Every year I arrive at my parents’ house in Springfield, Va., armed with my healthy self-edifying projects — big leafy Penguin classics, Chomsky-explains-it-all books and a backlog of fortifying magazines. And every year I think I am going to actually read a paragraph of one of these things. But then I walk in the front door, say ‘hi’ to my mom and dad, stand at the kitchen counter and start eating cheese.Well, maybe this Web site can serve up the missing snark.
That’s not all that’s in the house. In case there is a terrorist attack at the Price Club, my mother has stocked up on boxed food, durable bags of meatballs, bins of croutons, an entire spectrum of cereal, jug wine and other pleasures that would never be reviewed in food and wine supplements.
After inhaling some combination of sustenance entirely made of carbohydrates and trans fats, I will go upstairs and change into an infantilizing outfit of fleece sweat pants and an old high school T-shirt that says “Go Spartans!” on it.
Then I go back downstairs and begin to watch television. In this consumer Green Zone, I can finally, really, watch TV. I am unfettered, and free of my ironic eye, op-ed anger and Web site snark, I can enjoy TV the way it was meant to be enjoyed — sitting there with my mouth open, too lazy to get up and go to the bathroom.
December 23, 2006
The novelist serves up a Christmas "style" essay: