I take the Winter Solstice gift season very seriously. Maybe more seriously than you’ve ever heard me be if you only know me from the show. The season itself is inconsequential, I am focused with laser precision on finding the right gift for the right person. It has to exist in the small space between what a person really would love to have but would never actually buy for themselves. I’ve noticed that not everyone shares my proclivity, or even my desire, to find that perfect gift, but since it’s safe to assume everyone you know likes Science… sort of (what do you mean you haven’t told them yet?!) here’s a brief list of Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday PaleoPresents. Load a new tab, put on your blackface like a Christmas Dutchman and get shopping.
Alarmed and disturbed by the Dutch tradition of Zwarte Piet? Inform yourself with The List, a holiday book by comic creator and friend of the show Rich Koslowski. It’s illustrated prose more than it is a comic, but I devoured it and learned something too, which is what we’re all about over here.
Now if you start telling a person about Black Peter, they’re likely to have some questions. Unless they’re Dutch, in that case why are you even speaking to them?
But assuming they’re not Dutch, they’ll have questions, and it’s important to point those questions in a direction you can handle. If you’ve listened to the show, chances are you have some dinosaur knowledge at your disposal and wearing this T-shirt might drive the questions an appropriate direction away from blackface.
In my life I’ve dealt with people that just don’t listen. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the side of logic and reason, they rely on non-sequiturs, begging the question, or just cutting you off before you can finish your carefully constructed point. It’s really really annoying and one of the few ways dealing with it is a drink, either for yourself or the uptight naysayer you’re being forced to speak to. If that same naysayer is questioning your science chops in terms of Black Peter and/or dinosaurs, you best arm yourself with the cocktail set sure to inspire confidence in your mixology and scientific legitimacy.
But the person you’re now actively and nearly violently arguing with doesn’t like spirits, only beer. Don’t overreact that they’re missing out an entire spectrum of deliciousness. Rather, continue to strive for common ground by pulling the perfect brew out of your beer fridge (You don’t have a designated beer fridge?!) and open said beer with the other bottle open known to man that is specifically designed to facilitate prosperity and unity amongst the human species. That’s right, the Star Trek USS Enterprise bottle opener. Perfect for exploring a beer where no beer has been explored before.
Then fiery debate becomes raucous laughter. You slap each heartily on the shoulder in a display of fellowship and brotherhood. The intensity causes one of you to drop your beverage! Oh no! What a mess! But you should remember: Don’t Panic. Just like it says on your official don’t panic utility towel. You should always know where your towel is.
At the end of the day I think you can both agree that SCIENCE is a grand enterprise indeed, even if there are mysteries geologists still have to figure out…
Thanks for reading, I hope this oddly constructed narrative helped you learn a valuable lesson about celebrating the Solstice with anyone who’s not Dutch.