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.
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.
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She received the most wonderful reply:
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Dolores now lives in a mansion and drives a Lamborghini.