Best. Christmas Present. Ever.

There I am, sitting on our blue shag rug by the S-shaped chair in my powder-blue Battle Star Galactica pajamas, stoked as all hell at my Christmas present.

I love this picture.

I love it because it shows my unhindered excitement, which I carry in my body today. It’s constantly trying to come out, and I’d have it no other way.

I love it because it shows my parents knew what I liked and supported me, no matter what.

I love it because… if you look closely, you’ll see what I’m holding and what I’m so juiced up about:

Smurf Shrinky Dinks.

Just have mom or dad put them in the oven and watch them shrink!

It was the 80’s. I was deep into my Smurfs phase. I drew them, had several of those little rubber figurines, watched the cartoon every day, booed Gargamel when he showed his face, and, like the Smurfs themselves, used “Smurf” as a part of speech. “Wow! That’s the Smurfiest!”

I’m proud of this picture because it shows something about me that I treasure:

I like what I like.

In elementary school, sometime after I’d outgrown my Battle Star Galactica pajamas, I wore my mom’s clip-on earrings to school. Not because I wanted to make a statement but because I liked the way they looked.

Same reason I wore parachute pants and, later, MC hammer pants and patten leather shoes, purple suits, and a polka-dot headband fashioned out of a cumberbund.

Belinda Carlisle’s Heaven is a Place on Earth was the first single I bought. (Oooh, baby, do you know what that’s worth?) Erik B & Rakim’s Microphone Fiend was the second. I’m pretty sure they never did a duet together.

I wasn’t much into hooking up. I was more into falling in love.

A girl asked me if I was gay after I refused to go to second base with her friend, and I could tell by the way she asked me that other people wondered the same thing.

Let ’em wonder.

I never understood conformity; it seems to go against nature. Do we all really want to wear the same shoes? I mean, like, really?

As I got older, I began to converge around the truth that we all eventually believe: not being cool is really the only way to be cool.

When I look at that picture of me, languishing in joy at the sheer thought of playing with my new Smurf Shrinky Dinks on Christmas Day, I gotta say, I was ahead of my time.

I can only hope my kids are half as excited as I was.

Up late, carrying presents down from my office, arms full of tomorrow’s excitement, I’m pretty sure they will be.

Merry Christmas, y’all!
(if you’re doing that sort of thing today)

Enjoy the excitement.