It’s the thought that counts.

I do not deny that I am difficult to buy for. If there’s something I want, I get it for myself. But I am learning that when a family member asks for gift ideas, it is in my best interest to pony up. Otherwise, I run the risk of receiving the same kinds of things I have received in past years:

  • A big Pepto-Bismol pink calculator made of flexible plastic that one can roll up like a sleeping bag (or use as a sleeping bag, for that matter). I’m contemplating busting out this bad boy during my Monday morning project status meeting. Palm Pilot, be damned.
  • Three days of the shits (aka a chub of summer sausage). I can now attest that The Burning Ring of Fire has nothing to do with rings or fires.
  • A series of religious novels about a ragtag band of Quakers (at least, this is what I think the books are about, given the cover art). C’mon people. Perhaps I was not clear. I do not read anything that does not feature a de-frocked maiden, assless chaps or a naughty vicar on the cover.
  • A gently used Tupperware container. OK, so I received this for my wedding. But I could not pass up the chance to call this to your attention. It was USED, with scratch marks and everything. It was my “something borrowed.” I don’t know what’s worse — the fact that someone gave me used Tupperware, or the fact that it’s currently in my fridge, filled with sweet potatoes.
  • His and her copies of “The Purpose Driven Life” (one for me, one for untitledhusband). Duly noted, people. Duly noted. But I can assure you that I indeed have a purpose, and right now, it has more to do with the battery-operated device in my bedside table than it does with this shitty-ass tome.
  • A t-shirt with a blurry photo of untitledson ironed onto it that says “I love my Mom.” While I couldn’t bring myself to throw away anything with my son’s face on it, this creation did inspire me to make a t-shirt for untitledhusband — one that features MY face on it. I make him wear it to work on casual Fridays, that is, when I’m not using his lifeless ballsack as a coin purse.
  • A teddy bear wearing what can only be described as a blue doiley, a faux pearl necklace and matching earrings. The creature came perched in a little wicker chair and looked like a crusty old drag queen who’d spent the entire weekend smoking Misties and watching the Bette Davis movie marathon on Turner Classic Movies. And here I thought bears plugged their buttholes with pine needles and hiberated during the winter. Oh wait, that’s me.
  • Enough black soot to soil every wall in our home (aka an industrial-sized box of vanilla scented candles from the dollar store). We use them to light up our jack-o-lanterns during Halloween.

Given my past luck, I left no room for error this year. I was specific. I asked for a set of Lancome makeup brushes (which I got), a giftcard to a specific salon (which I got), a hand blender (did not get), a sports watch (did not get), and any of the Post Secret books (did not get). But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit weepy about not receiving crocheted can coozies or season six of “Murder, She Wrote.”

A little holiday mommadrama.

One week out from Christmas, and the flurry of cards is starting to come in. My personal favorites are the ones where they simply sign their name. What, no letter? No picture? People, seriously. Don’t even bother wasting good postage on that shit.

As verbose as I can be, it may come as a surprise that untitledmother is one such name-signer. Last year, she sent a Christmas card featuring nothing more than her name and a gold-embossed baby Jesus. Talk about the odd couple.

So there he was, a clearly Caucasian, clearly 6-month old baby lying naked in a bed of hay. I mean, let’s be honest. A baby with that kind of girth could never squeeze through a woman’s cooch, even if it belonged to one blessed virgin. Between this and the cradle of hay, it’s all the proof I need that the Bible is a sham. It would take all the Desitin in the world to un-chap baby Jesus’ ass. Unless, of course, being the son of God and all meant he would never be burdened with such mortal irritations. But then what about the nails in the hands and feet and that bloody crown of thorns? What were those, if not huge motherfucking mortal irritations? But I digress.

This year, she decided to give the Christ child a rest (a much-needed sabbatical, I might add) and pull some holiday ha-ha squarely out her ass:

What about me?  Where are my presents?  Sorry, you're ugly.

Now, from anyone else, this card would be hilarious. But coming from her, I immediately start looking for the hidden Satanic backmasking track. And then it came to me — this was a cry for help. She had been depressed lately, which wasn’t a huge surprise to me. Her weight had increased to 240 pounds, which is a lot for someone who is 4’11”. Her legs are sand-crab skinny, and although I have never measured it, I can confidently report that the circumference of her neck is more than likely greater than that of her head. Her proportions are such that she could dress up as a plumb bob for Halloween wearing nothing more than what’s already in her closet. To top it off, she teases her thinning bleach-blonde hair into this shell-like formation that hovers defiantly above her scalp. A few spins in a department store’s revolving door and I’d dare you to deny the resemblance to one of those troll dolls.

Now that you have a visual cemented in your brain, her Christmas card takes on new meaning, doesn’t it? Don’t you all of a sudden feel bad for her, as if she was that poor little man on the rooftop? I no sooner had pulled her card out of the envelope when I picked up the phone to call her. True, she has dumped a lot of shit on me in the past, but I wanted to make sure she was OK. I wanted her to know that even if she was one beanie shy of becoming Humpty Dumpty, by god her daughter would come through. When she answered, the first thing she said was, “Did you get my card?” I replied, “Yes, Mom, I did.” Before I could extend even a singular word of support, she blurts out, “Now I hope I didn’t hurt your feelings with that card. It was meant to be funny.” Oh snap!

All this goes to prove one point. Physically, my mom may be ugly. But her most ghastly feature is that which you cannot see.