Chia Pets, Bunion Soakers, and Weed Pokers
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Fri, 25 Dec 98 11:03:02 -0800
Subject: Chia Pets, Bunion Soakers, and Weed Pokers
Forwarded-by: Nev Dull <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Forwarded-by: Keith Sullivan <KSullivan@worldnet.att.net>
HOW TO AVOID THE DISAPPOINTMENT BORN OF GIFTS LIKE CHIA PETS, BUNION SOAKERS
AND WEED POKERS
By Robert Kirby, The Salt Lake Tribune, December 12, 1998
For Christians everywhere, it's crunch time. We have two weeks to figure
out the most important question of the ages. Namely, what to get (insert
name of relative or friend here) for Christmas.
Laugh if you will, but this is important stuff. If we get her the wrong
gift, Aunt Cleo will either take it back or sulk over it. So whatever we
get has to be exactly the right thing, or at least close enough to it so
that no one gets her feelings hurt. Remember what happened when we bought
Uncle Earl the Amazing Weed Poker?
There is, of course, the issue of money. With enough of it we would always
be assured of buying the right gift. Grandpa may have hated the corn and
bunion soaker we got him last year, but there's no way he would turn up his
nose at a new Oldsmobile.
The same with your sister Dorcette. She took back that waffle iron and
exchanged it for a bag of bird food. My guess is that she wouldn't be
taking back a Mediterranean cruise. Nope, she would love us. Just like
your dad would love us if we bought him Arnold Palmer for Christmas.
But since money is a big deal, we are stuck with cheapo gifts that barely
make the cut of civility. We are locked into the stupidity of gift
roulette. Or are we?
The weird thing about humans is that we agonize over this process when all
most of us want from each other is each other. And that doesn't cost a
While you and I are scratching our heads over whether Uncle Roop would like
one more Chia Pet, we remain oblivious to what he and a lot of other friends
and relatives really want from us. It's not presents, it's presence.
Truth is, Uncle Roop hates Chia Pets. He only wants to know that we care
about him. If that means listening to his interminable stories about being
stuck in a frozen foxhole while Chinese bugles filled the dawn, so what?
Maybe what he is after is some proof from us that 45 years later it still
matters that he came home alive.
Grandma can't remember what we got her last year, but you can bet that
listening to the clock count down the end of her days will be much easier
if she doesn't have to do it with just her cat for company.
Then there's David. We could get him a generic pair of gloves this year,
or even a wallet. But maybe what he really needs from us to know that we
don't care if he is gay, he's still our brother. His being a Democrat is
a different matter, of course.
But what do get Dad, who, unbeknownst to any of us, is going to die from a
brain embolism next year? A bowling ball might be nice, but what does that
really say to the guy who subordinated his life's dreams so that he could
Your sister, my mom, our friends ... the list isn't as long as we think.
Or it wouldn't be if we stopped comparing it with how much money we have to
This Christmas, maybe we should rewrite our lists. We'll still have to buy
some stuff, but it might not be so hard to do if we were doing it because
we actually knew the people on the list.
But just in case you're wondering about me, I need a new compact-disc
Robert Kirby welcomes e-mail at email@example.com.
(c) Copyright 1998, The Salt Lake Tribune <http://www.sltrib.com/>
© 1998 Peter Langston