But the shred of wrapping paper clings on yet

The other day someone pointed out that it’s been 11 years now since Y2K.

That is somewhat underwhelming, although impressive that we’ve managed to survive the apocalypse this long without noticing it.

More disconcerting is the realization that the first of those born in the ’90s now can legally drink, and are therefore nearly full adults. Thankfully they still can’t rent cars, and that is the last salvation of the Eighties kids being pushed out of their 20s by the Nineties-born arriving. The beginning of one spells the end of another, or at least babies of the Seventies have told me so.

So it’s appropriate that in this part of the year, flush both with hope and holiday hangover, certain things come to an end. Time to pull down wreaths and icicle lights, toss out the trees, and safely return unwanted gifts with some assurances you won’t be found out by the original givers.

My whole holiday season was unimpressive, despite my best efforts. I even strictly moderated my holiday music intake until just a few days before so I wouldn’t get tired of it, but nothing was doing, you know; I never got that Kris Kringle tingle, I mean.

Christmas came screaming at me with decorations and ads, but whispered when it got near. Then New Year’s came and went and fell on me like a ton of bricks, or at least my head felt like it. Once again, my brain couldn’t take the click of a new digit.

Here we are in 2011. No longer ho-ho-ho, but rather ho-hum; it’s just winter and another year.

This winter I moved and found the intact box my Nintendo 64 came in. For those keeping track, the N64 is a considered fifth-generation videogame console, and we’re currently in the seventh.

I got it back in 1997 for Christmas, all wrapped up, of course. It was the very thing I’d wanted that year, and when I got it, I played with nothing else that day. I did nothing else that day. I was possessed with Christmas spirit.

I still enjoy playing it but I don’t do nearly so much because I don’t have time, and new joys from the games seem somehow beyond my reach, as new joys from any games do.

I noticed, when I picked the box up, there was a spot of green wrapping paper decorated with white tree-designs still stuck with tape to one side of the outside cardboard.

I’m a packrat just for keeping the box, but saving the paper after I realized the fluke is thoroughly excessive.

I’m attached to that one bit because it remains back in 1997, preserved through the millennium and beyond. Club 2000 on Kermit Highway is decaying right on schedule and reminding us time marches with the weeds and luster fades like dirty glass.

And kids too excited to sleep because they hope they get just the right thing for a present grow to go out on Christmas Eve and drown in fermented spirits, or beer, and get in slurring fights. Right on top of my table.

I’m not sure what the paper means, but I know that it means it. The paper has to stay on or else the last bit of Christmas magic is gone and the portal to true holiday feelings is gone forever, for me.

I don’t know what I’d do if that happened. I might stop looking forward to Christmas altogether.

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