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Notes From The Flip Side: 12.09.2001

This will likely be a short piece. It's 12.09.2001, a few weeks before the holidays. A few years ago, I started getting savagely depressed around this time of year. It was a largely self-pitying depression which resulted from various and sundry events which I've discussed at length in these pages (read the closers if you want to know more) and I won't go into it in any detail now. You see, about two years ago, I found my solution.

I realized that the only way for me to get through a depression which is that profound is through a giving which is equally profound. And so I began giving.

I began with the premise that the holidays are largely for children, and by children, I mean kids, not teenagers. And kids are the people who are most hurt and least likely to understand why Santa didn't come for them. So I started giving. I do it as anonymously as possible. I don't want spam mail from the organizations - I simply want to make sure that as many kids as possible have something waiting for them. The first year I did it, six kids got gifts. The next year was 10. Last year was 15. And this year, I'm going to try to take care of 20. And those numbers don't include the kids who I bought presents for on behalf of other people.

I'm writing about this because it seems as though I've received a fair amount of email lately from people that mentions what they hope to get for Christmas or Hannukah from their parents and relatives. And some people have also asked me what I'd like. And my response to both is the same - why don't you do something for the kids? I'm 29. I don't even really celebrate Christmas - no tree, no lights, nothing. I can get everything I need and there's nothing I really want. And most of the people I know have everything they need. And from where I sit, it seems a little selfish on our part to want to unwrap things we don't need when there are so many others who have so little. My Christmas and Hannukah gifts for the past few years have been fairly simple - I either donate money to St. Vincent de Paul (my favorite local charity) in my friends' names or I look for a Salvation Army gift tree and buy presents for children and ask the attendants to write a card to my friends, thanking them for what they did.

And to my admittedly twisted way of thinking, this makes sense. I don't know anyone who has a need for a digital camera, a new selection of CDs, a guitar or an MP3 player. However, I usually wind up donating a lot of new teddy bears for girls who need a friend and a bunch of trains for little boys who need to let their imagination run free.

I won't turn this update into moralistic scolding about charity, nor will I ever know what - if anything - you did as a response, but I would like to ask you to consider your situation. Consider what you have and what you honestly need. And I'd like to ask you - if your needs are met - to forego what you want so that someone else whose needs may be greater may be a little happier this holiday season. I'd like to ask each and every person who visits this page to give SOMETHING to Toys For Tots or some other charity, particularly in your local area. I won't know who you are or what you did but the children who benefit from your generosity will.

Happy holidays from the crew at Sick To Move and punkrockacademy.com. Stay safe and be well.

Site Updates

Kali contributed a new essay on entitlement. We welcome the talented and erudite Mr. David R. Stampone to the STM/PRA family with his contribution about The Fall. I archived my account of my vasectomy in the Essays section.

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Last modified on Wednesday, March 26, 2008