Merry G*ddamn Christmas

I blame the damn fingerling monkey, this hot new toy of 2017, on all my family problems this holiday season. 

He’s pretty cute, you have to admit. I mean, just watch like ten seconds of this:  

I have never subscribed to any kind of trendy toy mania, including the Cabbage Patch Kid debacle of 1981. Just watch ten seconds of this insanity — remember? 

But these fingerlings. They got to me. They’re cute. They’re interactive. They’re also not that expensive, considering that I also bought my twin five-year-olds Hatchimals this year. Here’s a Hatchimal video, by the way. I think it’s a hilarious idea. 

To buy Hatchimals, though, I had to bring my loan officer and a representative from my local credit union to assist in the purchase. In case you skipped the boring instructional video, a Hatchimal, like the fingerling, is an interactive stuffed animal that emerges from an egg and develops from infant to toddler. I bought my girls this thing because, frankly, I wanted one myself. 

 

I mean, it’s a stuffed animal! That comes out of an egg! And learns to talk! It’s like the 1997 Tamagotchi grew up, grew fur, and took steroids.  

When I phoned Toys R Us for the Fingerling, the teenager on the other end of the line said, “We’re getting a shipment on Sunday. Come at eight a.m. to be sure you get one.” Then, almost as an afterthought, she added, “Oh, and just one per customer.” 

She was not concerned that I have twins. What if I were a single parent with twins? How would I purchase the second Fingerling? 

Maybe I could just buy one for one twin? But which twin? That would be like the Sophie’s Choice of toy buying.  

This holiday season, these are the times that try men’s souls. Or in my case, the season that tries the tired, depressed, strung-out soul of an ex-breastfeeding, squirrel-hating homosexual who wants her children to have a spellbinding holiday season. 

My spouse and I drove to the parking lot. I dashed in first. “Gimme the pink one,” I said, fighting my way to the front of the line. By the way, there was only one other person in line, a tired looking security guard who must have also made the call. I made sure to cut in front of him. He sighed and let me pass. 

I got the pink one. Then I said, “One more, please.” 

“One per customer,” replied the teenager in diapers. I resisted the urge to give her the fingerling, as it were. 

“My spouse is in the car with the kids,” I said. “Trust me. I can Facetime her to prove it.” 

The security guard nodded in my support. Please, let her just get the second one, he seemed to be saying. There were forty monkeys on the counter behind the register. From behind their little plastic windows, they all seemed to be chanting in helium-filled voices, “Buy me next! Buy me! Buy me!” 

Unbelievably, the girl wouldn’t relent, so I had to get Lynn. This was when all hell really broke loose and the story becomes a cautionary tale. Yeah, we took all three kids into Toys R Us. 

I thought it would be all right. I thought: Surely they are old enough. They can handle walking around a colorful store that looks like what was left after someone detonated a bomb strapped to Willy Wonka. But my angels were horrendous, and here’s the video to prove it. Oh, and by the way, the video is password protected because while I give you myself for free, family doesn’t come without a price. Subscribe to my list and you get to see the family dirt. The subscriber box is in red at the top of this post, to the right. If you’re already a subcriber, send me a personal email. (You can email me here.) 

 

Look at poor Lucy’s face. She is completely strung out like she just came out of Betty Ford. And my son! Such bitterness and hostility. The video ends with the face of pure nine-year-old hostility. 

This isn’t what Christmas is supposed to be about, right? Take your children into a corporate nightmare such as Toys R Us and you sort of get what you deserve. Are kids naturally greedy? Have we groomed them to be avaricious little beasts? Do children even carry a propensity for intrinsic goodness? I think it’s the latter. But empathy and goodness are not born in places like Toys R Us, which is what the corporate monolith is counting on. The corporate monolith relies on your spinelessness, your obsession with providing a spellbinding childhood, and the lure of the one-day 25% off credit card (yes, I availed myself). 

I was pretty depressed the rest of the morning. But then, at home, I gave them all little canvasses and acrylic paint. Make some art for Grandma and Grandpa, I said. So they did. They were happy and tranquil and thoughtful, more their true and natural selves. They were thinking about giving rather than receiving. 

Isn’t that what the holiday season is meant to be about, really? Giving?

Well, sure. As long as I got my g*ddamn monkey.   

Want to hear how I vastly reduced the Christmas/Hanukah gift presents this year? I’m giving fewer presents, that’s how. 

Something to say?