Some of us are like TV characters

By Kevin Wilson

My birthday is a little less than two months away. I’m just letting you know now, because I’ve never been an easy person to shop for.

If you don’t believe me, I invite you to come along to my family Christmas vacations, which I’ll admit I haven’t always got to do on an annual basis. Since I usually have the time and money to buy anything I’d put on a gift list, my family has officially stopped trying. Yes, I’m part of the gift card generation.

You know what a gift card says? It says, “Here, go shop for yourself. But limit yourself to this one store.” My brother thought he had one-upped me this season when, instead of getting me a gift card to my favorite DVD store, he bought me a card for Sears with the note, “Expand your horizons and shop at a different store.”

Apparently he wasn’t aware that Sears sold DVDs as well. That’s where I found a pair of Seinfeld season DVDs. Other gift cards allowed me to complete the seasons up to this point.

They’re great gifts, and they’ve put me back in touch with a theory I had in college: Everybody likens themselves to a television character at one point. I am Jerry Seinfeld.

If you’ve ever watched the show, either when it aired or in its current state of syndication, you’d know that Jerry was pretty much the “Even Steven.” A friend could take $20 from him and throw it out the window, and Jerry would find $20 in the pocket of a jacket he hadn’t worn for six months.

In the same way, I’m Jerry. A financial institution I won’t mention made a $250 error on my car payment that became about $400 in small checks that bounced. The bank paid me my $400 until the car loan division paid me the same amount. The bank tried to debit me the $400, but made a decimal point error and took out $40 instead. A mistake costs me $400, then another mistake makes me about $400. Call me Even Steven, or Jerry.

Another example is my compassion, or inverse compassion. Seinfeld was famous as a show that didn’t give much weight to the tragedy of supporting characters, but reveled in the trivial details of its main characters’ lives. An entire episode was dedicated to George Costanza making sure he got credit for buying somebody a salad, but his fiancee’s death by toxic envelope glue was handled in five minutes.

My life is the same way. If a friend tells me they might have cancer, I usually can’t say anything more than, “That’s a shame.” However, my friends could tell me about a small inconvenience, like the person in front of them at Subway using the cell phone mid-order. I’d then spend the next five minutes in a diatribe about how the vegetables at Subway are common knowledge and such matters could be done in advance, on a piece of paper I like to call a “note.”

I could go on, but I’d bore you. By this point, you’re spending your time wondering if you’re any particular television character. If you find one, do whatever you can to get your hands on that respective DVD set.

It will be money, or a gift card, well spent.

Kevin Wilson writes for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. Contact him at 461-1952 or by e-mail:
kevin_wilson@link.freedom.com