I hate the binary nature of Santa’s lists. Surely it isn’t so easy to sort people into such tidy, definitive categories, the toy-deservers and the coal-getters. Case in point: Salty. That boy is the nicest, naughtiest child imaginable. He’s devious. He’s darling. He’s sweet. He’s salty. Well, Santa hooked him up good this year despite many manipulative threats of coal.
Coal gets such a bad rap. If someone gave me coal today, I’d find it useless and insulting. It would be worse than getting nothing at all. But in the days of the origination of the lump of coal from Santa, coal would have kept you and your family warm. A lump of coal wasn’t nothing. It just wasn’t whimsical or luxurious, merely practical and useful. I’m not saying I want to get coal for Christmas unless it’s been pressurized into a diamond.
(Sound of vinyl record scratching to a halt)
Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold everything, cowboy! Let’s pause for a public service announcement: Diamonds are not made from coal. Well, not usually anyway. Most diamonds predate land plants which are the precursors to coal, so you do the math. You can read about the actual formation of diamonds here. It’s cool. Also, despite what I was repeatedly taught in 4th grade, if you stretched out your intestines, they would not circle the equator 8 times. (Adults have about 6 meters of intestine which is still impressive, but if you’re going for the round the world trip, you should really use the fact that all your blood vessels end to end would circle the globe twice.) Additionally, you don’t lose most of your body heat through your head, so wear a hat or don’t. That’s your prerogative.
You unlearn something new every day. And you thought all you got from this blog was the reassurance that at least you’re a better parent than Some People. Well, you’re welcome for both.
Okay, back to coal. When I was growing up, Santa gave us tons of coal at Christmas. After the October birthdays of my sister and me, Mom cut all four of us kids off for 10 weeks. If we needed new socks or office supplies for school or whatever, we had to wait until Christmas. This was genius. On Christmas morn, not only did we get all sorts of toys and treats and a cassette tape of “Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam”, we also got underwear and Scotch tape and scissors and shoes and nail files. It sounds kind of like a package for refugees, but trust me, it was great. Scarcity creates demand.
I try to do the same thing with my family. We need a new printer? Wait for Christmas. This year, in addition to all the toys, electronics, and costumes, Santa brought the kids socks and underwear and gloves and other lumps of coal. Fluffy was totally embarrassed by the pack of superheroine underpants that Santa must have touched as he put it into her stocking, but I assured her he used to bring them to me as a girl, too.
Kent who is unfamiliar with the wonders of coal used to keep purchasing everything he wanted as the inclination arose even during the critical month of December. What a way to leech value out of your purchases, Mr. Grinch. Didn’t he read my post about how “you get more satisfaction out of things if you spend time anticipating them”? He’s come onboard, though, and I appreciate that.
What did I get Kent, you ask? Why, a video gaming chair that swivels and reclines, has surround sound speakers, and vibrates in sync with the action in the game. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it’s the best seat in the house. It’s like a massage chair that you have to play Lego Starwars or Call of Duty to activate. And that, friends, is the story of the last I saw anything of Kent except the back of his head.
I took the above picture at 3:17pm on December 26th, specifically to show my readers how laid back I have become. And then, I went into the kitchen and found dishes SOAKING in the sink. Not cooking dishes with baked-on food either, plates with nothing more legitimately soakable than pancake syrup. I was so mad, I flew into cleaning overdrive. I took this picture at 5:06 that same day.
No mess lurking just out of frame either, if that’s what you’re wondering. I put stuff all the way away.