Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas 2011

Back in 1935, an Austrian physicist named Schrödinger devised a way to explain quantum physics and impress chicks by placing a cat inside a sealed box with a vial of poisonous gas that could break at any moment and kill the unwitting feline. The crux of this exercise was this: until one opened the box to see if Mr. Finickypants was still upright, the cat could be considered both alive and dead. (Who says physicists are boring?) This annual report from the Greene family may be considered a bit of a modern-day Schrödinger’s Cat conundrum: until you read it, you won’t know if it will please you or cause a psychotic episode. On with the fun!

Sam is now in sixth grade, and he’s quite the reader. While he has yet to tackle the likes of War and Peace or Catcher in the Rye (and who can blame him – I’ve never cracked open the former, and I’m STILL waiting for Salinger to finish the latter and make his point), he’s become a sort of “point man” on his Battle of the Books team. At one of his “battles” back in March, each time they were asked a question, the other two members of his team would immediately look to him expecting him to know the answer – kind of the same way the dumb jocks expect the Asian kid to be good at math. Nevertheless, he didn’t let them down. He also made the “Million Word Club” at school. (I’m not going to push the issue, but are they REALLY sure he actually read EVERY word in EVERY book? I know I skim – much like you’re doing right now with this Christmas letter.) Also, another year has passed in which Sam has tenaciously limited his exposure to trying new foods – deep down, I believe he’s proud of such an achievement. Whenever we go to a dinner at a relative’s home, Sam immediately disappears into another part of the house or out into the backyard in the hopes that he won’t be forced to eat something really disgusting like roast beef or mashed potatoes or ham – I’m waiting for him to learn about the Geneva Convention and/or Amnesty International and having him trot out the threat that he’s going to report us for cruel and unusual punishment. As his friend, Buddy the Elf, sticks with the four food groups of Candy, Candy Corn, Candy Canes, and Syrup, Sam’s dietary daring doesn’t go too much farther afield from that. We’re thinking about hypnotizing him and pumping him full of proteins and fiber on a weekly basis.

As the year began, we found ourselves packed into a smallish auditorium with a lot of screaming, grunting, and Spandex. No, I’m not talking about a reunion concert for an ‘80s hair band – it was a junior high school wrestling match, and Jack was in the thick of it. Just before his first match, Jack came home from school and immediately disappeared into the bathroom. If his school’s cafeteria served similar offerings to those I remember from my youth, and the bathrooms at his school resembled the ones from mine, it made perfect sense that he had a heightened sense of urgency to get into the bathroom. A few moments later, he walked up to me as I was standing in the kitchen, and he was wearing a singlet (if you don’t know what a singlet is, I’m not sure if you’d be more glad that I satisfied your curiosity by describing one or that I sufficed by saying, it’s something that’s tight in all the wrong places). Beaming with pride, Jack said to me, “Dad, take a picture of me.” Quelling a fit of laughter that was fighting to bubble up and explode from mouth, I looked at Jack and said, “You’ll thank me when you’re older if I don’t.” (And all of you will thank us that we didn’t make that our family holiday photo!) This summer, Jack started high school – and I believe most of his teachers are young enough that they probably still get carded at bars. At “Back to School” night, I swear I saw two of his teachers get dropped off by their parents. Jack has also become quite the entrepreneur by hiring himself out as a dog sitter for a number of people in our neighborhood. If you ever see a Labrador running down the street while wearing a singlet, Jack’s probably not too far behind.

When I’m not busy saving the world by texting a daily trivia question, I like going to the gym and asking the guys who are all ‘roided out and about to bench 950 lbs. if they need me to spot them. When she’s not busy finding ways to keep a delinquent Elf occupied, Erin enjoys making scale models of celebrities out of tofu and selling them on eBay. Drop us a line or come and stay with us – we would love to hear from and see you. Just leave the cat at home – it’ll be safer for him. Happy holidays!