Friday, December 22, 2006

Bats, Christmas, Acrimony

I thought I had Christmas shopping down to a simplified science of Spartan efficiency. Outside of one gag gift, I was only going to buy gifts for my immediate family. My sister and I brilliantly decided to divvy up the ‘rents this year with her buying something for my mom and me shopping for my dad and both of us taking credit for everything. Cake. I got online and ordered one big box item that was delivered to my door. Then I went to Williams Sonoma, bought one big box item for my sister and with very little sweat or aggravation was done shopping. Or so I thought.

It turns out that I have one more present yet to buy, here on one of the worst shopping days of the year. And were it not for some sense of social obligation I would not be shopping at all for this person. I typically reserve gift-giving for friends and family but this individual I consider to be one of my arch-nemeses. He is my parents’ neighbor and he is 5 years old.

Our families are good friends and we have spent the last several Christmas Eve’s together with this year being no different. It is somewhat awkward because everyone feels compelled to do the gift exchange, with them usually giving me some well-intentioned gift for which I have absolutely no use -- last year was a CD by some female “jazz” vocalist which may still be somewhere in my parents’ house bound in its unopened cellophane. (Yes, I know that I am not a very good person.) Gifts to them, on the other hand, are usually just gifts for their little boy with whom I have a sometimes genial but often adversarial relationship.

For the longest time he was the apple of both his mother’s and my mother’s eye. She often babysat him and as an infant he seemed to be a very loveable little guy. It was cool as I though he could serve as the ersatz baby brother I never had. Well as he’s gotten older he has grown a lot more precocious and moody. The frightening irony is that he is growing to be more and more like me each day and we can therefore never be pals. I think there is some theory or phrase about people not liking other people who are most like themselves (is that self-loathing?). Anyway, that nicely characterizes our relationship.

When we are together there will usually be an argument of some kind. He is too smart for his own good and feels the need to interject his nascent opinion (usually about how badly or wrongly I am doing something) regarding everything. As a person with the nasty habit of correcting people’s grammar and always needing to trump the anecdotal knowledge of others, this fucking drives me nuts. Accusations of being a jerk or “meanie” are hurled about, when his mother is not looking I will knock him over (I think he has some inner ear issue and is therefore easily toppled), he in return has punched me in the junk on more than one occasion, use of my parents’ computer has been fought over (he always wants to play some stupid game on the Nickelodeon website -- a site for which I get in trouble for blocking), I have gone into long diatribes about how the Power Rangers suck and would shit their pants at the mere site of The Autobots, he has only seen the awful, awful Star Wars prequels, and so on. Obviously this feud is intractable and will no doubt end in a “pistols at dawn” scenario.

But, he is 5 and I am not which means that I must somehow be the bigger person. And this year that entails me getting him a present so I am leaving work early today to find something kid-appropriate that has anything to do with bats. Bats. He is in a bat phase and loves shooting his mouth off about all the bat facts he knows. “Did you know that bats sleep during the day?” No shit? I have a Master’s Degree and that somehow escaped my knowledge. “What’s a masterz pee?” Nevermind.

So fine, I’ll buy him a picture book or something and have my sister wrap it. I’m gonna make a great dad one day.


At 12/22/2006 2:47 PM, Anonymous nicole d. said...


At 12/23/2006 10:59 AM, Blogger Momentary Academic said...

And you should buy him a stuffed bat. That would be nice.

Have your sister wrap that too.

At 12/23/2006 10:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you'd make a better dad than mom at any rate


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