(Start with "Monday" if you can. Cram in all the laughs you can before the relatives arrive and tear your house apart. Also, there's a new page here at Laughing IS Conceivable. The "Non-Health Experts". Take a look and see what the hell it is. http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=1623 Aren't you the least bit curious? Oh) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. The things friends and loved ones subject us to during the holidays that make us consider wiping them off our "friends and family" phone plans. "Yes ma'am, I'd still like to have the phone plan, I just don't want to be associated with any friends or family at the moment. But I'm sure I'll replace them eventually."
This week in our: "When I Have Kids, I Won't Be So Lame"..especially around the holidays... theme:
Goal #1: "When I Have Kids, I Won't be Guilted and Suckered into Tipping Everybody During the Holidays"
You know, I don't think I'm cheap. (Of course, does anybody cheap ever think they're cheap? Unless it's one of those jerks who's actually proud of it.) And I've seen cheap. I'm not talking poor. I'm talkin' cheap.
Like the kind who goes to dinner with a group of friends. All eat meals of similar value. The check is split down the middle, tax and tip included, and yet somehow when the bill gets to the last person, there's not even enough money to cover the check itself. Hm, how do you suppose that happened? Could there possibly be a bastard among us who just shifted everyone's money from one hand to the other and handed off the check to the next person without actually contributing anything?
Or do you possibly have a friend whose bowel is tip intolerant? Every time the members of the party are figuring out whose turn it is to leave the gratuity, he or she gets a sudden attack, then runs into the toilet and slams the stall door shut until the whole ugly ordeal has been settled.
No, I'm talking about parents who give cash prizes or gifts to everyone even remotely in their child's life: The teacher, the teacher's assistant, the guy who comes in early to turn the heat on, the elderly lady who volunteers in the children's section of the public library, the ballet teacher, the tap teacher, the piano teacher, the gymnastics teacher, the soccer coach, the baseball coach.
Basically I believe there are two driving forces behind parents giving: 1) Bribery 2) Fear of Retalliation.
Sometimes it's no different without kids being a factor. My husband goes to the same woman to cut what's left of his hair every month. Last week he asked me: "How much am I supposed to tip this person? The whole haircut is six dollars."
But if he doesn't give her a big holiday tip, come January's appointment, she might shave F. U. into his scalp. (I knew someone who worked in a pizza place. When a guy gave him a hard time on the phone, he spelled that out in anchovies, then delivered it to him.)
I don't know about you, but I don't think that I'd want to be the type of parent who bribes people.
"Merry Christmas Mrs. Stevens! Just a little something for you for doing such a great job with the chorus. I know Elyse has a tin ear and can't couldn't carry a note if it had handles, but it really would be great if she was the star soloist in the next recital, if you think it's best of course. Well, happy holidays! Enjoy your $600 Saks Fifth Avenue gift card!"
"Happy Holidays Mr. Marcus. Bobby would really like to be the starting quarterback for the rest of the season. I know he hasn't been to a practice all season and the one time he tried to throw a pass he dislocated his shoulder, but he'd really like that. Okay, well you're the coach. It's your decision. Happy Lexus! I mean Christmas!"
I might be a parent who gives to avoid retaliation though:
Like maybe I like the teacher and one of the teacher's assistants but I don't care for the other teacher's assistant with the nasty streak. And maybe that nasty streak could have a little vindictive streak to it. And she's the one who distributes the snacks and will continue to do so in the new year. So to avoid my child getting no cookie, the broken cookie that nobody wants or the cookie that fell into the toilet just before snack time, I just as soon spring for an extra Scooby Doo Chia Pet.
Why don't we make a pact among us: In the spirit of the holidays--miracles, hope, faith--every year we'll tell all of those people who touch our present and future children's lives: "Happy Holidays. In the spirit of the season I've said a prayer for you." Just let's not be shocked if the response is: "Thank You" to our faces and "What is she kidding? Where the hell's my chocolate?" behind our backs.
Listen, I gotta go. The post office closes at 5 on Friday. I'd better get in line.