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Friday, June 15, 2012

Buying Birthday Presents for Nancy

1995
Nancy's birthday is coming up, and I'm faced with the traditional husbandly dilemma of not knowing what to get her.  I think there was a Golden Age when I successfully purchased presents for my wife.  The mists of time intervene, and perhaps the era of successful gift-shopping is the stuff of pure myth, along with days of yore when giants strode the earth as well as Zeus and the Easter Bunny.  Nevertheless, I vaguely recall expeditions to buy Nancy something or other and her later delight when opening her gift.
Those days, if they ever existed, have since passed.  Somewhere came the disastrous era of buying coffee makers (to buy one coffee maker and have it be a dud as a Christmas present, is perhaps excusable, but I have a distinct recollection of buying her several coffee makers over a series of years.  It was kind of a theme with me.)
1996
Part of the problem is after thirty years of marriage we just have so much stuff.  Stuff is the operative word, here, and it functions as both noun and verb, as in "Our basement is stuffed with stuff," and "Our closets are stuffed with stuff," and "Our whole dad-blame house is stuffed with stuff."
1997
But the main issue, let's face it, is that I am a total schlub as a human being.  (The word schlub seems misspelled here, but I can't even be bothered to look up the correct spelling, which should give you an idea just how big a schlub I am.)  I place the blame for this totally on Nancy's shoulders.  The fact is, she takes such care of me, that I'm out of practice doing it myself.  If she really wanted to keep me in fighting trim as a gift-giver, she wouldn't say "yes" to everything I needed or wanted.  For example, she has a habit of saying "I love you," at such dependable intervals.  This sort of thing weakens the gift-buying muscle.  She needn't necessarily tell me she hates me nor advise me to fall under a truck, but she could make inscrutable remarks such as "You are a potato," or "If anyone asks, your name is Philbert."  Remarks such as these are calculated to instill a sense of unease conducive to more careful gift-shopping.
Moreover, she takes care of the gift-buying in our household, so I just forget how to do it.  True, if she allowed me to buy the presents for the family, she might be left stuck for an explanation, why our daughters got chrome-plated potato peelers or what possessed me to get her eighty year-old mother a bocce-ball set, but it's through these little trials and errors one hones one's technique as a gift-giver.
I am off now to get Nancy a gift, but I'm torn between the potato peeler and the bocce-ball set.
Maybe a really good coffee maker?

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