Saturday, July 9, 2011

From the Vault: Christmas Cash

Please allow me to share a moment from my childhood.

This particular Christmas Eve begins like the others. As I tear into that square box that so obviously means clothes, I imagine one of the countless things on this year’s Christmas list (it was a good one). Pajamas again? Santa must have forgotten that he gave me some the last 4 years. Maybe next year. In the wake of disappointment, my sweet mother allows us to open the cards we had received from our beloved Grandparents in Washington. Cards are boring. I want a real present. One that requires batteries. Begrudgingly, I open the card. What’s that? There’s money in here. NO WAY! Fifty bones. I have never seen this much money in my life! I am rich and I know exactly what I am going to buy: Micro Machines van that folds out into an entire city ready for the exploring with my miniature cars.

I spend the following months developing a routine for my tiny cars and bragging to my friends: my grandparents gave me $50 for Christmas. What did yours give you? Each time, my story changes. My grandparents no longer surprised us with $50 each, but they give us $50 dollars every Christmas. That is how it has been this year and that is how it will be until one of us dies. I begin to plan for next year’s winnings. I have my eye on the Turtle Copter to go with my Ninja Turtle van. Maybe the underground lair. Either way, my turtles are about to see a lot more play time.

The decorations are up and my stomach is constantly full of cookies. It’s almost here. I begin to wonder if my mom will let us open our $50 on Christmas Eve again or if we’ll have to wait. I’m in luck. My Canadian cousins are here and we’ll probably open our money together. I sit in a circle with my cousins. We destroy the wrapping paper so fast that within seconds we are all showing off our new pajamas. Normally, I would start to wonder if this is a pattern, but I am lost in excitement over my money. The moment has arrived. I can’t wait to feel that crisp bill in my hands; to smell the sweet aroma of instant undeserving wealth. This time there is a present with my card. You shouldn’t have Grandma! I tear open the envelope but something is wrong. There is only $5. Where’s the rest of my money? It must be hidden in the present. The wrapping paper dissolves under my skilled hands to reveal a disgusting sweater completely absent of any currency. As tears begin to form in my eyes, I look straight into the camera that is immortalizing this moment and yell “WHERE’S MY FIFTY DOLLARS?”

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Somebody call a doctor

Lately, there’s been something wrong. Though I’ve been incredibly happy, I have been feeling off in some way. It is difficult to explain; please allow me to paint you a picture using a few examples from this weekend.

  • Friday, I went on a grueling 5 hour hike. Living up to the standard set for myself, I spent 4.5 of those hours deciding what I would eat when I got home. Exercise merits a culinary reward. 5 hours of exercise merits a complete gluttonous meltdown. Fudruckers soon became the obvious option for just such an occasion. On the way to Fudruckers, I was seriously considering the pound challenge (a $20 feast including a pound hamburger, large chili cheese fry, fountain drink, and ice cream sundae) which would leave me satisfied with a free T-shirt. These thoughts soon dwindled to only the pound hamburger which quickly became 2/3 of a pound. By the time I ordered, I found myself muttering the words “half pound” and I didn’t even eat all my fries. What’s happening to me?
  • Saturday, I got a to-go box at the world famous Red Iguana in Salt Lake. Let me repeat that: a TO-GO box. That indicates there were leftovers... enough leftovers to take home. What the what?
  • Monday. Independence day. A day of celebration and patriotism. A day of eating. A day of shock and disappointment. I was generously invited to a delicious barbecue with some close friends. Of course, I loaded my plate with both a hamburger and a hot dog to save myself the trouble of going back for seconds, which was inevitable. I don’t need to appear healthier by eating small portions multiple times. I am who I am and that is a one plate man… a one large plate man. I couldn’t finish my hot dog. I’m sorry uncle Sam.
  • Yesterday, I went to the grocery store hungry. When I go to the grocery store full, I spend around $50. Hungry? Call the bank, I need a loan. As I perused every last aisle of that safe haven from the storms of life, I noticed my cart inexplicably empty. I left the store with a bill of $12. Twelve. Dollars. Granted, I was pounding an ice cream cone as I shopped, but still.

Leftover food. Empty shopping carts. These have to be symptoms of some sort of disease.