Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Gift That Keeps On Giving You The Heebie-Jeebies

Delight is an expression fraught with peril. Children are capable of displaying genuine delight (when told on a long car trip you are immediately stopping for ice creams, for example), but it takes many years of less thrilling treats for an adult to perfect the rictus smile of faux delight.

For those unfamiliar with what this looks like in the wild, try presenting “your friends on moving day with this palate-tickling Mushroom Spaghetti Sauce in a jar decorated with various shapes of pasta.” Your gift will elicit an exaggerated enthusiasm and wide smile. Your harried friend will tell you how amazingly useful it is and how much they will enjoy it later. She will spend precious time remarking on how long it must have taken you to glue all that pasta on so artfully and even ask what kind of glue you used. She will say “Wow.” She will thank you profusely and say she’s going to put it in a very special place so that none of the pasta gets broken.

What she really means is “Are you shitting me with this? An IKEA gift card didn’t occur to you? Can’t you see I’m up my neck in boxes? What an asshole; the least you could do is roll up your sleeves and get stuck in. Or bring me a six-pack of icy cold beers. Oh look! I just lost your number.”

Gifts From Your Kitchen, Better Homes & Gardens, 1976
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