Do you ever find yourself amused (and amazed) by peoples' white trash antics?
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
The best Christmas gift ever
What's the best Christmas gift you've ever received? I don't mean the most expensive, and I don't mean something that's politically correct to answer. Yes, my husband and children are the greatest gifts ever. Period. For any occasion. I'm talking about the tear-open-the-package, out-of-the-blue, knock-your-socks-off best present EVER. I know mine; I don't even have to think about it. When I was a junior in college, my dad surprised me with a guitar, an Alvarez 12-string. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, and I treasure it to this day. I played guitar for most of my life. I wasn't very good at it. They say musical talent is closely tied to mathematical ability, so I don't feel too awfully bad about not being musically inclined. I hate math.
Strangely, I remember the worst gift, too. Well there are two that jump out of my memory but for very different reasons. When I was 15, my parents gave me a complete set of American Tourister luggage. They were preparing me for the inevitable kick out of the nest, which was coming that next summer. I started college when I was 16 years old, you see, and they apparently weren't going to let any grass grow under my young feet in getting me there. I accidentally saw the luggage before Christmas. It was in the trunk of my mom's car, and she opened it one night while I was standing there looking on. So I had the trauma of viewing practically my whole Christmas there in the trunk, and I had the added trauma of coming face-to-face with the reality of leaving home – soon. I kept it together while my mom stood there and made some lame excuse about whose luggage it was, but when I got up to my room later that night, I cried and cried. I was getting older, not a kid any more. Weird story, huh?
The other worst Christmas gift EVER came, not surprisingly, from my ex-husband. Throughout the time I knew him – dating and 10 years of marriage – he was undoubtedly the cheapest human being to ever walk the planet. He behaved as though he had never heard of Christmas or giving or joy before meeting me; he was from South America. He grudgingly pried his moth-eaten wallet open just a bit every Christmas to make perfunctory passes at gift-giving. I used to think it was a cultural thing. It wasn't. He was painfully cheap.
The first Christmas we shared while dating was full of promise. Christmas has always been a very big deal in my family. I knew, without a doubt, that this man felt the same. Who doesn't love Christmas? The big day came, and as was customary, my entire family assembled for the occasion. We all took turns opening gifts, "oohing" and "ahhing" over every surprise, no matter what it was. Then it was my turn. I excitedly tore at the paper that shrouded the gift from him to me. With a big grin on my face, I threw off the box top and braced myself for the world's greatest surprise. What I found inside the box was a pair of bright blue plastic tennis shoes. They were hideous. The accompanying box, of identical shape and size, housed a pair of bright red plastic tennis shoes.
Perfect. Now I could fulfill my dream of running off to join the circus when it came to town, now that I had the right shoes for it.
I know, I know. "Don't be so shallow and superficial," you're thinking. What I should have done was to see those hideous plastic shoes for the red flag they were. The guy was cheap, no imagination, no desire to give to make someone else happy. The way I saw it, he had run into Wal-Mart to pick up some motor oil on Christmas Eve and saw these shoes on an end cap display. He grabbed the two most horrible colors, paid about $9.98 for both, and considered himself generous.
Yeah, I should have seen it coming.
at 5:21 PM