I’ve been in “husband” boot camp for 32 years. There’s no graduation in sight.
The Bear has been doing her best to train me. But there’s just some shit that I will never get — like Christmas.
I really, really tried to get the right presents for her at the Yuletide. But that tide went out for good when the Boy was about 5.
It was getting close to Christmas, and I didn’t have any fucking ideas for the wife.
“I really want something that is original and says you care about me,” she may have said.
She was an expert at making mental notes of any small clues I might subconsciously drop. My wishes got filled every Christmas.
I get as much pleasure out of gift receiving (and giving) as most people get from washing windows. It’s dread and drudgery — it only feels good when it’s over…
She’s the exact opposite. On the receiving end, she was like a 7-year-old. Starting at Thanksgiving, she used to dig through the house, the garage and the shed until she found all of “her presents.”
She could “hide” a present next to the bed at my feet. And the only way I would find it is if I tripped over it.
She told me she threw out thousands of hints about what she wants. But you might as well have thrown out bread crumbs for bees, because I ain’t picking that shit up.
Deadline was coming, when a brainwave hit me.
We had just moved into a new house. The weather was cooling off, and we found the fatal flow in the design of our bathroom. It didn’t have a door.
The open space was fine for most of the year, but as the house temp dipped below 70, showers sucked. Stepping out was like taking a quick trip to Buffalo in January.
Like a lot of skinny women, the Bear was “always cold”. I would sometimes wrap her in an extra towel, as she shivered and stammered and cursed the hole with no door.
Christmas Eve came. I knew what to do. I went to Home Depot and got a space heater.
It’s thoughtful. It’s what she needs. It’s unique. It’s not something for me (my fat ass has 5 layers of blubber — I can tolerate temperatures like a Walrus). It will be a surprise!
Wrapped that shit myself and topped with a happy red bow.
Played tennis with a friend who asked about my Christmas “issues”.
“A space heater,” he said. “Are you fucking kidding?”
“No, it will be great,” I told him.
He shrugged and turned away — like he didn’t want to look into the eyes of the condemned. Fuck him — he’s just another of my idiot friends.
Christmas morning. We saved my present for last. She was happy and a bit perplexed because for the first time in years, she hadn’t located and deciphered all her gifts in advance.
She opened. I clapped…
She cried… and cried… and cried.
She went to her aunt’s house down the street and cried for a few more hours. She faked it through the Savage “dinner“, then went home and cried some more.
The tears stopped, but the feelings remained. It was weeks before she turned the damn space heater on. She used it twice before spring came.
The next winter, I pulled it out and caught her using the space heater on “cold” mornings. I said nothing.
It was two years before we could say “space heater” out loud again. After 5 years, the heater stopped working, we threw it away. Only then it became a running joke at Christmas.
A New Tradition
And we had a new Christmas tradition. Her trust was gone. That was the last time I went “Christmas Shopping”.
No more hints. No more guessing or hoping or fucking praying I would come through.
She sits me down at the computer. It’s open to a shopping cart filled with items at Amazon, or Bed Bath and Beyond, or some other website with pink shit all around the border. I enter my credit card and click submit.
“Merry Christmas honey.”
This year it got even better. She told me what she wanted, bought it on the iPad, and put the info in herself.
I was icing my knee and couldn’t walk across the room. She did use the credit card with my name on it… She didn’t want to have to buy her own Christmas present like a loser, for fuck’s sake.
Now that, my friends, is a Merry Fucking Christmas for everyone.