We have a few rules in our house when it comes to accepting gifts, and when I say “we” I mean “I” because it is “I” who makes these rules in this house and it is “they” who break them. Repeatedly.
But I have to admit, they usually don’t break the gift acceptance rules because if they do, I am all NO SOUP FOR YOU.
If you never watched Seinfield, that sentence will make absolutely no sense whatsoever. What’s with you not watching Seinfeld anyway? Did your mama not raise you right?
The gift acceptance rules are the same for Christmas, anniversaries, birthdays or any occasion when a gift is customary. These rules apply equally to all members of this household regardless of their status as spouse, child, relative or person of interest and I mean that last one in a totally non-homicide-suspect kind of way.
However, for the sake of simplicity and because I don’t want this post to be longer than my leg hair, I will use Nate’s birthday as an example.
By the way … infractions are not tolerated. Violators will be punished including, but not limited to, a time-out, a formal written apology or possible castration. It depends entirely on what side of the bed I fell off of that morning, subsequently careening to my near death. And, on my ability to hyperbolize.
Rule #1, also known as BIG MAMA: You are not allowed to search for your gift. You are not allowed to even entertain the thought of searching for your gift. Your birthday is not an Easter egg hunt and I am not the Easter Bunny, despite the strong resemblance. I spend way too much time agonizing over color, size, style and whatnot of whatever it is I’m choosing as a gift for you to have it all ruined by some Sherlock Holmes wannabe with a bloodhound complex. Waaay too much time. Time that I could have spent watching Detective Stabler flex his tattoos on SVU or maybe even fixing dinner for you, if I happened to be in a magnanimous mood that day. So if I even think that you have been snooping, I will take your gift back from whence it came faster than you can say Bob’s your uncle. I don’t care if it’s a CD bought online or a brand spankin’ new shiny baby from my nether regions. Believe you me, I am not above walking my ass all the way to Amazon.com or shoving a baby back into my uterus.
And yes, my uterus is out of commission so that second one might have been a bad example but YOU GET MY POINT.
By the way, for anyone who actually uses that phrase in real life, what if Bob is not your uncle? What then?
Rule #2: You are not allowed to buy yourself anything for the six months preceding your birthday. You are the hardest person to buy for this side of the Milky Way and nothing bursts my bubble faster than you buying something that I already have hidden under that fugly blanket in my trunk. And nothing bursts my bubble harder than you paying twice as much as I did for that very same item because you neglected to price shop while you were in the throes of stealing my thunder.
I typed that really loud. It is the sound of my bubble bursting.
Rule #3: You are not allowed to comment on the wrapping paper. It is not my fault that your mom and dad decided to get busy in late February and have you sometime between the turkey and the pumpkin pie. In this house, once Gobble, Gobble, Gobble is done and gone, it’s nothing but HO HO HO from here on in.
Rule #4: Somewhat related to rule #1 in that when you see your present, you are not allowed to guess it by its wrapper. How do you know it’s not really an air compressor? I am a master of deception, a phenom of illusion. You should know this. You don’t see my waist, do you?
Rule #5: I MEAN IT. Just be grateful it wasn’t a puppy.
Rule #6: You must give me your undivided attention for at least three minutes while I enthrall you with my recitation of (1) how I decided upon this gift; (2) how I searched for three years for this gift, even though I didn’t know you wanted it until last week; (3) how the salesman at Dick’s Sporting Goods was either lonely, insane or suffering from a skull fracture because he would not stop talking to me and insisted on following me around the putters, telling me about his handicap; (4) how I meant handicap as in “golf” handicap and not in any physical disability like a possible skull fracture; (5) how there’s nothing wrong with the salesman having skull fracture because people with skull fractures need jobs too; (6) how does the salesman work with a skull fracture? (7) do skull fractures hurt? How do you know? Have you ever had one? Then how do you know? and finally (8) how you can return my gift if you don’t like it, even though it would be a completely heartless thing to do, but don’t worry about me, I’ll just deal with it in therapy so you just go ahead and find every one of my feelings and stomp them all to bits.
During this entire dissertation, your expression must convey nothing but complete rapture. No blinking.
Your expression here? It doesn’t convey overt rapture so much as irritable bowel syndrome. And you blinked.
Rule #7: Once I stop talking, you must smile to communicate your awe of my remarkable intuition and then profess your gratitude at having received the ultimate, perfect gift.
Rule #8: Until you finish re-finishing our stairs, you must not utter one word, nay one syllable, about the sawdust on the floor under the shelves in the foyer and please stop reminding me not to step on the stairs because they are tacky as I already know they are tacky and the reason I know they are tacky is because I remember you told me they are tacky more times than I actually care to remember. They’re tacky. Got it.
Rule #9: That I wish you a very very happy birthday and that you never forget how much I love you.
Rule #10: That you remember rule #9 when and if you ever notice a size six footprint on the stairs.