Hope you had a great Christmukah. We got to hear Emma, 11, play the flute and Brendan spell “Renaissance” on the first try. Timmy taught Charles to snowboard on the snowboarding equivalent of a mechanical bull. Laura could make a beloved city councilwoman — if she didn’t have to finish ninth grade and go to Dartmouth first. Mackie, 11, high fived me when he saw we have the same lanyard earphones for our Nanos . . . I can’t reach Darius to high five because, at 18, he’s six-ten (I remember when I was taller and he couldn’t swim) — but he, too, has those earphones (so I must be cooler than I thought). Chris had a hundred and two, but took it like the cheerful little guy that he is. Edward discoursed on Star Wars esoterica. And Melissa Marie, 18 months, bonked her head on my knee and didn’t so much as yelp, let alone cry. Who am I leaving out? Beth! At five, she was in China with her parents, going to pick up her baby sister, just as she had been adopted three years earlier.

Such are the blessings of marrying into a large Irish Catholic family. Spectacular nieces and nephews, and nary a finger for the uncles to lift. (Except — finger lifted politely — “could I have some more of those amazing yams?”)

We returned to find both Time Warner and RCN cable down somehow — even connecting directly to the modem, and on three different laptops — so I think what happened is that Santa’s sleigh got caught on the cables and just ripped them all out. Hence posting this via dial-up, which makes for disparate type faces . . . a “rerun” from Saturday (below) . . . but also this housekeeping announcement:

THOSE OF YOU WHO WERE GETTING FREE DAILY DELIVERY OF THIS COLUMN ARE STILL SUPPOSED TO GET IT FREE. THERE WAS A GOOF. IT’S BEING FIXED. ANYONE ELSE WHO WANTS IT DELIVERED FREE IS WELCOME TO IT, TOO — IT DRIVES UP THE AD RATES I CAN CHARGE — BUT WAIT A LITTLE WHILE UNTIL WE FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET IT WORKING AGAIN.

And now back to our regularly scheduled re-run, in case you missed it:

Cole Lannum: ‘Thank you for sharing Ben Stein’s thoughts last week. I think particularly at this time of year it is very important to keep perspective. Last month, I unexpectedly lost my job. This – after only being here for three months, moving my family 3,000 miles from the only home they had ever known, forcing them to leave their friends and schools, buying an outrageously expensive home at the peak of the largest housing bubble in the history of mankind in the most overpriced market in the country, and trusting people in the new company who assured me during my due diligence that they were ‘committed’ to keeping the California office open and would ‘certainly not send my family out here otherwise’ (a true quote!).

‘When I found out – only 82 days after closing on my outrageously overpriced house – that it was all going away, I was quite bitter. My lovely wife, however, helped me put things in perspective. This happened in late September when the implications of Katrina were still being felt. My wife said to me, ‘Our situation is unfortunate, but this is not a tragedy. A tragedy is living in New Orleans and losing your job (because they are ALL gone), AND watching your house float away . . . and losing loved ones in the process.’

‘It is easy to feel angry and think the world is unfair, but I applaud anyone who can channel those energies toward trying to improve their situation – instead of just going out and trying to find someone else to blame for it. I wish you a wonderful holiday season. I myself will be spending it with my lovely healthy family, enjoying my ‘temporary retirement,’ and feeling like the luckiest man in the world.’

☞ You may not be the luckiest man in the world (because where would that leave me?), but you – and your wife – have got to be two of the most gracious and best centered people in the world.

Here’s wishing you – and the rest of my exceptional readers – the healthiest and happiest of holidays . . . and a terrific New Year.

 

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