Lame Adventure 354: Gift Giving Insanity

Two weeks ago today my family and I celebrated Christmas.  We exchanged gifts and had the annual home cooked meal at my sister Dovima’s house in the San Francisco Bay Area.  As usual, it was scrumptious, not that I can recall anything I ate other than the cookies that my niece, Sweet Pea, baked.  I know the main course was something without cheese or tomato or lemon, the latter two acidic ingredients instantly activate my gastritis and make me spew hellfire.  I also know that it was not fish, since both Sweet Pea and my brother-in-law, Herb (with a silent h), are not fans of seafood.  My brother Axel will not eat red meat of any kind, so that eliminates beef as well as pork and ham.  My father loves turkey, but Dovima loathes eating fowl so soon after Thanksgiving.  None of us will go anywhere near veal since animal cruelty makes us all cry.  I know whatever we had, we kept it simple so it’s very possible that we celebrated the holiday with delectable bread and water.

Before that wonderful meal of — here’s another possibility — carrot sticks and crackers, we had appetizers.  I have no recollection of what they were, either, but I know that I did eat the equivalent of my weight in all of them including three fairly digestible paper napkins decorated with cartoon reindeer.  Then, we exchanged gifts.

Ever since the economy tanked, and my wages were decreased twenty percent four years ago this month — not one of my more treasured memories — affording  gifts has posed a challenge.  Every year as the cost of living increases, my meager alms are further stretched.  In years past when my pay was robust I could afford to give those near and dear presents of significant worth.  Translation: I shelled out for costlier crap.

Unfortunately, those days are now history and today, with such a scant pile of pesos at my disposal, I am forced to be creative or in the case of Herb (with a silent h), redundant.  For a second year in a row I have gifted my brother-in-law with the same present, a gum wrapper inscribed:

IOU a Gift.

My sister hinted that she needed an umbrella so that was easy.  I slipped five dollars to one of the umbrella guys that pop up all over Manhattan sidewalks the second a cloud bursts.  For my 85-year-old dad, I raided the supply closet at work and plied him with Post-its and paper clips.  As for Axel, I gave my brother a rusty, twisted nail.  That scored a huge hit with him.  Whispering this confidence lent it instant panache:

Me: They say that nail was used on Jesus.

When I told my pal, Milton, that I had gotten him a gift he admonished me:

Milton:  No, you shouldn’t have!

Abiding by his wish, I gave his Barbra Streisand pencil cup to my niece along with a post-dated check for two dollars.

Just as I thought I had finished the hell of holiday shopping I remembered that I had stiffed one of my most valued relations, Thurber, the family dog.  He completely slipped my mind the previous Christmas as well.  That year I rushed out to Target and got him a hard plastic mallard that landed with a thud literally and figuratively.  He made the definitive canine “I hate this toy statement” i.e., he buried it deep into a black hole.  It was more the equivalent of a black hole since he does not have access to a yard.  He shoved it under the couch and neither looked for it nor barked for some schnook or schnook-ette with opposable thumbs to retrieve it.  Possibly it remains there right now.

Worst. Toy. Ever.

Worst. Toy. Ever.

I know why that mallard was a dud.  Mouth feel.  Two years ago, I gave Thurber a Mr. Bill doll.  That toy not only had exquisite fabric-y mouth feel but it talked.  And yes, I tested it out in my own mouth.  It did feel very good.

Chew on this!

Chew on this!

Eager to repeat the Mr. Bill level of success with The Family Canine, I raced out to a neighborhood pet store where I found The Perfect Gift — a talking Curly from the Three Stooges.  It said several Curley phrases including my personal favorites, the more intellectually astute bon mots, “Soitenly!” and “Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!”  Plus, the mouth feel was sublime.  The one hindrance was the price, $18.47 (with tax).  Would I really unload nearly $20 on a dog toy, considering that I had spent less than $20 on my entire family combined?

"I pronounce Curly a keeper."

“I pronounce Curly a keeper.”

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88 responses to “Lame Adventure 354: Gift Giving Insanity

  1. sometimes it’s good to be a pagan baby! i think your choices of gifts for the family were inspiring, sugar! ;~) well done you! ok, maybe not the mallard duck, BUT there is always the chance someone else will discover it later and absolutely adore it for its, uh, gimme a minute and i’ll think of some endearing quality. xoxoxo

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    • That duck was a bust Savannah. Looking back I wish I had just given it to my former Special Someone and simply expedited the doom that was lying in wait for me. Thurber might not have looked as enticing clad in that Acme-brand black leather lace-up bustier (complete with instructions), I am sure he would have appreciated chewing on it — boomeranging us right back to topic du jour, mouth feel.

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  2. It’s the thought that counts. Right?!?!

    This just in from the National Pork Council: Apparently our previous ad campaign missed you. It’s “THE OTHER WHITE MEAT.”

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  3. Well, based on his adorableness, I do think Thurber deserves the best gift of the lot.

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  4. I would like one of those Mr. Bill dolls myself.

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  5. V, I think your Christmas creativity is wonderful as are all of your family’s names, Dovima, Axel — you guys could be a rock band. We don’t give presents anymore as I feel just my presence is enough. Thurber rules and is deserving of a $20 Curly doll.

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  6. Holy Three Stooges!!! I gifted my sis’s dog Barkey with the Curley doll this past Xmas and it was a smash hit! The entire Xmas Eve soiree was made all the more fun with the voice of Curly ringing throughout the house! Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk!!!!!!

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  7. writerwendyreid

    You almost made me spit out my coffee with the mental image of you holding a dog toy in your mouth. Sounds like a typical dysfunctional christmas and I bet you loved every minute of it. I miss you V. xo

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  8. Sweet, V. Thanks for pointing out the income:cost-of-living ratio; that is, 0.5:99.5. Some people can’t afford to buy toilet paper, which, incidentally, keeps rolling upward in price, and food stamps don’t cover that expense, although with them you buy all the candy you want.

    Re Thurber’s gift: The family dog deserves the best, ’cause dogs are the best people ever, and especially one with the name Thurber.

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  9. Gift giving is complex. I think next year everyone should just give Thurber a gift on behalf of someone else in the family and collectively rejoice in his joy. It does look like Curly is good mouth feel.

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  10. Talking Curly is definitely a keeper. I may have considered leaving with it! But hey – you let the dog keep the toy.

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  11. I guess I’m old school, but I want my Gumby Dammit. It’s a sure fire way to get your greens and clean teeth and gums at the same time. Good thing you didn’t get a talking Moe. It gets old hearing, “Wise guy, eh?”

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    • Some years back, my sole heir, Sweet Pea, thoughtfully put Gumby in Auntie’s Xmas stocking. After signing the non-disclosure agreement, he’s been enjoying life inside my modest abode. The pet store had Moe — but no Larry! The Two Stooges just doesn’t ring as loud a gong.

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  12. LA… I can’t believe it was only two weeks ago. I feel like I’ve been back at work for a month already! I didn’t send any gifts this year. Or cards. Or IOUs. I’ve become Scrooge! Bah Humbug!

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    • Now it’s the detritus of the season time over here, Tom, with piles of discarded Christmas trees lying on the sidewalk waiting for the sanitation department to turn them into mulch or chuck them into a landfill or feed them to the pigeons that seem inclined to eat just about anything.

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  13. mmm I like the IOU gift. May have to steal that one. Culy is a lucky dog

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  14. Everyone beats me to want i want to say! By the way ur family has wierd names-agree?

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  15. For some reason, I liked your ratio of pet to people spending, and I don’t really even like pets. It might have something to so with three too intimately spaced holidays with extended family. Whew!

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  16. Nyuk-nyuk-nyuk. As a lifelong hater of the 3 Stooges, I’m glad to see one of them devoured by Thurber. Love the family names, particularly the herb. I’m herb-friendly, after all.

    I love your gift ideas. The nail is a winner, and all it cost you was your immortal soul!

    So all your family lives in the good part of the country? Are they transplants or are you? I would guess them, for two reasons. 1) You seem very at home in NYC (although I know plenty of transplants who are like that) and 2) You mentioned once that you were visiting your family in “Northern California,” rather than the “Bay Area.” Am I right?

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    • Smak, I’m well aware that Stooge-humor is not to everyone’s taste, but I’ve always rather liked their brand of sheer stupidity. We all have our guilty pleasures. When I was a kid I also liked liver, but I was in the closet about that.

      Brace yourself, I’m third generation San Franciscan on my mother’s side. Pere Lame Adventure is originally from Chicago. I’m the one and only to move East, or as my dad reasoned, “You’ve got it backward, people move from the East Coast to the West!”

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      • Your dad is right! I’ll admit–I’m flabbergasted. I had you pegged for a “she-don’t-know-no-better,” but you’re actually an apostate!

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        • The first film my parents took me to see in a movie theater at the tender age of three was West Side Story. Instantly, I was hooked on this place and I began plotting my move East from that day on. I love visiting the Bay Area, but New York is the place that most feels like home. I was barely living here day when a tourist assumed I was a native. Scowling and barking, “Who you lookin’ at?” probably added to my stink of authenticity.

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  17. Macaulay reserves burying for the ultra-precious, Lame: the almost sacred. I wonder if Thurber thinks the same way?

    Although clearly the Stooge was a hit.

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    • Thurber’s a pampered prince of a pooch. I think he thinks more about being served or sacking out on the couch than doing normal doggy things like digging or, another Macaulay specialty, dragging around his favorite dead deer carcass.

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  18. Ha!
    When dogs bury the toy that mean’s they’re extra-special good, and they’re saving them for later 🙂

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  19. Your blog is hilarious. It deserves an award. So I’ve nominated you for the Shine On award. Read all about it here. http://mycruisestories.com/2013/01/10/shine-on-award/

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  20. Dude I totally know what you mean about stretching your gift budget when you’re having technical difficulties with your wallet. I feel ya. I was out collecting those JC Penny buttons all over the place trying to get five to ten bucks off my purchases. I ended up with like 100 Ho-Ho-Ho, Santa Claus, Season Greetings, and Feliz Navidad buttons and 35 bucks off my purchases, which incidentally ended up being like four free gifts. But I am so glad the dog got an awesome gift, you know to replace that Daffy Duck non-mouth worthy toy of years past. 🙂

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  21. wow, I don’t know if I should laugh or cry for you. I would suggest a couple great gift giving ideas though.
    1. You can make up a charity, and give notes saying you donated $X dollars to said charity in said person’s name.

    2. Buy fancy paper certificates at an office supply, then print fancy “Star Certificates” that say a distant star has been named after them. You can then go outside at night, point to the sky and say, “That distant star is named after you.”

    3. Re-gift all of the crap others gave you. That works great for me.

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    • I’d prefer if you laughed. No need to take the post so seriously, for my gifts went over quite well. I’m compelled to ride this wave of gift-success until I find my pot of gold, which might even be somewhere in the back of my closet near some worn out sneakers; something else I’ve completely forgotten about. Maybe I’ll find it in spring? Thanks for visiting Lame Adventures-land and taking the time to comment.

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  22. Okay, I know I am insanely late reading this, but my week has been crazy! I actually had to go a couple of days without even checking my email, which is unheard of for me. However, my favorite of your gifts was the gum wrapper! Brilliant, my friend. Hope you’ve had a good weekend. I think you might have sent me an email this week, but now I’m having trouble finding it in the hundreds that have piled up in my inbox. Maybe I only dreamed I got one, but if so, any chance you could resend it?
    Hugs,
    Kathy

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    • Hey Kathy, I know that you’ve been super busy. Thanks for taking the time to stop by buddy. Glad you like the gum wrapper. Maybe if I finagle a way to do a little better this year, I’ll gift Herb (with a silent h) an entire pack of gum.

      Glad you found the email.

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  23. Just thought you might like to know that when my husband asked which blog he should read from my list on the shine on award http://mycruisestories.com/2013/01/10/shine-on-award/ I said yours, and he loved it! He found it totally hilarious. By the way, I’d use my gravatar for this comment if it would work, but lately every comment I try to leave in the normal way vanishes instantly. The first was on my daughter’s blog http://mommyadventures.net/ ….I felt very insulted thinking she had deleted me until I found that none of my comments were there on anybody else’s blogs either.

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    • It’s strange but your comment went to my spam folder. Thanks for recommending LA to your husband. I’m glad he finds my site amusing.

      Hey, a little shop talk. Go to your site’s dashboard. Click on “Users”. From there go to “My Profile”. If your gravatar is missing, you might need to upload it again. You just might need to tweak a few things.

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  24. My gravatar is still there, but if I use it to make a comment the comment vanishes as soon as I hit the post comment button on anyone else’s blog. It still works fine for replies to comments on my own blog or to click “likes” on other people’s. At least the likes button still works. There was a couple weeks once where it wouldn’t let me “like” anyone’s blog and that went away as mysteriously as it came so hopefully the commenting will return to normal soon.

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      • There seems to be something going on with wordpress and spam that goes farther than me. I asked my daughter to check her spam file since you found one there, and there all my comments were, along with other people’s non-spam comments. It does it the other way to me, puts some other people’s spam comments in the regular comment file. Anyway I thought since she un-spammed those comments I’d try another here and see if that un-spammed me. Wishful thinking probably.

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        • Yes, your comment ended up in my spam folder. This is so strange considering that we follow each other and there’s not anything that could be construed as remotely offensive in your comments. Mine, I admit, are pure pornography. Seriously, it might behoove you to notify WP about this. There’s an odd glitch going on here, but I’m sure they can fix it.

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