Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

"And that is how Peggy Hill saved Christmas." - Peggy, King of the Hill


Christmas magic – seems to work best on those of us who want the least, or, like Pugsley, are easily impressed. Pugsley thinks it’s cool when I burp.

It’s Christmas. Again. That just seems to keep happening to me, nowadays.

When I was seven, Christmas seemed, well, a whole year away each and every day, but yet there the toy commercials were, taunting me with the stunning killing effectiveness of Kung Fu Grip® when employed by a skilled G.I. Joe™. Not to mention G.I. Joe’s© really cool science-fiction-y gear (batteries sold separately) which looked neat enough that you could almost imagine that he could defeat the Russians all by himself if only he had the opportunity, and if G.I. Mom© would buy him batteries. The evil toy companies would run these commercials in summer, when Christmas was still decades away.

Now I get the pleasure of participating in shopping for things for The Boy and Pugsley. They are (thankfully) as simple and to the point as a sailor on leave.

Pugsley is easiest. He has no idea why we put a tree up, and is just amazed that we don’t keep that pretty thing up all the time. In the morning, he scurries to make sure it’s still there. The boxes with colorful paper and ribbons underneath? More decoration! When he figures out that there are things in them for him, he’ll be thrilled to the point of Toddler Pleasure Seizure (The signs of TPS are a toddler so happy that he locks all his muscles and quivers with joy. TPS even has a charity and a motto – “Remember, you can help stamp out Toddler Pleasure Seizure by stealing a blankie.”). It’s easy to make Pugsley happy: just buy some colorful, fun, lead-free toys . . . oh, wait, this just got more complicated . . .

The Boy is slightly more complex. The Boy is finally to the age (7) where he can think of things that are hideously inappropriate (electromagnetic field detector, oscilloscope), extraordinarily expensive (new electric guitar signed by the Def Leppard® with genuine photocopied letter of authenticity) or both (trip to England to explore for ghosts in the Hellfire Caves, night vision goggles). Fortunately, with The Boy there’s a middle ground of things that can be purchased that are squishy, gross and/or techie enough to entertain him, yet cost less than a Federal Reserve Bank intervention to stem housing price declines because Paris Hilton moved into your neighborhood.

Alia? She has a list. Mainly reasonable.

The toughest puzzle to solve is The Mrs.

I think that I’m pretty sensitive to the feelings of The Mrs., because I love her, but for the life of me I cannot understand her. For those of you who say, “Hey, John Wilder, if you are sensitive to The Mrs., you should understand The Mrs.”

To those of you who said, that, well, pfft. Also, just remember that when a cat jumps onto a stove that’s 500°F (7°C), the cat is certainly sensitive to the feeling of the thermodynamic disequilibrium driving a heat flux and the resultant energy into its paws and making it scream like Hillary Clinton when Dorothy kills her flying monkeys. A cat just doesn’t understand why our roster of presidents might be Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton. Frankly, neither do I.

But the point I was trying to get there before you interrupted me was this: I have no idea (at all) of what The Mrs. wants for Christmas. The Mrs. has told me (several times) that she has pretty much everything she needs, and doesn’t want much more. The Mrs. has also proven this the past few years when I bought her things she didn’t need, or hasn’t yet used, yet has been happier than a tick in BBQ sauce (I’m attempting to adopt some minor Texas colloquialisms to blend in with the natives, although I’m not sure that ticks are endemic to BBQ sauce, or would even prefer it to, say, ketchup). I think it makes The Mrs. happy just watching the rest of us being happy. Darn her for that. She’s taking the high road and not letting her feelings be swayed by material items.

Me? I just want a electromagnetic field detector, oscilloscope, new electric guitar signed by the Def Leppard® with genuine photocopied letter of authenticity, a trip to England to explore for ghosts in the Hellfire Caves, and night vision goggles.

I’ve been waiting for this stuff since summer. When I was seven.
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