(Originally posted on FB on Tuesday, December 23, 2008)
I love Jesus. But I hate Christmas. First of all, most theologians agree that Jesus was most likely born in the summer or fall. So why is Christmas in December? That’s a whole ‘nother note. This one is about being “The Rich Relative”.
Every year since I’ve had a job, I’ve been expected to come up off some serious loot for Christmas. Now before any of you go there – I know that I got lots and lots of toys and bikes and stuff when I was a kid, and I didn’t pay for any of it. But so what?!?! My parents set that precedent. If they hadn’t started in with Santa and the idea of toys for Christmas, then I would have been content to just be out of school for two weeks and be with the family. If that’s what I had been taught, that’s what I would have known. So don’t give me the “it’s your turn to give back to the family” nonsense. They chose to have kids and give ’em stuff. I don’t have kids. (message!!)
It started with me getting a gift for my favorite cousin. He and his family were on the broke side (still are) so I would always buy his gift: a sweater, a wallet, a shirt and tie combo, etc. I was like 16 so that was serious money out of my Six Flags check. His present was my responsibility for years. And in return, I would get a nice card from that whole family. I didn’t mind – I knew they were broke. I did it because he was my favorite cousin, not so I could be reimbursed equally. C’est la vie. Then, he started to have kids as we got older. He has three now – still not married to their mother. Still no real job (hard to do with a felony record). And somehow, I’ve become the one to buy him, his girlfriend, and his three kids presents. WTF? I probably wouldn’t mind so much except NOBODY else pitches in!!! The senitment was – if I didn’t get them something, they could just do without. Now, he IS my favorite cousin (slim pickings there) so I sucked it up, until I started getting REQUESTS from him a few years back. “Hey cuz, can you help me get this toy for my youngest daughter? I’ll give you what I can on it…” How am I supposed to say no to the babies? Dammit!!! Well, we’ve drifted apart over the last few years, so this will be the first year that none of them get anything. If you can’t return a phone call, how do I know where to send the gifts? 😉
So now we get to the immediate family. My dad tells me constantly that he has oh-so-much money tied up in the stock market, mutual funds… here money, there money, everywhere money money!! Okay, so why do you wait until Christmas every year to ask ME for these big-ticket items? Are you telling me that you couldn’t buy a computer any other time throughout the year? Or did you wait until I could get it for you? You want a 57″ HDTV? They have them at Sam’s, Dad. (I did actually dodge that one, he couldn’t wait. Whew!) Now – a king size mattress and headboard? Really? REALLY?!?! My sister wants a Nintendo Wii – so I got her one. Here’s the kicker – I told my dad at THANKSGIVING that we could go in on it together since it would be $350 total. He said okay. Now that I’ve got it, he wants to get her a dvd player because hers is broken.
Me: “Dad, I can get the Wii to play dvds.”
Him: “Well, I wanted to get her something from me, so you can get her that game thing and I will get her this dvd player.”
Y’all – my dad rolls up with this $30 WalMart portable dvd player with some ole crappy 9-inch screen. Are you f*#*ing kidding me?!?!?!? So now you gone leave me hanging with this $350 bill, just so you don’t have to go 1/2 with me on it!?!? Never mind that when he got her an iPod Video a couple years ago, I had to go 1/2 with him even though I had already gotten her a present. Quid pro quo is dead.
Now, I could just say that my dad is a cheap …guy, but my sister is just as bad. So we go shopping for the mattress and headboard that Dad wants this year, and we find lots of stuff. She wants me to get the best of the best – $1500 for a mattress – JUST the mattress. Uh – no. How about this $500 orthopoedic mattress that’s on close-out, and is still good for his back? She couldn’t argue with that. Then, this morning (while we wait on the mattress to be delivered) we are searching online for a headboard. She sees stuff she likes – all in the $1000 – $1500 range. For a headboard?!? Hell naw!! So I pull up some other stuff – there’s sales everywhere – and she tells me “We should get Daddy what he would really like, not what’s on sale.” Is that right?… I respond with “You know we are going half on all this, right? So right now you already owe me $300, and this headboard right here will put you in the hole another $500. So are you cool with that?” The doorbell chimes and it’s the mattress. Once that guy comes and goes, she comes back to me: “Well, let’s see what’s on sale first then.” Yeah, I thought so. Not so free with your own dayum money, are you?
I’ve always had this little thing about me – I will give you the shirt off my back as long as you don’t ASK for it. So I guess what I am not liking about all this is that it’s just assumed that I can handle these massive bills without any regard to what I may be going through financially. I mean, I ain’t broke. But I WILL be after December. You know what I am getting for Christmas? Neither do I! But I’ll bet it will be in a card. My dad already told me to buy myself something and he would pay me back. Gee, thanks. And my sister will probably give me $50. Again, I am not looking for reciprocation. Well, maybe I am. You don’t ask me for anything and I don’t ask you for anything. And whatever you get me I will like because you thought enough to get me something. And vice versa. Or, we could just come together and celebrate the birth of our Lord. Apparently, that’s not good for the economy though.
Rant Volume 2 done, and I’m out.