Admit it, how many of you saps out there have fallen for the ole "banana in the tailpipe" routine during Christmas? Don't play stupid with me; that's usually my role and I know when the guys out there are being timid. I'm referring to the ploy usually taken by the spousal unit where upon she gets you to agree to NOT exchanging gifts during the Holiday Season. Yep, I thought so...it happens quite frequently. It happened to me last year.
It wasn't the first time where I fell victim to the cunning and manipulative mind that is Claudia Laugisch and I thought she really meant it when she said, "don't get me anything." Valentine's Day of 2005 was one of those occasions where she stated this; this particular day comes right after the holidays and we just didn't have a whole lot to spend on each other. I knew even the slightest gesture was better than nothing and even though we weren't exactly swimming in dough I said, "what the hell" and got her some candy, flowers and a Neil Diamond cd. I was proud of myself...until she handed me my Valentine's bag. I was thinking how sweet it was of her to get me some candy and a card. Oh yeah, there was candy and a card alright...not to mention the 1983 Sports Illustrated Collectors edition of NC STATE's National Basketball Championship. You know the one with Sidney Lowe, Thurl Bailey and Derek Whitenburg on the cover. It was in mint condition; she bid for it on eBay. I wanted to stab an ice pick in my throat and Needless to say, the Niel Diamond cd resides in my truck.
Fast forward to last Christmas. A very similar scenario, trying to make ends meet and our budget is just a little tight...she suggests questionably, "lets not exchange gifts this year?" I eye her quizzically and my mind races back to the shattered and broken carcass of my psyche after the Valentine's Day massacre in 2005, "Are you sure about that?" I ask. She is quite adamant in her response and I think nothing of it as we found ourselves completely swamped trying to prepare for Christmas, a wedding and working our asses off. Last year was one of those weird years where we were extremely busy in December.
We spent the joyous occasion at Claudia's sister's place in DC as we usually do. It's Christmas morning and the kids, Max and Joe are making out like bandits with their gifts and it's a special year as Brenda and Pete have welcomed baby Evie to their family the previous July and it's her first Christmas. I'm having a great time watching the kids and Max hands me a present to open. I look at it and see the card, it read, "To Mark, From Claudia." You can well imagine my shock of seeing this present before me, especially as it was the last one under the tree. There I am, with her family starring at me as I open the gift...I'm praying that it's underwear, a tie, anything that says "inexpensive and frugal" so I can play it off like it's no big deal.
It was a surreal moment as I pealed back the wrapping and lifted up a box that read, "GARMIN." I was hoping like hell that somehow a large elephant would suddenly appear and trample around the room just so the focus wasn't on me. Can someone say, "Awkward??" It's been said, "that which does not kill you can make you stronger," really applied that day. Claudia knew I was embarrassed and gave me a wide berth and incredibly, I was saved by the fact that Claudia's gift from her sister was a Kindle book reader and she was so consumed with it that she didn't focus on the fact that her worthless husband of 20 years didn't get her a Christmas gift!!
Let this be a lesson for all you men. A woman that you deeply love is going to approach you and tell you that it's ok if you don't get her a gift for Valentine's Day, or for her Birthday and yes, even Christmas. She's not a guy or a close friend you were in combat with who would be thrilled with a just a six pack under the tree...she's woman...which means your going to be fighting a losing battle if your trying to read her mind or even understand her. Get her the gift and make it special...it doesn't matter if she doesn't get you anything...you just make sure that something for her is under that fricken tree!!
As for me, Claudia hasn't kicked me to the curb yet...which means she's either gotten over last year's debacle or she is allowing me to redeem myself this coming Christmas. She damn sure won't be getting a Mercedes Benz...but it will be significant enough that I might be able turn the tables on her this year with a little one-upsmanship. Ain't Love Grand? Take care everyone and have a safe and wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.