Presents of Mine


My wife is still furious about Valentine’s Day.  Not because I forgot the holiday,  a holiday that causes otherwise reasonable fellows to make last-minute dashes to the nearest gas station for the perfect present that says "I love you" (such as a NASCAR keychain fob).  No, my wife is irate because I bought her a present.   Let me explain.


 I have an affliction, a disorder, a handicap:  I have trouble choosing presents.   Oh, I’ve sought help--books, workshops, therapy-- nothing pans out.  My therapist thought I was making progress and encouraged me to buy a Valentine's gift this year.  I was apprehensive, but decided to give it a try even though my wife had not forgiven me for buying her a baseball cap with attached radio and a Hooter’s t-shirt for our anniversary.


I was nervous but began to relax as I performed my pre-shopping rituals that included deep breathing, meditation, and stretching.  In thirty minutes, I was loose, limber, and lucid (the three L’s of shopping).  Later, I realized one of my mistakes (besides listening to my therapist) was shopping at a club store where everything is in bulk.  But my love for my wife is a bulky love so  I searched the warehouse until  I found the one thing  I knew  would delight my beloved.


When I proudly gave my wife the present, she eyed me and the package with weary suspicion, like a judge staring at a repeat offender.  After prodding her several minutes, she eventually opened my gift of love.  Intuitively, I sensed she was a bit disappointed.


"What the hell is wrong with you?!" she said as she heaved the ten-pound bag of chicken wings at my head.


I’m not the only one in my family with the unpropitious gift-giving gene.  My Uncle Roland was infamous for his ill-conceived offerings, offerings such as ceramic banjos and lavender boxing trunks with “The Assassin” emblazoned on the seat.  However, his generosity came to an end at the last family reunion when several members became ill after contracting E. coli from his gifted abstract mud sculptures. 


Now, I fear I may have passed the unfortunate gene to my young son.  The other day he presented me and my wife with some pathetic contraption he called a “boat.”  My wife told him it was the best boat she had ever seen.  I was dumbfounded.  I couldn’t believe my wife would become enraged when given gift-wrapped chicken wings for Valentine’s Day and yet become enamored with my son’s deformed boat, which probably wouldn’t even float.


“That probably wouldn’t even float,” I said as I snatched the pitiful thing away from my startled son.  I raced to the bathroom and dropped the boat in the toilet.  As I suspected, it sank like a ceramic banjo.


“What the hell is wrong with you?!” my wife said as she hugged our crying son.


Don’t be surprised if he needs therapy after giving his spouse a neon futon for Valentine’s Day.