I can join Mensa if I want to. I rocked on my doctoral exams in front of a squad of scholars who are all at the very top of their respective fields. I have mastered and contain within myself the core content of Western Civilization in all its terrible splendor. I can even (generally) match my clothes. But set me down with a pile of Christmas presents and all that is necessary for wrapping them, and you'd be better off hiring a blind epileptic who had just eaten a snowcone made of speed. After hours of struggle (once my Mum was in bed and could not witness my annual humiliation) I have once again produced a pile of misshapen lumps of colourful paper, decorated with bows and ribbons that try to cover up the odd, tumor-like projections that spoil their symmetry, or the huge and grotesque tusk marking the occasional corner of a package. Once again I writhe in the painful knowledge of just how limited and defined my talents are, and to be grateful for having even those. So in a few hours my nieces will arrive, and in their delighted preschool avarice, will gleefully set-to in tearing past my efforts for what is contained within them. But it won't happen quick enough to prevent "that look" from going across my sister's face, and someone pulling something still somehow unexpected and painfully apt out of that fountain of spontaneous Irish wit. I'm counting the minutes.
But kidding aside, folks, the best of Christmases to all of you: may peace on Earth and goodwill to men be what characterizes your houses this year, and those of all you love.