Sunday, December 27, 2009


At 4:18 PM on Christmas Eve I was in my father's kitchen. I was baking cookies and listening to holiday classics. That was exactly when Josh decided to text.

What are you doing? he said.

Baking cookies, I said.

So, am I going to see you or what?

Right now? I asked. I'm baking cookies. Come over. I'll make you a drink!

I figured I'd make him a festive eggnog--made with a liberal dose of amaretto, of course--and he could sit in the kitchen and watch me pull the last few sheets of cookies out of the oven.

You should come over here, he said. No one's here.

Fine, I said. I'll be over after I get the cookies done.

When I got to Josh's forty minutes later, I found him scrubbing at his bleary eyes.

"I'm hung over pretty bad," he said. "I'm disgusting."

I'd heard from him the night before, shortly after he and his friend John had decided it was a good idea to do two things: eat all the steak they found in the freezer at Josh's apartment and then go sit in John's car and drink a whole bunch of liquor straight from the bottle. I'd gotten a picture of it.

Now, we went into the living room and sat on the couch and watched CNN and then a soccer game. After a team had finally, finally scored, Josh turned to me and said, "Want to know what I got everyone for Christmas?"

"You got everyone the same thing?" I said. Already it sounded like a pretty bad idea.

"Yes," he said. "Batteries."


"Yes. I bought a shitload of batteries. All kinds of batteries."

"You got everyone in your family batteries for Christmas?"

"Yes! Come on--that's awesome!"

"Oh my God," I said.

"Think about it," he insisted. "Everyone always needs batteries."

"So when your mother opens her present tomorrow, she's going to just have a pile of batteries sitting in her lap," I said.

"Yes," Josh said. He was so proud of himself. "Isn't it a great idea? It IS! Really!"

Honestly, it sounded like something my brother would do. He is notoriously odd about gift-giving, too, and has been known to wrap packs of gum and give them out as seriously as if they were boxes of jewelry. But if I told Josh that--if I'd compared his gift-giving technique to Adam's--I know he would've taken that as a good thing. It might have even made his day.

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