Bad Gifts #1: Things with Sayings
It’s almost Christmas. And it’s no secret that 1981-Angie was all about the presents. So this week, I’ll be sinking to the darker depths of shallow than even a six-year-old can plunge.
Because I’m not only focusing this holiday week on presents, I’ll be counting down the worst ones.
And I know a thing or two about bad presents. I’ve received many. Many, many, many. And I’ve given my fair share of them too.
Today’s bad gifts: Things with sayings.
I’m talking things that are printed with try-to-be-clever sayings of any sort. I’m talking things no one would ever want for themselves. But I’m talking things everyone loves buying for other people. Especially for Christmas.
Kiss the cook and then kiss my grits. Menopause is not for wimps. Are we having fun yet? My other car is a Chevy truck. Caffeine is my BFF . . . just sayin! Shih Tzus are angels with fur.
Typically these adorable sayings will be spotted on coffee mugs or throw pillows or wall plaques or picture frames or beer koozies or androgynous sleepwear (in the case of the menopause gift line).
But those gifts may also take the form of:
Passive aggressive jabs at family members. (Unfortunately, the Snoopy line of college dorm decor didn’t include the slightly less subtle “Can’t you get up before noon just once, you lazy hippie?” Or the even more direct “Stop smoking pot.”)
And gotcha interpretations of children’s feelings about life. (Correction: bedtime was the pits. And then I got this nightgown. Gee whiz — now bedtime is fun!)
One of the worst of these gifts was given to me when I was five. “Worst” because it cut me right to the bone. And that’s about all I was back then. Bone, blond hair and scabs.
That Christmas, my Aunt LaVonna had purchased all dozen-some grandchildren their very own Fonzie-style plastic handled combs — just like all of the cool kids carried in 1980.
These combs were perfect for sliding into the sculpted back pocket of your Jordache jeans. Perfect for picking out undissolved Pop Rocks from your teeth in a pinch. Perfect for feathering the sides of your hair in the bathroom of the roller rink — just in time for the spotlight couple skate to Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.
To make the gifts even better, all of the grandkids had their names printed on their combs. Oh joy! Somehow my Aunt LaVonna found combs with everyone’s names. That even included my brother Tony. Okay, actually his comb might’ve said Anthony or maybe even Tony the Tiger. But I would’ve given anything for Amy or maybe even Andy.
Because there was no Angie comb. Nope. All sold out. Not even an Angela to be had. So instead, when the other cousins were off enjoying their redefined sense of identity, I got a comb that stated No Cavities.
To add salt to the wound, I had at least three. Three ready-to-fill cavities and counting. And I could remind myself this every time I feathered my hair in the roller rink bathroom — feathered hair now being the only thing I had going for me in this world, what with my teeth all rotted out.
Because, as you guessed, 1981-Angie was all about the candy too.