The missus and I have an anniversary coming up in a couple of weeks, and it’s kind of a doozy. Not a ‘years-ending-in-zero’ doozy — we’ve had one of those already — but a reasonably big one. Let’s just say that if I were to forget and spend the day sitting on the couch in my underpants watching Archer reruns and saying, ‘Gosh, why so fumy, hon? This is funny stuff!‘, there’d be consequences.
Consequences and repercussions.
Happily, I’m unlikely to forget our anniversary. For one thing, I’m sweet like that. For another, I just told the three of you, so you can nudge me if I should tip over into apparent self-absorbed marital forgetfulness. Also, I taped reminders inside the back of all of my boxer shorts.
(In retrospect, I should maybe have taped those to the outside or the front of those boxers. Then I’d see them right away if I wind up watching cartoons on the Big Day.
I’d write myself a note to switch the reminders around. But now I don’t know where the hell to put it. Marriage is hard.)
Unhappily, I don’t know what the hell I’m going to get her. We keep these occasions relatively low-key, but I think I need to make at least a little splash this time. A pack of Juicy Fruit and a ‘nice to wed ya!‘ probably isn’t going to cut it. And she knows where my testicles sleep. It’s time to tread carefully.
“My presents usually look like footballs packed in mashed potatoes, papered over by a one-legged ostrich. With Parkinson’s. Wearing a mitten.”
The suggested lists of anniversary presents are crap for this year — absolute crap. The ‘traditional’ gift is crystal — and I don’t even know what that means. In my world, ‘crystal’ is an adjective — crystal ball, crystal clear, Crystal Light, The Crystal Method. I don’t know how to wrap an adjective and tie a big fancy bow around it.
(To be fair, I don’t really know how to wrap actual noun-part-of-speech gifts, either. My presents usually look like footballs packed in mashed potatoes, papered over by a one-legged ostrich. With Parkinson’s. Wearing a mitten.
But I can pay somebody to wrap the hell out of that stuff. Or at least to maybe cut the ostrich some toe-holes.)
Clearly, ‘crystal’ isn’t going to help me.
The ‘modern’ list is even more useless — watches. Not because it’s not specific enough or the wrong part of speech or a bad idea in general. It’s just a bad idea for me.
I’ve bought my wife a watch before, you see. A nice watch — not outrageously overdone or expensive, but certainly elegant and classy. A shining example of fine Bolex craftsmanship. It was a few years back. She seemed very excited to get it, and I think she really liked it.
She lost it.
It got snagged getting off the subway or running to catch a cab or something; she didn’t notice, and it was gone. She seemed pretty upset about it, but I smoothed her hair and told her not to worry. It was the simplest little thing in the world to fix. I’d just go back down to that big fancy jewelry store downtown — and then around the corner behind the dumpster, where the guy sells watches out of the back of his van — and I’d get her another one. And soon enough, I did.
She lost it.
We didn’t go through a lot of rounds of this — the guy’s van was only so big, after all — but it gradually became clear that my wife is simply not meant to wear certain things on her wrist. Anything wispy or delicate or with a little flimsy clasp — it’ll be gone within a week, snagged or unhooked or yanked off while her attentions are elsewhere occupied. Fancy watches, tennis bracelets, medic alert tags — they’re all off-limits at this point. She wears a sturdy — but feminine — and fairly plain watch these days, which she presumably picked out on the basis of its hermetically-sealing molecular-bonded SecurAll combination clasp. But she requested a long time ago that I refrain from trying to adorn her wrists, lest she feel bad for losing gifts or we dive deep into debt to the ‘Pulova’ corporation.
(To be fair, she’s had about the same amount of non-luck in buying watches for me. Not because I lose them — I just won’t wear them.
The last watch I wore regularly was a self-winding number with a plain brown leather strap. I put it on most every day for two or three years — until the strap gave out. Now, I don’t know nothin’ ’bout restrappin’ no watches. And what am I going to do, take my half-assed used Tinex TineKeeper downtown to the fancy watch
shop VW Mini and say, ‘Can you please wrap some cowhide around my ghetto broken-down watch face, mister?‘
They’d laugh me right off the curb. I’ve seen kids with an armful of SillyBandz look down their nose at that watch. The Swatch crowd would get together and hoot at it, probably — if they weren’t all busy aging badly and pretending they never spent a full summer memorizing all the lyrics to ‘Safety Dance’.
My wife took the opportunity to buy me a replacement — a man’s watch, the kind my father used to wear with the expand-o metal band and a big thick solid face and Swiss movements and German styling and probably the French or the Portuguese or the Belgians had something to do with it, too. All of Europe made this watch. It may well have been one of the continent’s greatest achievements — fine wines, Heidi Klum and this watch.
I wore it once.
It was just heavy and bulky and by that point, I was really enjoying not having something strapped hard onto my wrist all day. So I gave it a shot, thanked her sweetly, and put the watch away in a desk drawer. It’s still in there — I see it occasionally, when I’m looking for an old receipt or the stapler or I can’t find the checkbook. It’s a beautiful watch. It’s just not going to happen.)
So I’m basically screwed. I can’t use the suggestions, I can’t give her nothing, and I’m just not smart enough to come up with the right gift on my own. It seems I’ve got no choice. I’ll buy her that pack of gum, wrap it up like a crack-addled four-year-old, and send my testicles off to a safe house for a few weeks until things blow over.
Did I mention marriage is hard? Marriage is HARD.Permalink | 3 Comments