Conversations by (Menorah) Candlelight: What Do You Want This Holiday Season?

By SAM MATHAI

As we begin ramping up for the coffee-fueled, soul-decimating, academic hellscape that is fourth week, I thought we might take a second to remind ourselves that literally as soon as we get home, it will be Christmas. Seriously, when you collapse after your stimulants wear off and you make it home, set an alarm. If you oversleep, you might wake up on Christmas Eve.

For all of you who celebrate Hanukkah, I’m hoping third and fourth week don’t put too much of a damper on your holiday spirit.

I went around the athletic department asking the age-old question: What do you want for Christmas? I can’t say I adhered to a journalistic rigor of any sort. I won’t lie: I didn’t record these answers or even note who said them. And I definitely didn’t ask anyone’s permission to publish their answers. Perhaps not all are verbatim, but I have collected some of my favorite responses in this week’s column.

“World peace. Then, like, a million dollars for me. But that’s all okay, because I got the world peace out of the way first, but definitely don’t forget the million dollars.”

“For you to stop with the stupid questions. Also, get out of my office.” That one kinda stung.

“I don’t know man, I could really go for some deli meats right now. And a job? I could definitely use a job.” You can’t blame a guy for wanting some deli meats. But you can blame him for putting it in front of his future.

One time,  I simply got a strained silence as the person in question looked at me, calculated what they could say in front of me, what was okay to say, and if they should say it. What we ended up with was an understanding that my question brought up some things that shouldn’t be shared with a student (star journalist or not) and an awkward “K bye.”

Another person looked me in the eyes and said, “You.” I didn’t not enjoy that one.

“Probably a license, but I would settle for a puppy.” True that.

“Two new hips.” That would have been less weird if it was from my grandpa and not from one of my teammates.

“For this class to be over. Forever. Like, I would wish that no one else ever has to take this class. Ever.” That particular response was accompanied by what can only be called the spark of mania glinting out from their eyes. The Block Plan does weird things.

Someone simply said, “Socks.” I reiterated to them that this could be literally anything. They could wish for an aircraft carrier or a vineyard or a lifetime supply of freshly baked cookies, if that was their thing. Literally any single thing. They persisted, deadpan: “Socks.”

If you haven’t given up on this piece yet, I want to say thank you. I appreciate your support and your willingness to read something that may come at you from a different angle. If you read this article regularly, I really can’t thank you enough. This is my last piece before Winter Break, so I’d like to wish everyone who reads this a restful, rewarding holiday season. Except people who put sweaters on dogs. They don’t deserve it.

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