I was talking to my…person-whose-complicated-relationship-to-me-doesn't-have-a-clear-name, let's just say she's my sister-in-law. Anyway, she has spent a lot of time lately with my heavy-reading nephews, and in this season of gifting etc she asked them what they wanted. They expressed the sentiment that what they wanted was toys. And please, not a book?
Before we get carried away with our feelings on this particular point, let me just say that I knew what they were talking about. I mean, do you remember how cools toys are? Toys are great! They are fun, and the fun comes all at once—it's immediate. I identified with what the boys said, is what I'm saying.
But. Of course there is a but. As in, but I was thinking: A toy is sort of like the popular kid—infinitely appealing in ways both nameable and indescribable, but bound to disappoint you in the end. But a book? A book is like that nerdy kid, who doesn't seem so great at first but reveals, over time, unexpected depths of affection, humor and mischief, providing more true pleasure than a dozen Barbies (or popular kids, or this is where the two strands of the metaphor merge and dissolve).
That's what I was thinking. And the truth is, of course I will end up buying my nephews toys, because I have just the right things in mind (I hope). And because I want to respect their wishes (that's pandering, right?). And I know they have, and will continue to have, a million books in their lives.
But me? I could really use a great book right now. And I like to think (though no doubt I am wrong) this is partly because I have come to appreciate what actually makes me happy as opposed to what only promises to.
Doesn't that sound edifying? It's maybe less so when you see the actual books I am coveting.
But no matter, enjoy whatever you have, everybody, be it books or toys or family or good food or all those good things. Have a good holiday!