The 12 Gifts of Christmas, #6- Rudolf

On each of the twelve days leading up to Christmas*, I am giving a gift** to someone*** who really deserves it. This must be how Oprah**** feels.

Yesterday’s post reminded me of another story I once heard of a youngster who had a very difficult childhood. He was often left out of the shenanigans of his peers. The fact that he was physically different than the others made it even more difficult to fit in and have a swell life.

Editor’s note: Youngster? Shenanigans? Swell? I’m assuming you picked up those terms when you were growing up next to the Cleaver family.

Of course I’m speaking of Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer.

Editor’s note: Ah, I see what you did there. You used youngster in order to avoid tipping that it was an animal of which you were speaking and not a human—pretty ineffective considering Rudolf’s name is in the title of this post and you already included a picture.

The story of this colorful caribou is a perfect illustration of a device I absolutely hate in literature, film, and TV. The one thing that made Rudolf different and unaccepted, his glowing red nose, turned out to be the attribute that made him a superstar. Although the children’s section of every library and PBS programming are full of those stories, it just doesn’t happen like that in real life.

Unfortunately, the attributes that get non-claymation people ridiculed and left out are not going to be magically recognized by an old, fat guy as superior. Face it, your lack of coordination isn’t going to become extremely valuable when your awful shot sends the basketball into a tree knocking out the squirrel who was about to devour the tooth fairy. You aren’t going to be able to use your over-sized glasses like a magnifying glass to melt a glacier in the path of a luxury cruise ship. There’s a reason Marvel never wrote a comic book about Bald Man and the Toupee Kid making evildoers wig out.

It is even less likely that your peers will suddenly respect and love you because you do something helpful. Usually jealousy leads to downplaying accomplishment and outright mocking after sudden achievement. I guess what upsets me about this story is that it seems to imply three falsehoods: Rudolf couldn’t help his change own reputation, he could suddenly be respected if someone would just give him a chance, and all differences are positives just waiting for the right opportunity.

Rudolf received a great gift of a fairy-tale ending. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen for you or me. Today I would like to give a few gifts to the real-world Rudolfs who feel left out because they are different or not as talented as others, and who, like myself, have little quirks that are ridiculed.

Gift #1- Encouragement. Everyone has problems and it’s alright. I’m really bad at this encouraging thing, but I’m a lot better at…

Gift #2- Reality. Check out your personal problems. Go ahead, look over them, I’ll wait… Are they curable or not? If you can fix them, get busy. Do people make fun of you because of your halitosis? Try mouthwash and a Tic Tac. Do people laugh at your poor grammar? Try to talk gooder. But many of us are different in a way that can’t be fixed because sometimes our differences are God-given. If that’s where you find yourself, you need this…

Gift #3- Focus. Too often we fixate on the negatives and hope that, like Rudolf, we will suddenly be considered superior to the “normal” people. Since that’s not going to happen we should focus on the aspects of our lives that we can improve and make sure that we are contributing in some way. I have heard from reliable sources that Lebron James is an awful accordion player. I’m guessing that Steve Jobs never started on his high school football team. Albert Einstein’s hair looked like he styled it by sticking his tongue in a toaster. But that’s not what they are known for.

*Not the twelve days of Christmas, we’ve been over this already.
**In reality no gifts will be given. This is a hypothetical sort of thing designed to increase traffic on this website.
***Contest open to legal residents of planet earth and 18 or older to win unless I decide to give a gift to a minor or extraterrestrial. No purchase necessary, although purchases will definitely increase chances of winning. Some restrictions apply, like the fact that there is not an actual prize.
****Oprah Winfrey does not necessarily endorse this blog or the contents therein although I’m sure she would enjoy it. Oprah, if you’re reading, an endorsement would be appreciated…and a new car.

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About Jeff Postlewaite

high school principal since '07, father since '04, teacher since '03, husband since '03, sound tech since '96, UVA fan since '92, gadget junkie since '89, Christian since '88, Giants fan since '84, golfer since '83, brother since '83, human since '81

Posted on December 19, 2011, in 12 Gifts for Christmas and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Reblogged this on 141 plus and commented:

    This idea was going through my mind all day so I thought I would re-post it. Today, November 27, I am thankful that I can focus on the things that I can and should change about myself rather than the things I can’t control.

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