Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas in the Stars

It's Christmas Eve, the panickiest day of the year. While some of us have time to blog (or at least, post the draft blog entry cunningly written the night previously), many of you have no time to read this because you're dashing around at the last minute trying to finish your shopping.

It's a stressful ordeal, especially if you're a bad son or daughter who moved away from your family a long time ago and don't talk to them very often, and thus don't know them very well anymore and have no clue whatsoever about what to get them. You grasp at straws, trying to match whatever half-remembered biographical data comes to mind with whatever unwanted merchandise is left on store shelves. Your dad likes beer? Then he'll love a copy of the Bob and Doug McKenzie comedy album Great White North.* The only consolation is that your family is having the same problems trying to figure out what to get you. Of course, that comfort fades once you open your gifts and see how badly they've missed the mark in summing you up as a person.

The moment when my family officially didn't know me anymore came on Christmas Day of my second year in university, when just about every gift I got had a Star Trek theme. We're talking about a set of blueprints for the NCC-1701D, a communicator badge, a letter rack with a plastic model of the Enterprise stuck to it, and a lifesized cutout of Lt. Commander Worf.

I immediately realized two things: First, my family no longer knew who I was, and second, they'd evidently decided I was a huge nerd. This logic was a wreath of pretty flowers which smelled bad. I mean, sure, I liked Star Trek, but it's not like I was going around wearing plastic ears and spouting dialogue. But it wasn't their fault. They had been able to make—as Spock says in TOS episode 49, "The Immunity Syndrome"—"No analysis due to insufficient information."

I didn't have much use for most of this stuff. What can you really use a Star Trek communicator badge for, other than putting it on and timing how many seconds it takes to get your ass kicked after leaving the house? But I did at least put the big cutout of Worf to good use when I got back to school.

I had a diabetic housemate who always went to the bathroom in the middle of the night. She'd stumble in groggily, without turning on the light or flushing when she was done. That last bit bugged me. She claimed she didn't flush because she didn't want to wake me up, but what kept me awake was the sound of all that urine just mouldering in the bowl. I couldn't get to sleep until I heard a flush, and I always had to get up and do it myself just to put my mind at rest. So she had a little something coming, I figured. One January night after she went to bed, I set up Worf in the bathroom and closed the door. Presently, I heard the sound of padding toward the bathroom, the opening of the door, and a shriek as she saw a six-foot-tall menacing black figure silhouetted against the bathroom window. I didn't hear the flush of a toilet after that, but I think I might have heard a mop being applied to a floor and a washing machine cleansing pyjamas.

Worf still resides in my bathroom. He's now stuck in a crevice between my shower stall and the wall, peering in through the glass to creep out anyone who happens to take a shower at my house. He nearly gave one ex-girlfriend a heart attack the first time she saw him. And come to think of it, when he briefly resided at the foot of my bed back in university, he nearly gave another ex-girlfriend a heart attack when we managed to move the bed a few inches across the floor and he fell on top of us. So, in the end, I guess Worf was a pretty good gift overall. He's got a knack for scaring women in amusing ways, and I admire that.

But my point still holds. Trust me: Making a Christmas wish list is much more important now than when you labored over it and mailed it off to Santa annually as a kid. Your parents already knew what to get you then: toys. Now they don't know you, so it's the only chance in hell you have of getting anything you want. And getting Christmas lists from them is the only chance you have of not disappointing them. Unless, of course, you want to spend more time talking to your family and getting to know each other, but who wants that?

*This seemed like a logical connection when I was twelve and thought this album was the height of hilarity. I doubt my dad listened to it even once. Too highbrow for you, old man?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can attest to this phenomenon. My mother gave me a Star Trek-themed Christmas card this year, clearly not realizing that I'm not nearly as hardcore as I was two or three years ago (she'll do the same thing with the Leafs, no matter how many times I tell her). Nevertheless I found the gesture strangely thoughtful.

Merry Christmas.

- Gloria

12/25/2005 11:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

My mother reportedly had this conversation with my mother a few years ago:

"I need to get a gift for Matt. Does he still like Savage Garden?"


"Yeah, I was going to get him a Savage Garden album, because I know he likes them. Are there any that he doesn't have?"

"What are you talking about? Matt hates Savage Garden."

"Are you sure? I know he's got a couple of their records. They just broke up, right?"


12/28/2005 09:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Matt said...

...One might even say that my mother had that conversation with my brother.

12/28/2005 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Lynn said...

Gloria: After Enterprise, no one is as hardcore a Trekkie as he or she was two or three years ago. What a pile of shit. Same thing with this year's Leafs lineup, some would argue. Go Sens!

Matt: To be fair, just going by the names, Savage Garden sounds more hardcore than Soundgarden.

12/28/2005 10:11:00 PM  

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