Perhaps you received too many Apple products. Perhaps you received an insufficient number of Apple products and risk being drummed out of the local chapter of your Apple product society. Perhaps the spirit of Steve Jobs’ recently impounded yacht will haunt your dreams tonight; that is a matter for your conscience.
Perhaps everyone you know bought you a candle. If you are a survivalist; all to the good. Pack them in your survivin’ shelter and wait for time to prove you right. If you are not a survivalist, find a way to make peace with the fact that no one really knows you; no one even bothered to pretend to know you.
Perhaps you received a new car with a bow on it but it wasn’t the right car and you still feel hollow inside. Perhaps you received an ostentatious piece of jewelry but it was Kay and you wanted Shane Company, or it was Shane Company when you really wanted Kay. Perhaps you are trapped under a pile of gift cards (not even gift cards to anyplace you like, you think to yourself, just generic Visa gift cards) and cannot move. Perhaps you received a commemorative holiday box of celebrity-based fragrances but not from the celebrity of your choice: some other, lesser celebrity who doesn’t smell as good.
Yes, whether you received bric-a-brac when you wanted tchotchkes, knickknacks when you wanted miscellanae, objets d’art when you wanted curios, novelties when you specifically requested trinkets, doodads when you wanted geegaws, it’s time to face the truth: no one got you what you wanted this year. The deepest desires of your heart went unnoticed. You hoped that perhaps someone cared enough to study your reactions, mine your conversation, ferret out that which you longed for but dared not name. No one did.
Now that your profoundest fears about the impossibility of knowing and being known have been confirmed, you have several options, as I see it.
Renunciation. Repudiate your attachment to all worldly goods; enshroud yourself in humility and ashes. Take to the mountain paths, plight your troth to the grave.
Purification. You may take these worthless tokens and cast them into the fire. As the smoke ascends, rise on the stepping-stones of your dead self to higher things.
Acceptance. Willingly bathe in the essence of the lesser celebrity. Light all of your candles at once. Bedeck your limbs with the geegaws and kitsch you have been given, not the geegaws and kitsch you thought you wanted. Acknowledge the limitations inherent in human communication and become better, gentler and more loving than you were before.
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]