Now that some stores are starting to open on Thanksgiving Day, my BFF Stacy and I don’t have to waste time listening to my boring Uncle Bob go on and on about his quadruple bypass or hear about her Aunt Sally’s double knee replacement. After about 15 minutes of listening to Uncle Bob, you’ll know what it feels like to have a near-death experience, too. We girls can hardly wait to get out of the house and go shopping.
That makes it sound like I’m not very close to my family, but I am. I text them all the time, and I am Facebook friends with a lot of them. If that isn’t close, I don’t know what is. But at last year’s dinner, they made me turn off my phone. It was like spending an hour and a half in solitary confinement. I’ll never do that again. I mean, like, where’s the love?
Stacy’s mom made her turn off her phone, too. She said, “You girls can talk after dinner.” As soon as Stacy got back to the real world, she texted me that “if I ever want to have an old-timey meal with a bunch of old people I don’t care about, I’ll just go to a Cracker Barrel.”
Stacy’s a lot of fun. We watch “Jersey Shore” and “16 and Pregnant” together all the time. She says it’s not a good idea to eat a big meal before we go shopping, because it will just slow us down. Since we’re not going to eat anything on the table at Thanksgiving anyway, I don’t know why they make us sit there. All they talk about while they’re eating is that they’re afraid they’ll gain weight during the holidays because of all the big meals. Excuse me, but look around. Is there any day of the year when they don’t overeat? My mother thinks I have an eating disorder because I’m not overweight. She’s the one with the eating disorder. She has bulimic amnesia. She binges, but she forgets to purge.
I don’t even think they should call it Thanksgiving anymore. They should call it the Day Before Black Friday, because that’s the real holiday. The stores are all decorated, and fake snow is sprayed on the window corners. There are miles of plastic pine bunting, colorful lights, big displays and Christmas carols over the loudspeakers to get everyone into the true Christmas spirit — which is to buy things for people who are buying things for us.
Of course, the fun part is buying things for people that they would never buy for themselves. Like a thing that turns regular tap water into soda water. Who wouldn’t want one of those? Or sweaters that don’t fit.
My mother says I have it all backward. She keeps texting me, “What Would Jesus Buy?” Of course, he could buy any old sweater, and if it didn’t fit, he could make it fit. But when I really thought about it, the answer came to me in a flash. “Sandals!”
“You’re missing the point,” she said. “He wouldn’t buy anything.” Oh, right. Like Jesus wouldn’t like a nice pair of sandals. Who wouldn’t? Of course, if I gave him sandals, he’d have to give me something. I wonder what?
So I texted her back, “What would Kim Kardashian buy?” The answer is “everything.”
The weird thing is that it’s getting harder and harder to find presents that my friends don’t already have. When Stacy tells her parents she wants something, her dad picks it up for her on his way home from work. Want a bike? Here it is. Want an iPad? Here it is. It’s like, if every day is Christmas, what’s the point of having Christmas?
Where am I ever going to find something for Stacy that she doesn’t already have? Mom says I should knit her some socks or bake her some cookies. But then I would have to learn how to knit or bake.
Mom said, “Well, I can teach you. That could be my Christmas present to you.”
Oh, thanks, Mom. Don’t bother to wrap it. Some people just don’t have any Christmas spirit.
Jim Mullen’s newest book is called “Kill Me, Elmo: The Holiday Depression Fun Book.” You can reach him at JimMullenBooks.com.