When I was in 5th grade my grandmother came over for Xmas eve like every year with crappy presents in hand. She usually buys like 20 things from the dollar store for each of us (my two sisters and I) and then gives us each one decent present at the end. Well, it got to the end of the presents and we were all down to one last bag. My two sisters opened theirs first and got some sweet matching flannel PJ's. I was expecting the same and pretty excited considering I lived in pajamas. I open my bag to find a fun size bag of cheetos rubber banded to a can of diet caffeine free pepsi. And at the bottom of this bag, a shaker of garlic powder.
They weren't even wrapped, just thrown in a bag. I think she just forgot about me and five minutes before she left cleared out her pantry. Bravo, Grandma!
When I was about 12 my great Aunt gave me a framed, handpainted, several feet tall oil painting. A bad painting, of me, from a 4th grade school photo. With blue eyes - I have brown eyes. Hey, what 12 year old kid wouldn't want a portrait that looked somewhat like they used to a few years back?
What Rough Beast
Christmas of senior year in high school, a friend of mine got one suitcase, so he could pack up and move out after graduation.
Noxin of Shame
One year I bought my sister some goldfish. I wrote out this little card saying I hope that these fish symbolize your relationship with your fiance.
I forgot to put the goldfish in the bag into the water first, and just dumped them straight in, and put it under the tree.
One was already dead come morning, and the other lasted 2 days.
I got a Barbie doll! Yay!
Except, you know, I'm a guy. My post-toddler self and my twin brother were obviously not happy that our grandmother lacked gender discrimination in this particular area. It has never been fully explained whether it was a joke, or they had not learned our sex by that time, but needless to say we did not like it all too much. We proceeded to take the typical course of action with Barbie dolls for six year olds: strip all the clothes off of it and hang it from the ceiling of our closet with one of those sticky gel strings.
Oh--and I feel that my sister's worst-present-ever should be mentioned here: one year, my grandma got her this... this thing. It serves no purpose, except to spread fear and ill-will throughout the house.
It consists of a two-foot-tall plastic ballerina that lifts her leg up behind her and spins around endlessly while red and yellow lights on the base of it make the thing look even more demonic than it does when it's off. To accompany the whirr of the little gears that spin this fucker around, we get to hear a really bad recording of the Nutcracker Suite or some shit. God help you if you turn this thing on in a dark room. Needless to say, soon as Grandma left, we stuffed it up into the back of the closet shelf and never let it out again.
It's still up there to this day, and Mom used to take it down every Christmas and make us set it up in the bedroom so that Grandma's feelings wouldn't get hurt. Jesus Christ; she probably doesn't even remember buying the thing!
My father always told me he didn't want anything for Christmas. When I was probably 12 I had the bright idea to wrap up an empty box. The look of disappointment on his face pretty much ended my childhood.
I was given this by my then siblings-in-law. While not directly responsible for the later divorce, it certainly didn't mitigate anything. Apparently I am "hard to shop for." I think it's still in the box someplace.
Yes, it's the perfect form for surviving a car crash. But it's also the perfect form for so much more, like surviving the trauma of reading any news headline in 2016.
It's just a little confusing, is all.
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