beating that figure this Christmas". Now, what is wrong with your child being satisfied with what you give him? Why do you feel you have to one-upmanship yourself the following year? How are you going to manage it all as your child is only 5-years-old...what happens when he's 15?! I don't know exactly what will happen, but I'll tell you what MIGHT happen...he just might turn into that kid who won't pick up the icky mushroom pack because someone else can do it...or that lady who thinks that everyone is less deserving than herself...her possessions prove it.

I'll share a little story about my online friend who goes to college in Georgia. We've known each other for ages and talk pretty much every day even tho, as you guessed it, my age is a hair under twice his. He is a Wii-fanatic...he's been waiting for that thing to come out more days it seems than the company did. The links I had to endure over these months...I tell you! (Yes, I inserted that line strictly for his "enjoyment".) ;) He had a birthday not too long ago and was, as you can well imagine, disappointed that he didn't get one. Oh...it was a done deal...it's just that there are only so many and so many more people in line ahead of you. Well, he hit pay-dirt the other day and after waiting in line for about eight hours...managed to walk out triumphantly with a Wii in hand...even being accosted by someone in the parking lot offering him twice the going price if he'd part with it. Trust me...I know this guy...I don't think he would have parted with it for ten times the amount. Well...I don't know for certain...I'd have to ask, but I know I would have...even IF it would have been for my kids.

So...remember those of you who try to "buy off people" in 'Best Buy' parking lots, and push people aside at the sales the day after Thanksgiving, and show absolutely no good will toward men when you're trampling over people to get that last item...there's always AFTER Christmas, and after all...it's just another day...only with the paper and bows...even if it really shouldn't be. "Maybe Christmas", as the Grinch even came to realize..."doesn't come from a store. "Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"


  1. The Topiary Cow got so discouraged with the level of ungraciousness from both shoppers and service people yesterday that she has vowed, next year, to make home-made cookies or something and to buy no more presents.

    If businesses don't value long-term customers, only short-term profits, and if "service-people" are so poorly oriented to help customers that they just don't...why contribute?


  2. Christmas means a lot more than just that. It is an occasion of sharing love and kindness with all. Peep into My Blog for some unique and interesting Christmas related info and ideas.

  3. Actually, that is the point I was trying to convey...Christmas is more than just about toys and gifts and trying to outdo yourself each year. And children shouldn't be expecting X dollar amount each year and a higher one the next...and just what lessons are you actually teaching your kids for their future by doing it.

  4. I abide by a strict 4 gift rule for my family.
    -something you need
    -something you want
    -something you wear
    -something you read.
    The key is to keep the "something you want" reasonable. Generally speaking and new barbie goes over as well as a PS3 in my household. Since we have no video games to compare it to!

  5. Well, I should have followed your rules way back when. I was one who gave my son video games since I won (for being funny...yeah yeah...don't comment) our first game station/console online at a comedy site. Then he wanted the games...and then the other brand of game machine...and...then an upgrade came along, then the Gameboys, etc. Eventually that was all he was doing (and doing it still) instead of reading and doing other things I think he should be doing. Those video/online games get very addictive...and at $50 a pop for games, not to mention the arguments at home regarding playing...they just (for our family at least) are not worth it. This year there won't be any games or consoles bought...I can tell you that right now. Sony and Nintendo aren't seeing any money from me this year.

  6. Merry Christmas, Mariann!

  7. Merry Christmas to you as well...and to everyone else! :)

    Have a lovely and safe holiday season!

  8. I got a PS2 I withdraw all previous statements :-I

  9. Oh, you are just sooooooo...well, okay, you're a guy...what can I say? ;)

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