You all know that I’m pretty awesome. But in what ways am I so awesome? Well, I beat the expert level on Minesweeper TWICE yesterday at work. I ate Skittles for breakfast for two consecutive days. I once jumped high enough to touch the rim on a professional height basketball hoop. I have an iPod. My mom has a tattoo that reads “Son”. These are just a few of the facets of my awesominity. Not to mention my humility and willingness to help others who aren’t quite as awesome to achieve optimal awesome-pacity. Isn’t “willing” kind of a funny sounding word?
Anyway, you know by now that this is actually going somewhere: I am exceptionally awesome at guessing my Christmas presents. I think it all started when I was a young boy with dreams of becoming a ninja spy. I justified peeking on my presents (which my parents so obviously hid on the far side of their bed) by telling myself that it was time to find out if Santa was real or not. I decided to go look at all of my presents so that on Christmas morning if I saw the same gifts marked “from Santa” I would know. It was such a rush; I was hooked from then on. Some people say that it takes all the joy out of Christmas morning to know what you’re getting. I disagree.
When I succeed in finding out what my presents are, I am either happy or disappointed. In being disappointed, I have time to work on my “happy surprised” face, or drop subtle hints to the giver that I don’t want this item. If I’m happy with my discovery, then I still have that overwhelming, kid-like anticipatory joy, in the form of: “x number of days until I get to play with my new y!” See, that is still enough motivation for me to experience the mind melding, fanatical stupor that occurs while enthusiastically waiting for Christmas day to arrive.
Now I see this as a sort of game, and I compare it to the way my family plays Clue: No rules. Get information in any way possible. Cheat, make deals, form alliances, cause distractions, whatever. We’re talking about murder here, just figure out who did it! My wife figured out quickly that I discover my presents early on. The problem was that she was telling me they were somewhere in the house. As soon as I know they are in the house, my Pavlovian instincts take over; it’s game on and I will find them. She has discovered that if she simply doesn’t tell me that she bought presents, she can hide them in even the most obvious spot and I would never know. But this year, I knew she was going to do all of her shopping on Black Friday. She wrapped the presents as soon as she got home, before I even woke up. Well played.
But I’m still awesome.
We celebrated our Christmas day last Saturday since we will be traveling on Christmas. Using my remarkable groping skills, I deciphered what my presents were. Mostly. One present was the size and shape of a DVD, but I knew that it wasn’t a DVD. DVD’s and video games have a unique bulk to them. I knew it was a game because the case was a bit flimsier. But, there is only one game on the Wii (the console I already have) that I want, and three games wrapped up. Well, there was another box about the size of the Xbox 360 boxes that I have looked at so many times at the store and it had about the same weight. So, that means that it is, in fact an Xbox, and those are Xbox games. One of the DVD’s was actually a DVD though. I could tell because it was less flimsy, more bulky. See, so now I basically knew what I was getting, but I didn’t know what games and movies they were, so there was some anticipation building up.
At one time I even told her that I knew what my presents were. She told me to guess, but I didn’t want to because I was so sure of myself and I didn’t want her to be discouraged like she usually is when I discover my presents. She persisted, and I finally guessed that I was getting a video game. She said “no” but I knew she was lying. I’m a present-guessing ninja spy veteran, and the wars I’ve fought and conquered were not easy. I didn’t guess any more though, because I imagined what it would have been like if I said, “Yes, it is a video game. It’s an Xbox game for my new Xbox, which is this present right here.” Instead, I said those words on Christmas day before opening the game. She said, “You knew it was an Xbox!?” And I told her it was only a guess, but yeah, I pretty much knew. Also, I’ll admit that deep down inside of me, I don’t want to be told up front. Part of the fun is seeing if my detective work has produced the correct verdict.
And I had a hard time falling asleep the night before because I was so excited to play with my new Xbox. Who says that knowing your gifts beforehand takes all the fun out of Christmas? For me, knowing (or at least having an idea) what I’m getting makes the wait much more insufferable, whereas having no idea what’s in a wrapped up box makes me slightly uninterested.