Personal: Did you ever just feel like a jerk?

Okay, first off, I have a confession to make.. Those few days I didn’t post anything – I was down South visiting my family. For Christmas.

Okay, my husband and I don’t celebrate Christmas (though I did buy a glitter poinsettia and put it on the coffee table in the living room, next to all our Christmas cards), but my family does.. and they still get us gifts, which, being the materialistic individuals we are – we don’t complain about!

My mom and dad always ask what we want, and we always suffer over our list throughout the year, trying to think of something we wouldn’t spend money on for ourselves. Our Christmas gifts are a time when frivolity and fun are allowed to enter the financial picture.

Eventually, my husband decided on either a leather jacket, or a pocket camera. I, on the other hand, had my heart set on an iPod Touch. One of the evil 64GB ones I could dump my whole media library on, as well as load up with a gajillion fun, albeit useless, applications.

Secure in my belief that a shiny box from Apple was going to be under the tree, I spend the two nights before Christmas Day browsing through the iTunes app store, looking for interesting little doo-hickeys that caught my eye. On Christmas Eve, I went to sleep excited and content.

Christmas morning, I woke up after literally about two hours of sleep. (I was at my dad’s house and have trouble falling asleep in different beds) My husband and I got dressed, brushed our teeth, wiped the gunk out of our eyes and waddled into the living room where people were distributing gifts.

First off, I got some little things, like some snowman mugs, a few cards full of cash (always a pleasure!), a tin of hot chocolate, a DVD player for the living room (our other one had broken), a bottle of Chanel No. 5 (sublime!).. But no iPod. I didn’t see Sadik get his leather jacket or camera either.

Eventually, my dad came over with a BIIIIIIIIG box. My husband and I looked curiously at each other. I asked him to open it, and he did, and what did we find?

Yes. A television. Not just any television, but a 32″, Samsung LCD. Now, I got happy (who wouldn’t be?), but inside, I was disappointed. I felt like an asshole.

You see – the Mr. and I had been in the market for a television. We have spent more than a year wistfully browsing the stores for the perfect television in our budget. We decided that we’d like to go for something at least 37″, but more in the range of 40″-46″ for our living room.

Now, I said ‘we’ earlier, but I should clarify. Mostly the television was my husband’s thing. Every time he was looking at televisions, I’d be wishing for a treadmill. You see, we already have two televisions, albeit – old, clunky, standard models around ten years old. Two televisions, in my opinion, were even one too many. I had only recently given in to the idea of having a tv in the bedroom. A pretty, big, modern looking tv sure would be nice looking in the living room, but that’s about as excited as I got regarding them.

Now, with this twinge of disappointment, I ended up feeling like a major asshole. Seriously.. A majorly stuck-up asshole. I mean, who was I to feel disappointed in something that was so nice? Something that most people would LOVE to get on Christmas morning instead of the usual ugly sweater or maybe a few DVD’s. Here I was getting a huge and beautiful gift, and feeling disappointed about it.

Later on, my brother explained why this had happened. Basically, my dad wanted to have something impressive under the Christmas tree. He didn’t just want to give my husband a little box with a camera, and me a little box with an iPod. He wanted to make an impression. Hence, the tv. I mean, in his mind, and my brother’s mind.. Who wouldn’t want a tv? (and yeah, of course, they’re guys!)

My brother said he picked up the nicest tv in the Christmas budget and got that one, so that we could return it and use the money to get whatever we wanted later on. The thing my little brother didn’t understand (little bro has always lived with my dad who used to be quite well off, and now little bro pulls in a six-figure salary himself).. Is that you can’t give a television to a couple.. and expect the male in the couple to exchange that television for a fun little doo-hickey for his wife. It just doesn’t happen.

On the way home the next day, I actually cried in the car because I felt like such a monster. I should be happy. I should be grateful. I decided to make my husband happy, that we would keep the television, return it and put the money towards an upgrade to a 42″ television package. As much as I really disliked the idea, I figured it would make my husband happy, and once we had it installed in the living room, it would make me feel better just by virtue of it looking so much nicer than our heavy looking 26″ standard tv.

Regarding my stupid and frivolous iPod Touch.. I told myself if I got rid of some of the stuff in the house and sold it (essentially cleaning up), that I could use the money to buy my silly little iPod. Thing is, even thinking about that, I feel bad about that. Like I should be being more practical.

I don’t know.. I still feel like a major ass.

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9 responses to “Personal: Did you ever just feel like a jerk?

  1. I remember when I was a kid hearing a story (I think it was in a Sunday school group – something like that). It was about a boy that lived with his mother and she worked as a janitor in some building (this was like turn of the century). He felt awful because all night long she had to literally scrub floors on her hands and knees to make a living for them both and every morning she came home bent over in pain. He knew that if she had a mop she wouldn’t have to be on her knees, but they were too poor even for her to buy one. Still, she worked and worked to provide for them both, and on pay days she would give him a special treat – a few pennies to go and buy candy or whatever he wanted.

    Instead, mindful of the agonies of her job, he saved the pennies for a whole year and on Christmas presented his mother a new mop and shiny bucket so she wouldn’t have to crawl on her knees or muddy her hands wringing out filthy rags all night. All he wanted to do was make her life much less miserable, but after he gave it to her she cried, and he started to feel bad about his gift.

    I really don’t remember the discussion after the story, but I think what I took from that was that, some times, a gift is more than something you need, or even want. It really is an affirmation, of a sorts, of ‘you’ – who you are, what you like and more importantly that you are an individual with desires and aspirations, no matter how small. So, maybe…yeah, it IS a very generous gift, and very thoughtful, and very useful, but… I think what you really wanted was something that had ‘you’ all over it, and not in tags, or something that was selfishly “just yours,” but just something that appealed to (and was meant for) just “you.” An affirmation of your individual desires, which is very different than being ‘selfish.’ Does that make sense?

    Anyway, don’t feel bad. The next ‘toy’ should be yours, and I’m sure your husband would agree.

    ** NOTE ** I edited this to take my name out. You didn’t know I was trying to be private, but there are some loonies out there who might harass me for my views, so I’m not using my real name on here. šŸ™‚ ~ ‘BadMuslim’

  2. Well, he’s always been very good about saying ‘you can return it and get your iPod’, but I really can’t justify returning something we could both enjoy (albeit 90/10, lol) for something that only I would enjoy.

    Instead, I’m trying to get rid of some stuff around the house, in the process getting rid of mess and making room, and then using that money to get my toy.

  3. For example, I have a mint condition Fender Strat and amp, and a sofa I’m trying to sell.. Along with a bunch of language tapes, some stiletto shoes and clothes I never wore, etc.

  4. I would have liked to have given the guitar to my brother, though.. So hopefully the sofa and the other stuff will sell and I’ll get to keep that one thing, lol.

  5. I’m guilty of the christmas “jerkdom” too! šŸ™‚ You confessed, so I guess I will as well!
    Due to the getting married/renovating/setting up house I created a list of very practical things I very much wanted. My very generous family gifted us with everything from clothespins to a power saw. I picked up one small box in my pile with no label and asked who it was from. It was from my fiance. I opened it and inside was shiny new IPhone. I’m afraid my face might of dropped. Now don’t get me wrong, its awesome. Its pretty, does a million things, he was taking care of the plan payments, and I really needed it, but…
    A couple weeks ago my cell phone started dying, and I remember actaully telling my my mom I had better order a new one really soon or my fiance would get me a really fancy one for christmas. I thought I made it clear to him that no fancy phone was desired…obviously not. Anyway, with all the holiday business, the new one didn’t get ordered until christmas eve. I dont think i even told him. So now I have two phones! I think the Iphone is going back, not because I don’t like it, but because of the expensive monthy fees and my desire to not become completely connected. Those darn apps are addicting!!! If I could get it on a plan with out being forced to pay for the G3 network and just use WI-FI, I think i would keep it but thats not possible.
    So anyway, after my initial reaction and then feeling really bad it, I gave him a big hug and said it was really awesome, but then explained why I wasnt sure it was something I wanted to keep.

    • Yeah, I felt terrible asking my dad and brother if I could return the stuff. They seemed like ‘whatever’, but I still felt like an ungrateful little brat.

      I feel the same way about the iPhone. I can’t really justify being connected all the time for an extra $30 a month and selling my soul for two years to AT&T. That’s why I like the idea of the iPod Touch. No connection fees or service plans or anything. All the good stuff and none of the bull.

      Speaking of cheap and practical phones.. My little Blackberry Pearl (which bizarrely enough never had the data plan) kind of croaked. Not in a mechanically broken sense, but more of a physically broken sense. The keys started to fall off and some got stuck (thanks to my shoddy repair attempts with a wee bit o’ nail glue). The case was looking kind of banged up, too. Anyway, instead of getting a new phone, I went on eBay and bought a new keypad register for it, and a new housing unit, for about a grand total of $22 bucks including shipping. As soon as it arrives, I’ll have a brand new (at least – looks-wise!) phone.

      While my phone was essentially out of use, I found a super deal in one of the Radio Shack circulars. They were the little T-Mobile ‘pay as you go’ phones for $15 (regularly $50). T-Mobile uses the SIM cards, so I thought we could just take out the SIM it comes with and put in our own SIMs. My husband and I both picked one up for a grand total of $30 for two phones. They aren’t especially ‘cool’ looking, but they work a charm and I can’t get over getting two phones minus the bull for $30 bucks. I really love a good deal, lol.

  6. Okay, won’t even ask what you’re doing with a Strat LOL! Did/do you play? Does your brother play? If not it might be put to better use being sold and put to work, otherwise, doing something for you. And if hubby understands, then I am certain he will have no problem agreeing to your purchase while he is suspended in 1080i HD bliss ; )

    PS – you might mention that NetFlix has Blu-ray rentals, now…

  7. We don’t have Blu-Ray, though..

    Hopefully someone will buy the couch for a few hundred this week, that would be great.

    Regarding the Strat, lol. I got it years ago and planned to take lessons, but then I moved to where I am now and that kind of got on the back-burner.

    My little brother is 10 and he’s learning to play the guitar. I always thought it would just be a nice ‘big sister gift’. But if I have to sell it, I have to.

  8. P.S. I don’t know WHY I got the Strat in the first place.. I’ve alwalys been more of a ‘Spanish guitar’, folksy acoustic kind of girl, lol.

    If I make some extra money over my iPod, I am planning on buying a baglama saz for my husband and I, though.

    Something like this:

    P.S. That is NOT my husband or anyone I know, lol.

    It’s also the stringed instrument in this song:

    My husband says Alevis are very famous for playing saz for whatever reason.

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