Monday, December 31, 2007

My Christmas

Earlier this year, in response to my saying last year how much the Christmas Holidays and I don't agree, Dale Price invited me to his humble abode for Easter and I'm afraid I didn't take him seriously. So he reupped the invite for Christmas, and I made the flight to Detroit.

I had a great time with the Prices, and apparently I was a hit with their children (3-year-old Rachel reportedly asked "is the funny man coming back?"). But I also learned a few salutory lessons and had a few highlights along the way:

-- Within just one day of frequently holding their newborn (Dec. 19) son Louis, I had learned to tell the difference through the diaper between the feel of a fart and the feel of a crap. But the Prices trusted me with Louis after I assured that I did know how to hold a baby, having seen it often on television.

-- Children determined to run around a church will not be dissuaded, even if their brother is being initiated into the Kingdom. I warded off a threat to the dignity of Louis's Baptism on Christmas morning by dealing with a restless D3 while the Parental Units were otherwise occupied. (Here's a picture from another Price Baptism.)

-- I showed The Boy 1.0 how to grip a football to throw a perfect spiral (the football was made of cushion material but it worked well enough) so I could catch his throws every time. He said he and his Dad like the Lions and hate "the Green Packers." But note to self: Never de-facto dare a 4-year-old boy to hit you as hard as he can by saying "you hit like a girl." Eye tissue is delicate and those buggers are stronger than they look.

-- Shopping for children for the first time in your life can be both utterly mystifying and nostalgia-inducing. For example, I had never heard of "the Littlest Pet Shop" and had to call to ask what the reading levels of the Pricelets were before deciding to get the "Cat in the Hat Dictionary." That book was one my aunt bought for me when I was 6 and thumbing through the book, I realized how much of it was still stuck in my memory (the four J-boys named Jack, James, Jerry and Joe, e.g.)

-- Hockey tickets will make you very popular in Detroit, even to the point of The Wife overlooking the perfect male-to-male Christmas gifts: 100 episodes of The Man Show one way, and a Borat book the other way.

-- Dale hates the song "Brother Louie" by Stories. Or at least got sick of it after hearing me sing the chorus to Louis. I switched to the Kingsmen's "Louie, Louie," but couldn't remember the lyrics.

-- Letting me loose in a multi-storey bookstore, such as Detroit's John King Used & Rare Books, and expecting restraint is like ... well ... Paris Hilton at a nightclub, Marion Barry at a crackhouse, Rosie O'Donnell at Krispy Kreme. I bought so much that I had them ship most of my purchase UPS Ground to Washington, to arrive in three weeks. Northwest Airlines was no doubt grateful to avoid the fuel costs.

-- Although I'm nobody's idea of a trained athlete, there is nothing like suddenly remembering that you've left your cell phone at the cash register in an airport store while descending an escalator that will take you from the secured area of an airport to the unsecured. You will turn suddenly into Steve Austin running up the down stairs (and rip your best jeans in a stumble) to the amusement of a passle of DTW passengers. Trust me.

-- Heather and I bonded over our shared hatred of "Catcher in the Rye." I denounced this paean to EMO teen self-indulgence, to contempt for adulthood as hypocrisy, this orgy of self-righteous whining about phonies, as the most vile novel ever written, at least for us in our current context. I said that given the choice between giving a 15-year-old a copy of that book or a subscription to Playboy ... "my money's going to Hef. Playboy merely encourages an existing vice that can hardly profit from encouragement in a teen boy; Salinger creates new vices in the guise of virtues." At those words (close as I can recall), a grateful smile came over Heather's face. "I thought I was the only one," she said, coming close to tears as she hugged a fellow comrade in Salinger-hate. While in her arms, I said to her, "let's you dump him and run off together." She said ... "you know ... there's at least one major issue with that." And Dale chimed in: "I really can't work up much jealousy right now."

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Seriously, thanks Dale and Heather for your hospitality and making 2007 a Christmas to remember rather than forget.

9 comments:

thesheepcat said...

Terrific post, CM. Glad you had such a good time with the Prices.

Woodrow said...

You came to Detroit and didn't tell me?!?! What's up with that? I'm glad you had a good Christmas, too. Happy 2008!

CourageMan said...

Aaaaghghghghgh ...

I'm sorry, Woodrow. I had forgotten completely where you lived. (It's only in plain view on your site; you expect me to remember that?)

Next time I'm in Detroit ... I will look you up. Promise.

Anonymous said...

Glad you're back! Funny post!

Mephibosheth said...

Wow, he's back from the blog dead! Glad you had such a blessed Christmas.

Looking forward to meeting you in Stamford. Are they serious about this football game? I don't know if I'm that manly, particularly in single-digit temperatures.

Dale P. said...

Our pleasure! Watching you try to corral Dale III made me think "And a little child will drag them." And thanks--still, hugely--for the amazing gift of hockey tickets--believe me, they are manna in Motown.

For the record: anyone who can handle "Louie Louie Louie Louieeeee" for more than five seconds is either deaf or tranked to the gills.

Fun fact about the baptism picture (it was Rachel's): The Boy 1.0 had just barfed up a lung. He'd been sick the night before, but yakked right before the ritual started. Thankfully, my sister-in-law had extra clothes on hand.

Dad29 said...

Shopping for children

Is THAT how the Prices got theirs?

We've used a different method. I was assured that it was more fun (and am now convinced that it is less expensive...)

A Simple Sinner said...

"-- Heather and I bonded over our shared hatred of "Catcher in the Rye." I denounced this paean to EMO teen self-indulgence, to contempt for adulthood as hypocrisy, this orgy of self-righteous whining about phonies, as the most vile novel ever written, at least for us in our current context. I said that given the choice between giving a 15-year-old a copy of that book or a subscription to Playboy ... "my money's going to Hef. Playboy merely encourages an existing vice that can hardly profit from encouragement in a teen boy; Salinger creates new vices in the guise of virtues." At those words (close as I can recall), a grateful smile came over Heather's face. "I thought I was the only one," she said, coming close to tears as she hugged a fellow comrade in Salinger-hate."

If I have read truer words (outside Sacred texts) than these recently I cannot recall them.

This cursed text was offered to us in sophomore English at my Jesuit High all-boy high school inducing some of my fellow well-to-do sons of the middle class whose (two) parents were shelling out serious money for them to be there into major hysterics over their self-identification with this tripe. The insipid phoniness of phoney-haters left me non-plussed. Even amidst the throws of teenage angst, I could not bring myself to such cynicism and pessimism shrouded in self-righteousness.

If Salinger has offered us any succor it has been his steadfast refusal to allow this to be made into a movie. Decrying Hollywood phoniness, he has paved the way for less pedantic Hollywood nonsense to capture the attention of the wayward 15 year old who is better off watching the Terminator trilogy!

I can't really say I object to the book being taught per se it is the commentary, critique, or lack thereof that leaves me non-plussed.

Sadly I have yet to meet an adult educated in America in the last 20 years not forced to read this garbage in high school. Sadder still, I have yet to meet an English Lit major from the last 20 years who has read Brideshead Revisited in college.

Oh the culture of total crap we invite on ourselves!

Adam Villani said...

Hey, I hadn't read your blog in a while... I remember when I was a senior in high school, I was in an interview for a college scholarship (for UC Berkeley), and I was feeling like the interview was going poorly. Then they asked me what my favorite book was, and I didn't have a ready answer, so I just said the most recently-read book that popped into my mind, and it was Catcher in the Rye. And at that point, I *knew* the interview was going poorly. Afterwards, I knew I'd made a lame choice and vowed to think of a better canned answer to the that question.

I mean, I don't think I hate it with the power of 10,000 suns like you do, but even at 17 I was, shall we say, aware of the book's limitations.