My earliest memory is of Christmas morning 1977. I was two-years-old. My parents placed my first Christmas present in front of me. When I failed to comprehend what it was they removed the wrapping for me then stood back to watch the holiday enchantment light up my tiny face. I looked down at my brand new Playskool Country Farm Playset. I had no idea what it was, but I knew I hated it. I may have been too young to understand the concept of Christmas, but, thanks to my clueless parents, crushing disappointment was already all too familar to me. Here are some highlights from 29 years of my parents constant failure to ever get me the right thing for Christmas.

Age: 7
I wanted a light saber. Not a real one mind you, just the plain-old everyday plastic tube attached to a flashlight that every other kid I knew had. What I got was about a foot and a half long, lacked any kind of official endorsement and had to be held under a lightbulb for no less than ten minutes of valuable playtime, then carried as quickly as possible to the darkest corner of the basement before it would begin to give off its 2 minutes of feeble green glow. I was livid with fury and made my parents buy me the right thing the next day. Of course by then Christmas was already ruined.

Age: 9
Remeber those wind up dinosaur things that you built yourself, "Zoids". Yeah, I don't either. But that's what I got, a shit-load of Zoids.

Age: 10
Still on the Star Wars kick. I wanted a new Luke skywalker action figure. Years of intense Star Wars action had ruined my last one. My parents, thinking they were being very clever, got me a six inch tall barbie-style Skywalker doll. That it was clearly a girl's toy mattered less to me than the fact that it was incompatible with the rest of my Star Wars toys. Imagine a Luke Skywalker that in "Star Wars World" towered 12 feet above Lando Calrissian. Imagine a Luke Skywalker who could only just barely be crammed, with great difficulty, into the CARGO HOLD of the Millenium Falcon. I destroyed the rest of my Star Wars Toys in a fit of ire then refused to eat for a week.

Age: 12
It is completely beyond me how a pair of full grown adults of average intelligence could possible confuse "Transformers" with "Gobots." This year Christmas was a living nightmare for the entire family.

Age: 13
I asked my parents for a hamster and for once it looked like they delivered. "Dr. Cuddlekins," however, died almost immediately. My parents went back to the pet store and got them to exchange the dead hamster for a gerbil. I didn't want that disgusting rat-thing in my room. My ensuing convulsions of rage eventually forced my parents to give the gerbil to my sister. She was delighted. So for the record, not only was my Christmas a total waste of time, my sister had an EXTRA awesome Christmas, which is bullshit.

Age: 15
I wanted: A pony.
I got: A shitty pony.

Age: 28
This past year, in a charitable mood, I decided to offer my folks an undemanding shot at redemption. I made to simple request for a vintage 1978 12" Luke Skywalker Doll. I raced downstairs Christmas morning to find (of course) a nearly worthless 1996 reissue. Fighting back caustic tears of exasperation I sent the hideous thing flying into the raging fireplace, punched my father full in the face and fled into my bedroom. I didn't emerge for over a month, periodically pounding the walls and wailing at the top of my lungs to remind my loveless family that the passage of time did NOT in any way blunt the astringent bite of bitterest disappoint. How I survived I do not know.

So that's my parents for you. Despite their miserable record, I have high hopes for this year. Perhaps this time they will finally get it right.