I was having dim sum with a couple of new friends in Chinatown in NYC. And literally the second thing that  arrives at the table is a big ol’ bowl of chicken feet.

“You don’t have to try them,” Kenny told me. “But I grew up on them in China, and I find them delicious.”

I’m sitting there, and 43 years of experience with eating food is telling me not to swallow a chicken foot. But these were Christian brothers I was sitting with. NYU isn’t exactly swarming with Christians, and we had purposefully found each other to meet up for lunch.

So maybe, I figured, since God had brought us together, and also God had created chicken feet, that this was all part of His perfect plan – to spend an afternoon eating the feet of His creatures.

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I used to be told, on occasion, that I look fairly young for my age. (I am now 43.) I pretended that I didn’t care when people mentioned it. The truth, of course, is that I took tremendous pride in it.

The danger in that pride (and there is nothing BUT danger in that particular sin) is that as people said it less and less, I compensated by telling myself I actually AM still young. That’s when the trouble began.

My younger colleagues at NYU Stern (so, all of them) are constantly saying things like “Let’s Venmo!” and pointing to a mason jar on their desk and saying “I brought my lunch today.”  I nod along, pretending that I, too, am totally going to Venmo later and that I also stuffed my lunch into a mason jar because that’s totally normal for us young people. 

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I am a micromanager. You can’t believe how much I micromanage. I will almost never let anyone do anything because I am positive that I can do it better and quicker.

Which means that I have a habit of correcting my wife. Which she LOVES. Because we know that all women love to be corrected. She is brimming with gratitude that I suggested a different way of loading the dishwasher or putting the milk back in the fridge or driving to the movie theater. LOVES it.

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We told Finn and Lucy the truth about Santa. They are only 8 and 6 years old. Which means there will be people reading who will give me wide-eyed looks of horror. 

But here’s the thing: We’re going to Orlando for Christmas, and it felt like a hassle to try explain how Santa got a keycard to our room. 

Lizzie’s reasoning for it was, thankfully, was slightly more thoughtful. 

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Listen, I’m all for capitalism. But these car commercials at Christmas – what is up with that? Who is watching this commercial and deciding that is what you’re getting your spouse? Are they sitting on a couch made out of diamonds? Don’t they find that uncomfortable, a diamond couch? 

Worse, these car commercials make it look like the spouse is, like, totally psyched to get a new car. Yeah. No kidding. A December to Remember, they call it. You know what Liz would Remember about December if she woke up to a brand new $60,000 Lexus in the driveway with a bow on it? She would remember how her husband had hollowed out the kids’ college fund for a car that she didn’t need.

Commercials tell us that we deserve the best and that we can have it. And they are frighteningly persuasive. 

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Copyright ©2012 Conor Grennan. Photos: Larry Closs.
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