I must say, I have to laugh every time I see one of those ridiculous commercials on t.v. for a luxury automobile, elegantly gift wrapped with a ridiculously huge bow, parked in the driveway of a ridiculously huge mansion at Christmastime. Who the heck buys someone a new car for Christmas? This must be the ultimate gift for someone who is crazy hard to buy for. You know, that person who has “everything.” Perhaps the gift tag should read:
To: Mr. Unpleasable
From: Mrs. Overindulgent
Now, I’ll be the first to admit, men are incredibly difficult to buy for. And some are actually impossible. My Father (God rest his unpleasable soul) was the worst gift recipient EVER. And, I always put an extreme amount of thought into his gift. Probably more so than anyone else’s who actually appreciated my choices. You know, like that one person in your office who often treats you like a jerk, so you bend over backwards to try to please them. Unless, of course, you’ve slept with everyone in your office, so everyone is pleased (or not). My Father would actually get mad if you got him a gift. Like the dartboard, which is now an annual Christmas “story” told at the dinner table (at his expense). Now that he’s gone, we can joke about it). That was a Christmas gift, which I toted 1,000 miles on an airplane. And he refused to mount it to his game room’s parquet walls, which he handcrafted himself, mind you. Who the heck parquets walls, anyway? The rest of my family secretly conspired to make him “hold” the dart board while we threw darts at it, just to make me feel better. Then, another thoughtful Christmas gift was a large container of fancy handmade sugar free chocolates. Those of which he ate, all in one sitting. And, he did his sitting that particular day on the porcelain throne. When asked how he liked his gift, he said “Ugh.” You’re darned right, it’s a diuretic! Of course it upset your stomach! Pace yourself, Einstein! There was just no pleasing him. One other gift that backfired was an electric nose hair trimmer, which he used to trim the hair in his ears. Because everyone knows, as a man ages, the hair on his head “moves” to his ears. But it “made his hair wiry and now his ears hurt.” But, hey! At least he actually used it.
His standard replacement for “thank you” became “what did you get me this for?” (I kid you not) Eventually, I gave up! Out of the risk of hurting feelings (mine), which, at this point, I have none.
Fair enough, though. As kids, we had already ruined his expectations for the ultimate gift, and solidified his expectations for a truly bogus gift. We were still young, but old enough to do our own Christmas shopping for family. So, as kids, he would give us money to shop for Christmas gifts (well, he didn’t really give it to us, he’d pass out and we’d take it out of his wallet). Because, as you know, kids don’t have their own money because they don’t have jobs. And, basically they’re unemployable because they’re immature and irresponsible. And they never show up for work on time. Probably because they don’t drive. Or maybe they’re just slackers. Especially infants who are too lazy to even hold up their own head. You have to prop it up. So my Dad and everyone else on the list would get some sort of toy that I wanted for myself. Like the blond plastic pony figurine that I knew he’d eventually give to me. Later, in my teen and college years, the gifts I gave him were basically still purchased with his money. Nothing had changed, except they were more thoughtful and more expensive (at his expense). In hind sight, probably the reason why he’d get mad if we purchased him a gift.
As a mother, I have every gift my daughter ever gave to me. Each one a cherished token and a memory. No matter how big or how small. The more hand-made, the better. A rock from our garden with a white cotton beard and googly eyes and a few art collaborations with her Father, the late, great Joey Waldon.
When my Father died last year, my Mother asked me if there was anything of his that I wanted to keep. And there certainly was. I wanted everything that he always forbade me to borrow. I took his socks, his razor, his tiny Levi’s with burn holes from years of arc welding and a tiny antler from the wee buck he hit on his way home from “work” (i.e. the pub) back in 1968. And I took that little blond plastic pony that he had apparently kept hidden in his sock drawer all these years, so he could cherish the choices that I made way back then.
Dad, if you had lived longer, maybe one day I would have bought you a luxury automobile, elegantly gift wrapped with a ridiculously huge bow, parked in the driveway of a ridiculously huge mansion at Christmastime. So you could say “Who the heck buys someone a new car for Christmas?”
(I think you should always say “The End” when you’re done telling a story. Like in a book or a movie. I also think you should end relationships the same way. Just so everyone is clear. The End.)
Until next week…
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
A New Car For Christmas – Comedy Defensive Driving