Tag Archives: gift

2712. The scimitar

I was given a wonderful scimitar for my birthday. It’s genuine apparently. It comes from somewhere in Asia or North Africa. It’s studded with jewels. The person who gave it to me said he’d found it in a second-hand store and that the jewels on it were paste. But I had a jeweller look at it and he said the jewels were priceless. Of course I won’t tell that to my friend who gave it to me. He’ll want it back.

The first thing I wondered once I knew it was real, was how many heads had it cut off? CHOP! Off comes the head. NEXT!

I suppose there’s no way of finding out. I did a bit of research but came up with nothing. What I did discover however was how to use the scimitar correctly. It’s all in the way it’s held and the angle and force of the stroke as it lashes the neck.

My friend who gave it to me said he found out the true value of it and wanted it back. I told him to go jump in the lake. Don’t be stupid, I said. As if I’d give back something that precious.

What a headless wonder!

2448.  I like to stay positive

The (I-would-imagine) expensive gift I got for my birthday from family is a monstrosity. When I was given it I actually said, “This is a monstrosity. Can’t you give me something decent for a change?” The grandkids (these days what grandkids are ever brought up right?) looked quite disappointed. Apparently they had made it themselves and the purchased stuff that went into making it would have cost a packet.

I said to my daughter, “Why the hell did you let your kids loose on such expensive stuff when you could’ve bought a professionally made one for half the price?” She said she thought I would like it more if the grandkids made it themselves. Fat lot she knows. She didn’t get that from me. That’s the trouble with modern kids; they go online and learn how to be rude. That’s about it.

I said to the grandkids, “You’ve got to have standards”. These days people judge the value of things not by whether it works but whether people they know have a better one. It’s so superficial. This monstrosity I’ve been saddled with is not half as good as what Ted down the road has. Mind you, Ted didn’t have his grandkids make it for him. But I don’t overly mind. I never wanted one in the first place, and I’ll chuck it away the minute my daughter takes her kids and leaves. Some people throw gifts away the minute they’re given them, but these people have no manners. I said as much to my grandkids. I said “I’m not chucking this monstrosity away until you go. You have to at least pretend to have some gratitude.” Someone has to teach these modern kids some standards.

So all in all it’s been a pretty lousy birthday for me. It always turns out disappointing and negative. Which is why I never celebrate my daughter’s or grandkids’ birthdays. One birthday a year is enough. And, you know, despite all my probing about the present, I still don’t know exactly what it is.

2075. Virginia’s chocolates

Virginia thought she would learn to make chocolates. Not chocolate, but chocolates – those things with something scrumptious like a nut or some fruit jelly encased inside. She had once read about it in a magazine but unfortunately she neither had the magazine nor too much of a memory as to what the magazine said.

But these days there was the internet. Everything could be found on the internet including the making of chocolates. She would find an easy method and follow it to a tee. It was like magic how the centre got into the chocolates, especially if the centre was runny. A nut could simply be dipped into melted chocolate, but runny stuff was another thing altogether. Virginia thought she would begin with a strawberry flavoured centre.

Part of the problem was that Virginia, in the main, was a terrible procrastinator. She would put things off, and put things off. This was not to be the case with her chocolate-making. She would aim to have little baskets of chocolates to give out this coming Easter. She couldn’t mess around. It was almost inevitable that the first chocolates she made would be a disaster, but perhaps by the second attempt she might produce something good enough to serve as an Easter gift.

Virginia went shopping with the list of things required. When it came to flavouring, she wondered, looking at all the options available in the supermarket aisle, whether she should make a variety of flavours and not just strawberry. There was strawberry, and raspberry, and apricot, and lemon, and orange, and… the choices went on and on. In the end, Virginia settled for strawberry and orange. Then there was the mould. She hadn’t realized there were so many shapes available. She chose moulds that were in the shape of vegetables: carrots and pumpkins and zucchinis and so on.

When she got home Virginia wonder if the vegetable shapes were appropriate for Easter. She should have got bunnies and cockerels and eggs. Not to worry – she would make do with what she had.

Anyway, that was last Easter. With Thanksgiving approaching Virginia still hadn’t made any chocolates, but the vegetable moulds would be more than suitable for Thanksgiving. Yes! She would make little baskets of chocolates to give out this coming Thanksgiving. Or perhaps Christmas. Christmas would be better. It was more of a chocolatey occasion than Thanksgiving.

1988. Granny’s gift

It was the year 2064. Mary (such an old-fashion, uncreative name for the 2060s) had come across some old (really old) family videos. They were in a box in the attic. At first she didn’t know what they were. Then a friend suggested they were videos and Mary spent quite some time going from expert to expert to find out how they should be played. Eventually a state-of-the-art studio managed to copy them for Mary onto her Clockdropia.

The first one she watched was labelled “The Family – 1991”. Mary didn’t recognize anyone in it, and presumed (even though the house with the attic where they were found had been in the family for generations) that the video was not of her own family.

The second video was more revealing. Mary recognized her late grandmother when her grandmother appeared to be in her teens. Grandmother was holding paper bags, and in them she said were wads of money. “Wads and wads of money. I’ll show you where I’m going to hide them so that a person in the future who finds and watches this video is welcome to get the money and become instantly rich!”

Would you believe! The paper bags were under a loose floorboard in the corridor cupboard. It was a miracle the house hadn’t burnt down accidentally or that the house hadn’t been sold or that someone hadn’t accidentally stumbled across the bags of money while returning the vacuum cleaner to the corridor cupboard. Mary went to the cupboard immediately.

There underneath the floorboards were bags. Inside each bag was an unbelievable pile of money. Mary counted it. It came to just over four hundred thousand dollars!

Goodness! It was 2064. What does one do with worthless paper money? Mary chucked everything into the dumpster.

1856. The fart cushion

Hilton was a little bit surprised when he opened his birthday present from Jude. Jude had been a life-long friend but lived far away. They still remembered each other’s birthdays and would send gifts through the mail. This year Jude had sent Hilton one of those trick fart cushions that you put on a chair and it sounds like someone farts loudly when they sit on it.

A fart cushion – or a whoopee cushion, whatever they’re called these days – was funny the first time; like back in 1842AD when Hilton saw (or rather heard) his first one. These days they were about as funny as a tetraplegic in a three-legged race. Why Jude had sent him one for his birthday was anyone’s guess.

Hilton wrote to Jude thanking him for his gift. Ha ha ha! said Hilton. It was great fun thank you. He fooled his three year old grandson who thought it was a scream. And so, Jude, it brought much joy on my birthday!

Hilton never worked out why Jude had sent him such a stale trick that was both useless and unfunny, and Jude never said. Which possibly explains why none of us, dear Reader, have the slightest clue either.

1836. Reap what you sow

Carol disliked Christmas immensely. It wasn’t because of people teasing her about her name, it was because everyone seemed to get Christmas presents and she didn’t get anything. All the other kids at school got presents, like Judith who got a doll when she already had one, and Marlene got a kitten.

It wasn’t because they were Jewish or anything either. Nor were they Christians. Her parents didn’t give her anything for Christmas but they seemed to go from one office Christmas party to another, and they even had a party at home with all sorts of decorations and lights and a tree.

On Christmas morning, no one pretended to come down the chimney, even though Carol left a peanut brownie that she had pinched from the cookie jar in the kitchen. But it was still there in the morning, and her parents slept in until eleven o’clock. To fill in the time waiting for them to get out of bed, Carol watched television on her own. And when they got up they never even said “Merry Christmas”.

“That’s because your parents are very busy,” said Marlene’s mother, Mrs. Brocklehurst. Carol spent quite a bit of time at the Brocklehurst’s house. Carol was dropped off there by her mother whenever she was having guests for an afternoon tea or dinner or something.

Anyway, that was years ago. These days Carol’s parents are in a retirement home. Carol’s mother is bed-ridden and her father is in a wheelchair. Carol never visits them. It’s not that she’s mean or anything; it’s just that it never occurred to her.

1814. So talented!

Charlotte didn’t have a single humdrum electron whizzing around in her brain. Her brain was on fire!

“You’re so creative, Charlotte,” people would say. “How do you come up with so many creative ideas?”

“I guess it’s a natural gift one is born with,” said Charlotte, and she would return to the painting she was painting, or the music for the Irish harp she was playing, or the sundial she was installing in the garden.

“Everything you touch turns to gold, Charlotte,” people would say. “You definitely have the Midas touch.”

“I don’t do anything to encourage it,” said Charlotte. “Things just come naturally to me,” and she went back to baking her Baked Alaska for she was have important friends over for dinner, or back to the rug she was weaving, or back to the dress for a niece’s doll she was sewing, or back to making homemade candles for a friend’s 30th birthday, or back to the lines she was learning for a dramatic production.

The extolling of Charlotte’s talents among her peers was like a mantra; it repeated itself over and over. “It’s sad you can’t find a job in this small town,” someone said. “Why don’t you move to the big city where your talents would be put to good use?”

So Charlotte moved to the big city in search of a job. What a relief! Quite frankly, Charlotte had driven everyone in the small town nuts.

1685. A wonderful Christmas gift

You’ve no idea the trouble Ivy went to, to get twelve lovely photographs of the wonderful family who lived next door. There were five in the Winchcombe Family: Mum, Dad, and their three beautiful daughters. The Winchcombes were about as ideal next door neighbours as one could hope for. And every Christmas they would bring Ivy a basket of the tastiest homemade shortbread possible. Glorious!

The trouble was that Ivy always had trouble knowing what best to give them in return. She’d done chocolates at least five times. And then she got this idea. Wonderful!

She would get a calendar printed with a different family photograph each month of the year. Ivy started early gathering the photographs together. It was a difficult task because she didn’t want to let her secret out. The photos were perfect. There was a beautiful one of the family gathering mushrooms in a green field. Another shot was of the family at a fair ground. The loveliest photograph of all was an official portrait taken of the family sitting on a rug in front of a lake. With swans. And trees. And flowers. And… oh lovely! Just lovely!

Ivy was so pleased with the calendar when it was finished that she couldn’t wait to give it to the family. But she must be patient. She mustn’t jump the gun. Only a week to go!

And then the three girls called in with a basket of Christmas shortbread and said that their parents were getting a divorce.

1303. Jolly heck

Verna was very artistic. She dabbled in painting with water colours, although she wasn’t terribly good at it. She modelled pots and characters (mainly little piglets) out of clay, although she wasn’t terribly good at it. She composed little songs about life and its hassles, although she wasn’t terribly good at it.

What she was good at was the envy of all who knew her. She could take ordinary everyday things like rocks and pinecones and driftwood and seashells, and glue them together to make the most wonderful three-dimensional works of art. Verna was a natural. Her creations sold for hundreds – and hundreds. Verna made lots of them for sale, although not enough to glut the market. Too many would cheapen their value. She also taught night classes on how to creatively glue together stuff you had found, and although her students were enthusiastic, no one matched the artistic prowess of Verna.

Verna would also occasionally give her creations away as gifts. In fact, one week she gave two away to be sold; one to the Sisters of Divine Mercy who ran a hospice, and one to the Heart Disease Research Foundation.

Sister Mary of the Southern Cross thought it was awful. What are we meant to do with bits of junk glued together? she asked. She chucked Verna’s creation onto a passing trash collector’s truck, and wrote a lovely letter to Verna. So sweet of you. So sweet.

The Heart Disease Research Foundation sold their gift and got just over one hundred and fifty thousand. It was a record. It could be said that Sister Mary of the Southern Cross was rendered speechless, but that was not exactly true. She kept saying Jolly heck. Something like that.

1207. An unexpected Christmas gift


Dolores got a most unexpected Christmas present the day after Christmas last year. It was an email that read:

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Partially annoyed, Dolores clicked on it and responded with equal nonsense:

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She received the most wonderful reply:

Hi Dolores, Your response to our spam was perfect. We here at Anonymous Spammers dot Anonymous wondered if you would like to join our team? The pay is excellent.

Dolores now lives in a mansion and drives a Lamborghini.