There was a time in La Vida Haggis where I had plenty of money and no time. Work kept me on the road 5 or 6 days a week, but the domestic balance sheet was in the black as a result. These days, as you can imagine, I have plenty of time and somewhat less disposable income. Back then, birthday gifts involved something pricey and gasp-inducing from Amazon.com delivered to your door. These days, you are either going to get a) nothin' but a card, or b) something homemade. Now, before friends and family get concerned about a return to my mid-90's misguided and ill-fated attempt to use a glue gun and various craft items found at Michaels Stores to make you a "present," I wish to reassure you that no pinking shears will be utilized this time around. My sad attempt to be Martha Stewart right out of grad school has long since ended. These days I'm trying to do things that require little or no skill, and yet reflect hours of genuine effort.
For instance, my niece. She's going to be 11 soon, and I thought she might enjoy a mix CD of music. At first I was going to give her a CD of music that I find to be important, interesting and necessary for a person to know about. Then I figured that to be potentially the worst gift you can give an 11 year old. "Happy Birthday! Here are songs that *I* find relevant!" Why not just give the kid a textbook and be done with it? So I have started compiling a mix CD of music I know *she* loves, with just a couple of "relevant" songs thrown in.
That's all well and good except for one thing: OHMYLORD I can't listen to High School Musical one more time! Finding and listening to Ashley Tisdale, the Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, tween poptart whomever--has been nothing short of painful. I mean physically and mentally painful. Not to mention the embarrassment I feel when my ITunes screen says, "Since you picked Hannah Montana, you might like THIS!" and it's a song by Hayden Panettiere. Yes friends, if someone were to open my Istore, they'd see recos for Hayden Panettiere!! Can there be any greater infamy than that? If you don't know about Hayden, just know that the equivalent in my generation would have been being known as the person who bought all of Jennifer Love Hewitt's and Alyssa Milano's albums. The generation before mine will recognize themselves if they ever bought the Kristy and Jimmy McNichol album. You know who you are.
So here I am, compiling a list of songs I simply can't bear, all for my sweet niece's birthday. Something she'll probably listen to a few times until High School Musical 4 comes out and my CD is considered an oldies collection. It's painful in some ways because the music is so generically bad. It's painful in other ways because I know deep in my heart that if I were 11, I would be in love with Zac Efron, just as I was in love with John Stamos and Ricky Schroder.
I simply thank god that neither ever cut an album.