Friday, November 29, 2013


Tommy son Tommy,

Before I start this little rant, I have to admit my own hypocrisy.  I have braved the Black Friday mad rush before to snag that too good to be true deal and I bet you there will be a time in the future where I.try again.  Sometimes the allure of money supposedly saved is just too great.  How does that make me a hypocrite?  The same way it does for every other Black Friday victim.  One second you are complete and whole and thankful for everything you have, and the next second you need to score the retail crack such as fifty inch TV for three hundred bucks to fill that void in your life.

This year I have a special ire for the commercialism of the season.  I am to the point that I would love to find a corporate fat cat executive or some type of ad agent and slug him right in the mouth.  I probably should point out that violence never solves anything and I usually encourage you to break the Downey train of thought that a swift jab to face will make things better.  But it is how I feel and when my convictions don't necessarily match what I want to teach you, things become difficult.  But I digress. Your mother is limited in what she can do with her medical conditions.  She can't drive and gets tired easily if she does find someone to bring her out.  So often she is stuck watching TV or browsing the Internet and is a prime victim for the advertisers.  If she could get out and buy whatever she wanted, she wouldn't be half as tempted by all these ads.  Don't get me wrong, I understand that your mom loves making Christmas special and wants to find the perfect gifts at the best deals for everyone, but with her upcoming surgery, we do not have the luxury of skewed priorities.  Living this experience makes you realize how despicable Black Friday is and how our priorities can get so out of whack.

If no one in our family gets a gift, but your mom gets the surgery and gets better, then for sure we will feel that Christmas spirit and experience that Christmas miracle.  If we don't have the extra money to buy you that "G.I. Joe with the Kung fu grip" or whatever the hot toy of the season is, then so be it.  Any gifts should be focused on needs rather than wants and focus on utility rather than diversion.  Trust me we have enough stuff, a lesson I learned all too well trying to keep a clean house when your mom spent the majority of October in the hospital.  Perhaps I am just getting older, but I don't want more of anything except more hugs and more health and more you and more snuggle and more mommy and more love.

Another dad blogger was asking what fathers wanted for Christmas.  My answer...
I want to establish a tradition gift for Christmas that my son can get me year in and year out without ever stressing about what he should get me...ever.  Think like always buying your father a tie on Father's Day.  Something simple and cheap, like socks.  He can go with a bag of simple white tube socks if he is pressed or get creative with wild patterns and color if he needs to express himself.  The major point is I want him to say every year, "Dad's easy to buy for.  Where is the sock section?"

I never realized the gift your granddad gave me by making it simple.  Get him a flashlight or an umbrella  and he is all set.  He always said you could never have enough of either.  Growing up I always thought he just wanted to get to the point where you couldn't swing a fly swatter without hitting either.  Speaking of which, fly swatters sometimes made the list of acceptable gifts along with screwdrivers.  Now I realize that is basic simple wish list was a combination of his desire to make it simple on his son and his simple tastes and his desire for nothing but love.

So, when you find yourself caught up in the hype and commercialism of the holiday season, take a step back and realize there is no super savings on a bag of socks for your old man or a flashlight for your granddad.  The men in your life don't need much effort.  Save the extra effort for your mom and your grandmoms and remember, even if you are forty, you can still impress them with a craft made from a paper plate and a hug.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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