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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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O Henry? Oh, Brother!

The missus and I recently celebrated our wedding anniversary. We’ve been married for eleven years now; for a while, we tried to follow the ‘traditional’ gift ideas suggested each year.

Yeah. That didn’t last long.

Oh sure, the first year is ‘paper’, which is fine. You can buy books, or tickets, or all sorts of other pulp-prepped pretties. Then there’s stuff like ‘cotton’, which gets you clothes or sheets or something, ‘flowers’ (duh), and ‘wood’. Who wouldn’t like a nice set of shelves, or a new baseball bat? How much more romantical and shit can you get?

“Who wouldn’t like a nice set of shelves, or a new baseball bat? How much more romantical and shit can you get?”

But after a half-dozen years or so, the so-called experts run out of good ideas. On the list for year nine is ‘willow’. Willow? I don’t know whether they mean the movie or the tree; all I know is that I don’t want either as an anniversary present. And neither, I suspect, does my wife.

From there, it’s all downhill on the traditional gift list. I haven’t looked lately, but the last few years were just ludicrous. They want us to celebrate our bonds of marriage with crap like ‘feldspar’, ‘sock puppets’, ‘lighter fluid’, or ‘sawdust’. Something like that, anyway. Like I said, I haven’t looked in a while.

Anyway, we decided to forgo the tradition a few years ago, so we could actually get and receive presents we actually want. Usually it works out great. This year… well, we’re getting there. Eventually.

For my part, I got the missus one of those fancy fruit-brand MP3 song gizmo thingies. She’s got a long bus-‘n’-train commute to work, so I figured a few tunes would make the time go faster. Now she can listen to something uplifting and motivational on the way to the office — like ‘Sixteen Tons’ or ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’. I’m just here to help.

My wife, sweetheart that she is, got me a GPS doodad for the car. It’s the perfect gift — I’m always getting lost, and when I do get lost, I always do the wrong thing to get back on track. If I miss making a left, I’ll take the next right to compensate and get way off track. If I miss a highway exit, I’ll do doughnuts through the next rest stop and hope it works itself out. And if I ever take the wrong road off a roundabout — well, let’s just say I hope the airbags still work. So you could say I’m a prime candidate for GPS assistance.

There’s just one little problem.

For nearly a week now — just about the entire interval since our anniversary, I haven’t actually seen my car. It’s in the garage, rendering my movements quite limited — and the GPS grounded.

Uh oh.

I know how these things work — this is just like that Gift of the Magi story. She gets me the sweet tool for the car, and then the car goes on the fritz. I get her a piece of stereo equipment for her commute, and… what? Her office moves across the street from our house? Boston digs up its subway system and fills in the tubes? She suddenly goes deaf?

Damn. I knew this anniversary present thing would bite in the ass eventually. I so should have given her the sock puppets instead.

Permalink  |  2 Comments

2 Responses to “O Henry? Oh, Brother!”

  1. Kerry says:

    my husband and i have eliminated this problem in our marriage. we don’t buy each other gifts. for anything. ever. saves us money, too.

  2. Mark says:

    If you’re right about your Gift Of The Magi curse then sock puppets could have preceded debilitating finger cramps for your wife. You wouldn’t want your wife’s fingers suddenly cramping at the drop of a hat.

    Or would you?

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