Sunday, December 25, 2005

time + money + energy + mailing + donner + blitzen

I got an Xmas card from my mother yesterday. It began with a sentence about the weather. It ended with "Love, Mom and Dad." Here was the rest:

27 comments:

valerio said...

jeremy, this is the best xmas card ever! wish my mom was that cool... :-)

Anonymous said...

Jeremy, jog over to Somerville this week and see the lights. There are streets there where you can hear the electric meters whirling round. Wear sunglasses.

May your inner child be calm and bright.

Josh

Anonymous said...

I know this blog is all about Jeremy, but it sounds like your mother is hurt. Could all this "Xmas" and "Xian" language be coming off to her as a rejection of your upbringing and your family?

Sounds like she doesn't know you enough anymore to have any idea what to give you as a gift, and it sounds like you've rejected her tries in the past. Be a bigger man and reach out.

If you weren't able to get home to see everyone this year because of circumstances, try to come across as happy and fulfilled if you talk to them today. Dumping an "I'm alone on Xmas" mood on them, bringing them down because you can't get up with them, is like not accepting any of their presents. Christmas is about being able to take, as well as giving, you know.

(Homily over. Have a wonderful day, however and with whomever you choose to spend it!)

Verification = jerde (?)

jeremy said...

My mother does not read my blog. She was, however, amused when I told her I had scanned her "snippy" card and put it on the Internet. She wanted to make sure I included the part about how I never cash her checks. My mother rocks and doesn't care how I spell Xmas. The larger tension over presents is that my parents do not have very much money, and other members of my immediate family could use any presents a whole lot more than me. I have four sisters: one has declared bankruptcy about a year ago and seems basically to be living in self-induced squalor, one (a grandmother) is struggling to put herself through her last year of college, one has only recently settled into a good job after an protracted period of peripheral employment, and one is dead. I have, however, told my mother that I could use a couple pairs of argyle socks, the crazier the better.

Anonymous said...

All that stuff about how they have no money blah blah. How can you miss that they get PLEASURE out of giving you something. Of course it doesn't have to be expensive.
Gee, if it weren't Christmas, I'd say "Twit, glad you finally got with the spirit and told them what you'd like'.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. And next time just say 'wild socks'. just in case they don't have argyles in her neighborhood.
Have a fine Christmas!

Rhymes With Scrabble said...

I got several pairs of crazy socks in my stocking. One of them I purchased myself, along with several pairs for my sisters, as I have begun contributing to stocking stuffers, but I got several others that I wasn't expecting. I love novelty socks.

jeremy said...

Anon 12:17pm: My parents don't live in a neighborhood. They live on a farm.

RWS: I like novelty socks, too, but what I really want is less novelty and more on wild side of argyle.

Siebens said...

Would it be blasphemous to suggest that your family do away with the whole gift-giving tradition and just devote the energy to a day of feasting and sloth? My family (both ridiculously large and poor) dropped the presents a few ago and it's really made the season easier. The siblings that still insist on giving just buy toys for the grandkids.

Anonymous said...

boy oh boy oh boy, parents don't live in a neighborhood they live on a farm farm that abounds with argyle socks go pick 'em Mom.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I know exactly where Jeremy is coming from. I sometimes don't cash my parents' checks either. It's hard to watch your parents struggle when they're at that age when they're "supposed" to be living comfortably. I wish my family would give up the whole gift exchange too...not between us and our parents, but between siblings. Don't get me wrong, I love getting gifts for other people, it's just that the true meaning of Christmas seems to get lost blah blah blah.

Anonymous said...

Bet Jeremy's parents aren't as "poor" as he believes them to be...

Just sayin'

jeremy said...

Anon 8:55am: I was going to delete your comment, but then I thought I would leave it as a monument to the jerkiness that those who allow anonymous comments on blogs have to deal with. I would respond by saying something profane followed by "you", but of course I'm more dignified than that in this forum.

jeremy said...

Anon 8:55am: I mean, I assume you are just a run of the mill anonymous commenting jerk, but in case you are someone who does not actually conceive of yourself and the comments like this as jerky, let me assure you, it's a really jerky thing for you to insinuate. In any event, I know exactly what my parents' income is, and I actually have a better idea of what their real net worth is than they do, since they (my father, especially) suffers from certain delusions.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Anon855 wasn't talking about financial net worth, Jeremy. But I can see where your first impulse would be to delete. Relax

Anonymous said...

No matter how symbolically rich Jeremy's parents may be, it doesn't erase the fact that it feels really really awful to accept a gift from your parents when you know that one little extra expense is hurting them. Ignoring that fact would make someone a really insensitive jerk no matter how much his parents are bubbling over with Christmas spirit.

Anonymous said...

Anon5:18,
The beauty of open comments is you might get past your regular circle to consider a point you hadn't reached on your own. The danger is you might hear something that makes you unconfortable.

Maybe the insensitive jerk is the person who never learned to take, even something little. It's a myth that poor people have nothing to give. Maybe posting about your parents finances to garner holiday sympathy, or boost your nobility on not taking their gifts, makes you and insensitive jerk?

Some of Jeremy's writings about his hometown and family in the past seem condescending. Sure poking a little fun is good, but sometimes I really think he believes the people "left behind" are really as sad as he portrays them. Maybe it's a liberal thing he's picked up in academia.

What if those people really are happier in their life choices than Jeremy in his? He knows his mother better than me, but my read was that his mother is more concerned about him than own money troubles. Take care.

Anonymous said...

I'm absolutely speechless. There are so many presumptions in that above post, I don't even know where to begin.

jeremy said...

I have a complicated and multivalent set of feelings about both my family and the rural area in which I grew up. In this respect, I believe I am not unusual. Very little of it, however, has to do with the question of the relative happiness or sadness of myself or others. Wherever you go, I suspect, the variation in happiness among people in the same place is vast compared to the variation in average happiness between any two places.

Anonymous said...

Now you sound like John Kerry.

jeremy said...

Yes, John Kerry and I have very similar family backgrounds, so this isn't surprising.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, yeah, sure.

nina said...

May I use this post as evidence for why the category of anonymous commenters should be burried in some stinky soils? I mean, come on. Say it with a name already.

Anonymous said...

Nina,
If Jeremy turns off anonymous comments, it just means the terrorists won. Stay the course!
-Kestrel

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I wonder if bloggers make up their own anonymous comments for excitement, Nina, or to keep the thread exciting.

Who was that Lonely Donut Man anyways?

jeremy said...

Lonely Donut Man turned out to be a random civil servant in Kentucky, who also posted on different sociology blogs as Goesh and, according to some rumors, Claire.

Anonymous said...

Hello, God?