Thursday, December 25, 2008

How The Oaf Saved Giftmas

Meeaaarrry Giftmas!

Gather 'round, my children, as the oaf patronizes you from the third person. He is feeling mightily pleased with himself and is moved to share the reason as to why he is smugger than Halliburton on this moist midwinter morning.

Now may I suggest you read no further unless you can embrace the pure and true spirit of Giftmas. Any petty denominationalism may be parked just outside the door. It is the middle of the fucking winter and people need a little something to convince them that life is not a waste of time.

That would be a present.

A good present. There are presents where the best part of it is ripping off the wrapping or seeing someone's face when they open up the package. These presents suck.

A good present proves its worth over the course of years. It's something you use or run across periodically and it pleases both in itself and in the way it calls to mind a time, a place, and a person. A really good present is a physical expression of healthy love and an enhancement to life.

Well, the oaf ain't that cool. But this year he was able to let the healing rains of Giftmas fall on the parched plains of entrenched adulthood and the results will be visible for years to come.

See, what the oaf's family has done since the entre of the kids has been to get presents for the girls and then each adult would pick a secret Santa victim by drawing a slip of paper with their name from a hat. Trades and hustles were allowed; the oaf would typically insist on providing a present for his brother-in-law and then buy an art book he wanted but could not justify purchasing for himself.

This year the holiday was not planned; it occured, suddenly and shockingly. The oaf recalls a cracking noise like hot water poured into a cold glass accompanied by an odor of brimstone; he could be mistaken. But there was no time to organize Giftmas and alas!

Dismay and confusion, accompanied by a faint thin grayish feeling of impending decrepitude, a horrid sense of the essential disregard in which existence holds us, a taste in the mouth as subtle and pervasive as celery in a stew that spoke softly and insistently of the bleakness and thanklessness of life.

This was not helped when the oaf and an unnamed boon companion vanished for half an hour and returned visibly intoxicated with their volumes turned all the way up and the channel turned to weird.

There was an assembly of toys for the girls, suicide tools called Moon Shoes that required the use of many elastic bands. ("Those look like they were invented by a bone doctor," quoth the brother-in-law, and all nodded sagely as they hooked the elastic bands onto the hooks molded into the plastic tubes and the flat piece the child would have attached to their bodies with industrial-grade Velcro, tm.)

The sense of energy, of joy in one another's company that had been the hallmark of the morning had faded.

It was then that the oaf pulled out the fruits of his semester's labors. A portfolio, an art transportation tube spilled forth their contents onto the now pristine dining room table.

"Buffet rules," the oaf said. "Take all you want but frame all you take."

And then there commenced a period of basking in admiration, generous and open-hearted negotiations over particular prints, a brief kerfuffle over the participation of the children, signing was done, the phrase, "Of course you can have two; you can have as many as you really want," was repeated, and people felt as if they had gotten a fucking present. They glowed, they smiled, they were excited and involved and everyone was really, really into it.

And the oaf has every intention of feeling pleased with himself for quite some time.

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