Christmas is, if anything, a competition – one that my husband has won for the last several years. Last year I thought I had it in the bag, but then I was informed via Etsy that the Danny Devito rubber stamp I ordered would not arrive in time for the holiday. A Christmas Loser again.
Until this Christmas. It was around the 22nd that I smugly proclaimed that I clearly was going to be this year’s winner. My husband has always been a gifted gift giver (he’s never bought me anything heart-shaped, for instance). But this year, he had been plagued with sickness.
One planned trip to the store was replaced with a trip to the doctor for ear tubes (no, I’m not married to an eight-year-old, just the only grown man who has gotten tubes twice in his adult life). On the 24th, he was struck with a stomach bug, which meant that, unless he wanted to have a “Christmas Incident” in the middle of Sephora, last-minute shopping was out of the question for him.
He lamented that he only had one thing for me and, without even opening presents, a winner was declared. The sheer quantity of presents I had bought did not just exceed his, but they also included a membership to a sock-of-the-month club – the perfect gift for a man who a co-worker once declared was “known for his socks.” And then came Christmas morning.
I expected perfume. I had been not-so-subtly hinting that I was in need, and, I don’t know, perfume has always seemed to me like one of those extravagances that I felt funny about buying for myself. The box under the tree, however, was all wrong. It was too big. Too big even for a boxed set that came with lotion. I unwrapped the gift to find another box inside and still felt perplexed. It was some kind of electronic device, but what was it? I lifted the lid to discover that my husband had bought me a laptop. The real gift came, however, when he proclaimed, “No one else is allowed to use this. It’s just for you. To write.”
For the nearly 15 years since college (excuse me, I just threw up in my mouth writing that sentence), the only things I’ve written are grad school papers, report card comments, emails, and texts. As a result, there were times that I got a little too carried away in my emails. It was as if my brain was telling me to write, that it needed to express its snarky commentary in some form.
And so my friends got lengthy dissertations about my toddler’s bout with Coxsackie virus and diatribes against “some nasty bitch” who cut me off in the grocery store parking lot. Fascinating stuff, described in enough detail to make Dickens accuse me of being too wordy. I often wonder if anyone has actually read one of my emails in entirety in the last decade.
For years, I toyed with the idea of a blog. It was the kind of writing I like best – self-centered, all-about-me essay writing. No need to research historical events, no requirement of a creative mind. Blogging was the avenue for your typical smug, unctuous writer who thinks other people actually give a flying fig what they have to say about anything. I had clearly found my niche. So, for years, I did what all great procrastinators do, I thought long and hard about it, and updated my Facebook status.
Until this Christmas. Because with a gift like this laptop I’m writing on, and more importantly, the message that came with it, how do you not take that extra step? How do you hear that someone you love believes in you, and then use their gift to Facebook stalk and judge the profile pictures of your ex-boyfriend’s family and friends? (For the record, I predict that this laptop will most definitely find itself down some truly remarkable Facebook wormholes).
So, even though pair number 1 of the sock-of-the-month club were clad with a jellybean design, I suppose I was technically the Christmas Loser this year. And so it is time now to declare the official winner of Christmas 2015 – my long-suffering friends who will no longer be receiving a detailed Monday-morning discourse about my weekend trip to Target.