Thursday, January 2, 2014
"I don't want anything ... REALLY ..."
I tried to tell this to my family: I don't want anything for Christmas. Or, for that matter, for my birthday, Father's Day, or any of those others days that exist to light a fire (guilt's the fuel) under the economy and to force us to think less ill of our relatives. (Or more ill, depending on the gift!)
Things were not always thus, of course. When I was a lad--and later--I wanted everything. As a kid, I believed that cap guns were a sure thing. Sports equipment. Money. (I often got things I hated--underwear, a sweater, a handkerchief (!), and, from my grandmother--always--a pack of thank-you notes, which my mom always encouraged--no, forced--me to employ asap.)
Later, trying to live on a beginning teacher's salary (not much in the mid-1960s), I also wanted everything--especially money. But clothing suddenly became much cooler to get on birthday/Christmas/whatever. Books started becoming a winner, too--and remained so for decades.
But as I've gotten older (and as I've had to deal with a relentless illness), I've realized that I don't want anything. Well, I want something, but it's not something that you can give me. Three guesses what it is.
Every single thing that comes into the house now has to find a quick exit. Goodwill, return-for-credit, Mr. Trashman, re-gifting. We are trying to give away/sell/throw away things we don't absolutely need--or love. Or will have value--sentimental or monetary--for the next generation(s) of Dyers. I mean, objects are nothing to me now but weight; rather than thrill me they depress me. I look at a gift now and think/say: What am I going to do with this?
My family--bless them, bless them all--are deaf, however. They gave me piles of things at Christmas (from clothing to objets d'art to gift cards)--and ever since I've been a Busy Little Beaver ridding myself of them. Donating some things to charity, giving things to the English Departments at Hiram College and Western Reserve Academy, returning things to shops, etc. I'm not trying to be rude--or ungrateful (I mean, really, it's flattering that someone would see something and think I would like it, right?)--but I just can't have a single other thing in my life right now.
I've reached the time, I fear, when a gift is an unwelcome burden, a burden I have less and less energy to cope with.