The Gift Exchange
In early December of this past year I was invited to attend a "holiday lunch party" in the courthouse with the judges, staff, prosecutors, and fellow public defenders who regularly work in the third floor courtrooms. The primary festivity was a white elephant/yankee swap (!)/dirty Santa/ whatever the hell you like to call it gift exchange with a $15 purchase limit. "Gag gifts" were encouraged. Being new to the scene, I really wanted to get the perfect gift. So, naturally, I waited until the night before the party and purchased a mountable bottle opener that looked like the head of a lion. I figured the $13 listed price was close enough to the limit, but was surprised to see such a sought-after item was in fact on sale for $8, barely half of the suggested limit.
The next day I arrived to work and realized that my cheap gift was also bag-less. Then the first blessing kicked in, a co-worker had a spare festive bag that they gave to me. The fleeting confidence that accompanied the bagging of the lion head quickly dissipated as the party began. I was seated on the far interior of a bench, which meant when it was my time to get up and get a gift I would have to either ass or crotch 5-6 people when trying to pass...not the best way to meet new people. Plus, as the first gifts were opened/stolen it quickly became apparent that $15 gift cards and booze were the standard gifts. Animal-themed trinkets were nowhere to be found.
I was completely overcome with dread, not only for when my shitty gift would be opened and scoffed at, but also for my uncomfortable journey to get a gift when my number was called. But then, just as before, blessings continued to flow. My friend next to me selected a huge bag that turned out to have a thoroughly-wrapped Kroger gift card in it. As soon as my number was called, I stole this gift and managed to retain it for the duration of the exchange. So not only did I not have to get up and make an awkward trek, I got a gift card to buy beer with and a huge bag to put another un-wrapped gift in (for an afternoon exchange I had also half-assed).
|Isn't she a beauty?|
I could not finish counting my lucky stars before I noticed someone grab my gift form the pile. I braced myself and expected "oh great, I got the worst fucking gift in the whole pile, I bet this only cost $8". Instead, almost as if it were sung by an angelic chorus,: "oh cool, a lion, I'm a Leo, no one better steal this from me!". There are 7 billion people in the world and the only one who would like that ridiculous gift received it.
This seems like an appropriate place for the story to end. How much more could a man possibly be blessed? Well, I found out today. This morning my wife was making out a grocery list and I wanted her to add beer to it. This would normally be a fairly standard request, but I have already purchased and consumed what the vast majority of people would consider to be "enough" beer this weekend. Justifying an additional brew purchase from the "money that goes to feed our family" would be tricky. So, I slyly offered up the gift card while asking for a 4 pack of Guinness cans (~$8.49) and 16 16 oz. Keystone Lights (~$13). She wrote it all down and NEVER ASKED HOW MUCH WAS ON THE GIFT CARD. So I managed to stock up on damn near $22 worth of brew in exchange for an $8 lion head bottle opener.