Known Johnson

November 25, 2007

30 days and counting

Filed under: General — Tom @ 5:07 pm

Think about it – 30 days from now, many of us will already be in recovery mode from Christmas, suffering the post-traumatic disorder that comes with so much shredded gift wrap where we’re in a kind of daze, not believing it’s already over. All that stress and frustration, all over in just a few short hours, or even minutes. It’s kind of like overeating. While you’re there, at the table, it’s hard to imagine you don’t want more – it’s there, it’s good, it’s fun – but given an hour or so, you start thinking about it and realize that you really over did it.

I’m an only child, so I know – my Christmases were all about excess. I got pretty much everything I wanted, and more things I didn’t even know I wanted. My parents showered me with gifts. And afterward I just sat there like, “Holy crap, that’s a lot of stuff.” It didn’t really hit me until much later that other kids I knew, kids who had siblings, were not having that kind of Christmas every year. They got a few very specific gifts each.

Hey, don’t look at me like I was so lucky. I missed out on some things, too, you know. All of you who had brothers and sisters, think about how many times you scapegoated one of them for something you did. Me? Nope – I was always responsible for whatever I did. Don’t think that kind of thing doesn’t take its toll on you after a while. I couldn’t get away with anything – I only had the dog to blame.

And, seriously, how many only children do you know that are normal? We’re all weirdos, off in our own strange little worlds. Oh, sure, we get along in the real world just fine, basically, but as only children, we’re pretty sure that the one we’ve created around ourselves is the one that everyone else knows. The above is a pretty good example of what I’m talking about – my Christmas surely must have been everyone else’s.

I do have one thing I can say that might be a plus to someone else. Since my own gift-getting experiences were so excessive, I have a tendency to not know a good, safe, comfortable boundary on giving. Whatever I’ve gotten for someone so far isn’t enough. I’m always doubting that I’ve done enough to make them feel loved and wanted. If you’re me, that’s stressful. If you’re on the receiving end – or a credit card company – it’s a very, very good thing.

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