The rare double-post. I wonder if anyone actually goes back and reads past columns (entries?), and has no idea that I knocked two of these things out in one sitting. Actually, I wonder if anyone cares in the first place, let alone looking back.
There is nothing worse than the surprise gift. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the sentiment, the thought of someone seeing something and getting it for me, but something about it just always feels so wrong to me.
Throughout my life, especially as an only child, I've had a few surprise gifts sprung upon me. One that I remember vividly was School of Rock, a movie that I saw in theaters and might eventually pick up. Now, I'm a film snob, and demand that every DVD be Widescreen, as the director envisioned it. Full screen pan-and-scan is for pussies, and if you prefer that because you "don't like the black lines," go fuck yourself. I hope Scorsese shits in your mouth and breaks your "ready for TV" Goodfellas DVD and shoves the plastic into your pet's food bowl, so that they eat the shards and bleed internally, having a terribly slow and painful death as you hold your loved one in your arms and you can do NOTHING about it but cry. Once again, to reiterate, I have a thing for Widescreen.
My mom comes home one day and gives me School of Rock on DVD. As she hands it to me, all excited, I say, "oh, great, thanks," with the same enthusiasm you give your grandma when she gets you that youth large sweater that you've been getting since you became an adult extra-large. Then I saw the "FULLSCREEN" ebmlazened across the top, and I threw it down in disgust. "Fullscreen? Are you kidding me?" I know I'm being a dick here, but for the last 3 Christmases I have explicitly said Widescreen or bust. And that's not it.
Countless little trinkets have been purchased for me that I did not want, and I said so. "Why are you wasting your money," I would say. "It's not worth it. I appreciate the thought, but, stop." Then I got the, "you're an unappreciative little shit, you know that!" How am I a bad guy for not wanting something that I never wanted in the first place? I then learned to shut my mouth, keep the little trinkets, and then get darting comments about how my room was cluttered - full of all those worthless trinkets. I simply couldn't win.
The other awkward situation is when you get a gift from someone and you don't expect it, and have nothing to return the favor with. As I mentioned in a previous column, on my first (double) date, everyone went back to my house and pulled out gifts, without informing me of this gift exchange. I pulled out blank casette tapes and a wallet as my impromptu gifts, feeling like a scumbag from the sight of the first gift-wrapped product. Just recently, my friend Charlie got me a Christmas gift. It was a book, but more like a giant, Bible-thick tome, called Down and Dirty Pictures, about the 90s Indie film explosion.
He came to me saying it was a Christmas gift. My friends and I have never exchanged Christmas gifts. Hell, the only time we recognize birthdays is when our parents get us cards to give to our friends. It's veiled as if you bought it yourself, even when no one buys into that idea in the first place; we just like the money, who reads the byline? Now I'm in the unenviable position of oweing him something. He got something for another friend of mine, and we were discussing what we do now. Do we get him a gift? Is it too late? Should we both get him something? What do we get him?
The bottom line is this: just stop it. This is my gift to you.
I expect something in return, you cheap bastards.