December 21st, 2008

breeden

(no subject)

Yesterday, I went Christmas shopping for Kevin for his kids.

He had documented the basic horror of this experience here so I need not duplicate the effort, except to note that A) our trip was ultimately successful, and B) since we were going to a formal party immediately after the Christmas shopping, we did the entire four-hour junket wearing evening wear (which in my case involves cut velvet and The Boots, and in his case involves the kilt.) However, since it's the Christmas season, nobody in retail notices or cares what you are wearing, as long as you are not shrieking like a chimp and flinging feces at them. The occasional fellow shopper would notice--"HEY! Is that a Utilikilt!?"--but that's about as far as it went. (You know it's been a long day for employees when you can walk into a GameStop with cleavage cut down to your navel, and the staff looks at you bleary-eyed and never glances below the collarbone.) 

I will note that it's a little strange to be ogling saltwater fish in formalwear. (The mandarin goby was better dressed than I was, and would always be better dressed than I was, but that's okay.)

Kevin's article, however, highlights a much different question, a clash of cultures that was as profound as it was unexpected. (Well, and also the problem of having small children who want cheat-devices for their Pokemon games for Christmas, which you, as a gamer parent, are morally opposed to, because goddamnit, in OUR day we had to buy the damn hint books with our own money and do the bloody walkthrough of Wizardry or whatever ourselves, none of this plug-and-instant gratification crap what is the younger generation coming to etc, etc. But that's a minor note.)

WE always opened presents on Christmas Eve. The tradition was that you bake cookies for half the day, you make earnest plans that really, this year you'll go to Midnight Mass, you go out to dinner (always Chinese food) you come home, too bloated to even think about going anywhere, let alone anywhere with a lot of athletic kneeling, the stockings have magically appeared (Mom always seemed to have to run back in to get her purse before dinner) and you open all the presents. Then you sleep in on Christmas Day. This is normal and logical and sane and everybody gets lots of sleep and no one is awakened by small children screaming about Santa at four AM.

Kevin, of course, belongs to the tradition that you open Christmas Day. This strikes me as inefficient. More, it strikes me that we're getting no damn sleep the morning of the 25th. He, on the other hand, thinks that opening Christmas Eve is unnatural. In his family, the presents don't even APPEAR under the tree until sometime on the night of the 24th, so you have that authentic Santa-arriving experience.

(My family was very lackadaisical about the existence of Santa, because my mother recalled finding it very traumatic to learn that there was no Santa. So she never particularly maintained the illusion, much to my grandmother's chagrin.) 

Any other readers belong to the highly logical tradition of the 24th?


ETA: Kevin's article is going to be a feature on Intrepid Media in a couple of days, and has thus been pulled (in order to be featured.) I'll re-link it for y'all when it goes back up.

breeden

More Phrases I Never Expected To Hear Uttered

Went a fabulous party last night at buddy Mur's. Mur's parties are always fabulous--she has great friends--but the high point was arguably talking to an infectious disease doctor, who told me exciting things about leprosy (always a favored topic) Buruli's ulcers (worse than, but related to leprosy) and the shocking number of cases he sees of syphilis contracted by people over 80, which fills one with simultaneous dismay and sneaking hope for one's old age.

And of course, the inevitable stories of people in the emergency room with things inserted in places where Some Things Should Not Be Inserted. Like two baked potatoes and a jar of Smuckers. Simultaneously. (And apparently actually tried for the "I was in the kitchen, naked, and there were these two baked potatos balanced on top of the jam jar, and I slipped..." defense.)

Being me, I couldn't NOT ask. "The baked potatoes...longways, or sideways?"

The good doctor drew himself up with all the dignity that several mixed drinks could muster and said "The human sigmoid colon is not designed to accomodate a sideways baked potato."

So, yes. If you're the sort of person who is inclined to insert multiple baked potatoes into your ass, you probably have some overriding motivations that drive you, and there is no stopping you by conventional means. Just be aware that when you wind up at the ER that, yes, the staff WILL be telling this story about you over cocktails for years to come.