Five of the best gifts I've received
- My last year of college, I lived in an off-campus house with two women who I was not super-close with before our time as roommates, but whom I got to know better and better and had immeasurable amounts of fun with in the year that followed. In the first few weeks that we lived there, I taped a sheet of legal paper to our refrigerator to keep a record of all the amusing things we said to each other. I labeled it "Quotable Moments at 304 1/2 Fifth," and, though we were well aware that those moments were likely quotable and hilarious only to us, the list still amused us no end. We kept adding more sheets throughout the year, and, the weekend that two of us graduated, our remaining roommate photocopied each page, painstakingly cut each quote onto a separate sheet of paper, and pasted each quote onto a page in a blank book she purchased somewhere and presented it as a graduation gift to me. The inscription she wrote in the front was gift enough in itself: "To the wittiest woman I know. May your life be filled with quotable moments," she wrote. But even better was the fact that she preserved for posterity all of my memories in that house--memories that will mean nothing to any of the rest of you but that still make me laugh nonetheless. Memories like...
"I'm not going to suck your jug."
"It's an adventure of the mind and spirit, so maybe it will be fun!"
"Are my pants coming with me, or are they staying behind?"
"We pride ourselves on clean, well-maintained units."
"You could never be Miss Wisconsin."
"What do you mean 'naked'?" "I mean naked!"
"I can't drive if I'm lumpy."
"It's not tuna, but it's not apples."
"Not my Honeynuts!"
"Oh my gosh... These beans have good flavor!"
"The last thing I want to think about doing is going on a creative excursion with my authentic self."
"They're growin' arms... They're juicin' out like mad!"
"Woah. There's not a seat there."
"You jug-suckers and dust-blowers. Now you can see what I do!"
"I am not responsible for all mold!"
"I got a sliver from the library."
"The yack was there when I got home."
"You should never see a professor's feet."
"They're like... Petroleos."
Like I said... meaningless to most of you, but entirely priceless to me. (Thanks, Erin.)
- When I wrote that "What I think of first" post a couple weeks ago, I missed a really important one. I should have included, "Dale and Jenny give perfect gifts." Case in point, this trophy I received for my birthday four years ago. I had a bowling party that year (it was the year and the night I somehow claimed Shaniqua as my official Bowling Name), but I don't actually think the trophy had much at all to do with that event. For some reason, Dale had dubbed 2002 "The Year of Stef," which I suppose had something to do with including the year upon my trophy. I think, of course, that it would have been better to receive a "Best. Stef. Ever." trophy (those words, of course, individually punctuated just like Comic Book Guy but with less sarcasm and desperation). But it was a fine gift nonetheless, and I cherish it to this day.
- I already mentioned the lip balm my ex-boyfriend once bought me as being probably more significant than it should have been, but I still remember it as a sweet and (at the time) meaningful gesture nonetheless. I could name several other times when he got a gift "just right" as well, but I'd rather not go down that path just now.
- I am known among my friends for several things. "Not a cook" and "Not good with plants" are two of them. I think that, with the latter, I've gotten a bit of a bum wrap. I've been given a few plants as gifts that are apparently near-impossible to care for under anything less than the most ideal conditions, so I hardly think I should be held accountable for their demise. In my kitchen at the moment are two plants I have kept alive for a solid four years at least, but no one points to those in my defense. In any case, Dale and Jenny (the perfect gift-givers) brought me a plant for Christmas a few years ago, and, accompanying the plant was a Last Will and Testament for me to fill out. I named that plant (she was called Lily); I looked up care instructions on the Internet; I put her in sunlight and watered her on a regular schedule; and yet still, she lasted only a few months. That last will and testament might have been a self-fulfilling prophesy of sorts, but it amused me anyway. Oh, Lily; I hardly knew you, but you were a fine gift.
- I am having a hard time filling this last slot... I feel like I should go back further than four years and consider the gifts I got as a kid that were particularly memorable in some way. When I open up the category like that, though, it's even harder to narrow it down. Was it the Matchbox Burning Key Car that I hesitantly asked for (and received--gender roles be damned) circa Easter 1984? Or maybe the giant, decapitated Barbie head for hair-styling and makeup-applying on which I learned to do a French-braid? Or possibly it was the electronic Battleship game that my little sister and I still wanted to play just a few Christmases ago but which died a sudden and disappointing death on her first fire that night. So many choices; I just can't decide; so I'm going to leave it at that.
I'm out of here for a few days, as I suspect many of the rest of you are as well. Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it, and I'll catch you sometime next week.
* OK, this subject line really isn't true at all, but I have to admit to someone (and therefore I will admit to the Internets at large) that, every time I see that damn "Ch-ch-ch-Chia!" commercial on TV, I think, "You know? That Chia Elephant is actually kind of cute. Would it be wrong to have a Chia Elephant in my home, if only for its kitschy sort of charm?"
I did not put this on my Christmas list, despite the fact that I did actually add this little guy to said list and sort of do expect that one of my family members might have pity on my pathetic self and my poor plants and actually purchase it for me. But the Chia Elephant likely will not be found beneath my parents' tree, and I guess I am OK with that.