Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Denouement, Dudes!

    I have noticed that a lot of big time writers will use the end of the year as an excuse to revisit the previous year's columns. Supposedly, they do this to update the readers and add a kind of psychological denouement to the year.
    Personally, I like doing it because it makes for some easy writing. Also, I really like saying the word denouement.
    Let's start with flip flops. Readers may remember that I started wearing flip flops  for the first time this year. I did eventually learn to saunter in those laid back shoes. In fact, I successfully rocked those flip flops until one of the tiny toe thongs gave out at church one Sunday.
    I wish I was kidding about this.
    It seems I am both tacky enough to wear flip flops to church and unlucky enough to have one of the tiny toe things blow out, effectively turning my flip flops into just flops. Very loud flops if you must know.
    2008 was the year that I gave a name to the biggest e-mail scourge of all time, Spom  - or spam sent by your mother. Many of you reached out to me by sending me examples of the complete crap your mother had sent you via e-mail. Ironically, this meant that I was essentially being spommed by your mothers - as well as by my own. 
    So, we're gonna put that in the "backfired" column.
    I bought both an Iphone and an Amazon Kindle this year, successfully spending a thousand dollars to do things I could already do and neatly proving that I am both a consumer tool  and a completely legitimate candidate for some kind of government bailout.
    We also discussed my wife's addiction to celebrations this year. I'd like to think she's making progress, but we had a birthday party for a friend last night on December 30th, and we're having another for New Year's Eve tonight. Draw your own conclusions.
    Finally, I'm gonna do some gloating. In 2007, I pointed out that the conventional wisdom  re: losing more than half of your body heat through your head was, uh, stupid. Turns out I was right, for once.
    Happy new year, people.

Editor's Note: If you're like me, you sometimes forget how cool the 80s were. My gift to you as we head into 2009...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


    Here's the thing about my nine year-old son, Gabriel. He is a humongous nerd, obsessed with building Lego play sets and playing Halo video games. He is racked by social anxiety and has trouble concentrating in school. And despite all of this, he is convinced that he is right about everything.
    He reminds me of someone...
    Oh, wait. I remember now. It's me.
    And here's the other thing about Gabriel. Though he loves me, he clearly thinks I'm a moron.
    The other day, for instance, my younger son Julian asked me about Santa Claus while we played in the front yard. By playing, I mean that the kids were hurling a football and I was drinking a Pete's Cherry Wheat in a pink plastic Adirondack chair.
    "Dad," said Julian, "How old is Santa?"
    This was a relative easy question, as far as Santa questions go, and I jumped on it.
    "Santa is thousands of years old, Julian."
    He seemed placated by my answer and since placation is really all you can hope for when you answer your children's questions, I took a satisfied swig.
    "That's ridiculous!"
    I turned to see Gabriel rolling his eyes.
    "Excuse me?"
    "Santa is not thousands of years old," Gabriel retorted. "The Santa Claus position is thousands of years old. It's actually passed down from person to person, like a king or a queen. Nobody lives for a thousand years."
    I looked squarely at this little blond kid with the serious look on his face.
    "It does sound stupid now that I think about it."
    "Sheesh!" he answered.
    "What if I told you Santa Clause was a vast conspiracy by adults to make kids believe in an imaginary being? What if I told you also that adults formulated this conspiracy without ever actually discussing it? Further, would you believe that most parents have no clear idea why they're part of this vast conspiracy? And what if I told you parents buy all of the toys at Christmas and give the credit to this imaginary Santa because they love their children and don't care about getting the credit for it?"
    Gabriel didn't hesitate. "That's ridiculous!"
    "Yeah," I said. "I suppose it is."