Thursday, May 10, 2012

May 10: Joe Miller, Gifts, Books

"I'll send it to Bob Cratchit's!" whispered Scrooge, rubbing his hands, and splitting with a laugh.  "He shan't know who sends it.  It's twice the size of Tiny Tim.  Joe Miller never made such a joke as sending it to Bob's will be!"

Scrooge has obviously had his change of heart in this little passage.  He's about to pay for a turkey to be delivered to his clerk's house, and, of course, the joke is that he's not going to tell Bob who sent the bird.  Joe Miller was a popular 18th century comedic actor; after Miller's death, a posthumous book, titled Joe Miller's Jests, was published.  Miller's name became synonymous with witty exchanges and practical jokes.  Thus, Scrooge's allusion to Miller.

The reason I chose this Carol passage is that I forgot to send my nephew/godson a birthday present earlier this week.  He turned nineteen on May 7.  I realized my faux pas yesterday and quickly remedied the situation.  I hopped on and ordered him a copy of one of my favorite books, Yann Martel's Life of Pi.  I'm not sure if my godson is going to like this gift, and, frankly, I don't care.

Several years ago, I got tired of the tsunami of toys and electronic gadgets my nephews and nieces kept requesting for Christmas and birthdays.  I vowed that I would never contribute to the profits of Mattel or Hasbro or Nintendo on behalf of my sister's children again.  Instead, I would fund book publishers.  For almost five years now, I have bought nothing but books as presents.  I have heard few complaints.  For the most part, my sister's kids are voracious readers.

It's not like I don't put thought into the books I choose.  I try to cater to each child's tastes.  One child likes dragons.  Another child likes bugs and frogs.  My niece is into supernatural romance crap thanks to Stephenie Meyer.  My godson has reached adulthood.  He's in his first year of college.  Therefore, he's getting books that I think he should read.  Books I love.  Hence, Life of Pi.

I know that most of my gifts are not greeted with the same kind of enthusiasm as a prize turkey at the Cratchit household.  I'm OK with that.  No practical jokes here.  Take that Joe Miller.

Saint Marty's doing his part in support of literature and literacy.

Happy birthday to my godson!

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