I know, I know. It’s like heresy to say that anything is better than books, right? It hurts me to admit it, too. But there is–at least for me–something so much better than books.
Today, I spent Christmas with my family. My mom and dad, one of my uncles, my brothers and their significant others (one’s married and one’s engaged), and my wife. It was just so nice. Everything was chill. Everything was beautiful. It was one of those rare holidays that you absolutely could not write a sitcom about. (There have been several holidays in my family that would inspire scripts upon scripts for a sitcom writer.)
We ate delicious food. We laughed a lot. We ate some more. We opened presents. Something I love about my family and the way we’ve morphed over the past few years is that we no longer make Christmas a big show. We’ve taken some of the materialism out of it and our gifts are few and thoughtful. My family used to have a history of extravagance, sometimes to the point of thoughtlessness, in our gift-giving. But I really enjoy this subdued thing we do now. And bonus points when we exchange something handmade.
Whenever I’ve had too much of people (which inevitably happens) I go outside and play with the animals. Because of course I do. Because of course I get overstimulated by the amount of noise and craziness that happens. We’re all readers here. We all get it.
Today, my mom gave me a hand-sewn gym bag. She gave me old records of some Broadway musicals that I love and Beethoven symphonies. She gave me 100-year-old books. They were all beautiful. They were all thoughtful. They all suited me.
And then, when I was overwhelmed, I came out and played with my pony.
This is Daisy. She’s the most beautiful horse who’s ever lived. It’s fact. It’s in writing, Right here on the internet. So it must be true. Daisy? Daisy is that thing that’s so much better than books. We’ve spent twelve years together and she is absolutely the best companion a boy could ask for. She’s the best.
That’s not to say that she’s sweet. Daisy is not sweet. She has an attitude. She hates my wife. She hates bad music. Once I played a toy recorder for her and she used her teeth to yank it out of my mouth and then stomped it into pieces. Daisy’s not sweet. But she’s loving and she’s hopelessly devoted to me. And really, what more could you want?
And it’s not just Daisy. Basically all horses are better than books. Basically all animals are better than books. They’re all sweet. They’re all cute. (Okay, I even love spiders and think they’re beautiful. I know I’m in a minority here.) They all make life easier to navigate.
So tonight, as you finish your Christmases, I hope you have a dog or cat or pony to curl up with and pet as you read a book. I hope you have a special animal in your life. I hope you have a special book in your life. I hope that you’ve had a beautiful Christmas and that you have the chance to recover from your holiday overstimulation.
The Plucky Reader