never did much for me. I wasn't raised religious,
and except for a three-week period back in 1984 or
so when my mom and I were traveling across the USA
and she insisted on going to church every Sunday;
didn't matter which one. And I had to go to Lutheran
camp one summer, but that's a very long and unpleasant
to get to the point, Christmas has never been about
the birth of the Baby Jesus, but rather about presents.
I had skillfully maintained a false front of belief
in Santa far longer than was expected, operating on
the (true) presumption that I would get more presents
presents were the thing; my family's never been wealthy,
but I've always scored a pretty good haul; and I developed
an incredibly complex system of ascertaining the contents
of my packages, as well as "Santa's" hiding places
throughout my house. One year, I got a computer game
that I had wanted for some time and by the 17th of
December I had it out of the box, the shink-wrap off,
and was playing it at school. And back in, shrink-wrap
sealed with an iron, and opened under the tree on
Christmas Eve. I was a pro.
my freshman year in high school, I came to the point
at which it was now appropriate for me to use my own
money to buy presents for my family (this was before
I had come upon the foolproof scam of being an "artist"
and making gifts for people.)
had been saving up for a video-game system, the top-of-the-line
sort of thing (that would become obsolete and go out
of production in 2 years) and hence, my innate greedy
nature made me fervently penny-pinching around Xmas
time, this year.My savings acount, initially intended
to serve as a place to put the profits from my paper
route, had been surreptitiously depleted by frantic
withdrawls, in an attempt to convince people at my
new high school that I had a rich family. (don'task...)
Christmas came around; I got my mom to give me the
$120 that had accrued from my Grandma's sending me
$10 a week, which I entrusted to my mom. The video-game
was $150. I had to buy presents for both sets of grandparents,
mom, dad, cousins, brother and sister...it was obvious
that I wasn't gonna make it without some kind of chicanery.
Holiday video-game sales would end soon, and there
was no way I was saving my pittances for any longer.
had actually been saving for about six days, but hell.
So I resorted to a number of familiar techniques to
get presents for my family - shoplifting provided
some nice gifts for my Grandma, midnight sales, and
other low-rent scams filled out the shopping list.
I still spent money, though; I only had $6 left! All
my cash was gone. I needed to get more money fast.
I had exhausted my alternatives when my mother gave
me $20 to get my hair cut. $20.
My pubescent brain percolated madly. I could buy more
presents and still have some money for myself with
this $20. So I did the only logical thing and cut
my own hair.
bought a present for my cousin Matthew, and while
my mom was at work on the 23rd of December, I sat
down in the bathroom with a pair of scissors and began
cutting off my hair.
mother believed that Supercuts had done it, and she
was fuming mad, ready to go kick the ass of the person
who had cut my hair and demand the money back. I demurred,
claiming it wasn't really that bad, it was my fault
for "not describing the way I wanted it cut," doing
everything in my power to preventmy mom from finding
out that I hadn't been to Supercuts at al lbut had
butchered my locks myself. It looked a lot like mange.Eventually
I broke down and confessed the scam to my mom, she
took some scissors to it to try to even it up, and
I kept well out of family pictures that Christmas.