December 17, 2015

Strange Presents, Strange Responses

One of my favorite memories involves my late father.

He did a lot of strange things during the Christmas holiday that to this day still brings a smile to my face. For example, every Christmas morning, we couldn't open our presents until he came down fully dressed, usually in some kind of solid color turtleneck and world's most hideous pair of plaid pants. Almost every conceivable color known to man were woven into these pants.

Another example would be his Christmas grab bag gift.

When I was growing up, my family often hosted the Math/Computer Sciences Dept. Christmas party. Lots of people, lots of food, lots of Christmas carols. The highlight of the festivities was the Christmas grab bag. Everyone, save the new staff member, chose a number and got a gift.

The new staff member, though, got my father's gift, which was the highlight of the grab bag.

Why, may you ask, was this the highlight? Because my father basically gave the present from the world down below. Almost to a capital T, the new employee was never clued in about my dad's gift, so when he/she received it, they initially wondered what all the hub-bub was.

Until they tried to open it.

Ya see, my dad used everything under the sun to wrap this (usually) small gift: multiple layers of wrapping paper, newspaper, scotch tape, string, and newspaper bundle straps (those plastic bands that keep newspaper bundles together). So quite often it would take the poor newbie about fifteen to twenty minutes to unwrap his gift.

The reason why I bring this up is because the other day {12/16} I was listening to the radio when I caught the last minute or so of a Jethro Tull song, Cross-Eyed Mary. The song immediately got me to thinking about a Christmas present I gave to a best friend some twenty-five years ago and the troubled response that I got for it.

That year I gave my friend an LP (yeah, they had those back in the day), and I thought it would be a very cool gesture on my part to one, wrap it like my father did, and two, put something cute on each subsequent layer.

Problem was, I didn't know what to add. Until I happen to glance at my original copy of Jethro Tull's Aqualung album and found on the back cover, some fascinating liner notes. Specifically, nine verses of prose that were written (more likely than not) Ian Anderson. So with each layer of paper, I added a verse in reverse, and about an hour later, I had all nine verses in proper sequential order.

Come Christmas day, my friend opened his present, and read one verse out loud (out of order I'm guessing), and basically skimmed the rest. However, that one verse apparently upset his mother, who being a somewhat devout Catholic, took serious offense at what I wrote. I believe that for quite a while afterwards, she was very annoyed with me, because she believed (wrongly, but she didn't really know me that well) that I was somewhat cavalier about religion.

While that wasn't the strangest response I received to one of my gifts, it was one of the most negative. So my question to you is this: what's the strangest gift you've given someone, and did that evoke an equally strange response.

For those of you who are interested on what those line notes were, please click on this link to my adult blog (if you can) to read what all the hub-bub was about. Personally, liner notes/pictures are one of the best things to an LP. Instantly visible and it makes it ridiculously easy to decide on whether or not want to part with your hard earned dollars.

(c) 2015 BOOKS BY G.B. MILLER. All Rights Reserved.

16 comments:

  1. If I'd gone to that much trouble unwrapping a gift, I'd expect the keys to a Jag inside.
    I gave my wife a screaming monkey one year. You flung him and he screamed. She thought it was quite funny.

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    1. I hear you on that. Most of the time, it was something really small and inexpensive. But on the upside, it only happened to the person once.

      A screaming monkey? Sounds like a great gift for a child or someone with a very weird sense of humor. :D

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  2. I might well give up on a gift that took me twenty minutes to open!

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    1. A couple of times the intended recipient came armed with a pen knife/jackknife.

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  3. I don't think I've ever given anyone a strange gift or one in a strange wrapping. I've probably given some stuff that's been tossed or regifted as soon as I was gone, though!

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    1. I've been lucky on that accord, in that it's very hard to regift a gift card.

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  4. I once gave a gift to a family member wrapped in multiple layers. I was still a kid at the time, maybe 10 years old. I thought it was hilarious, but everyone else was annoyed and I got in trouble for doing it.

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    1. Sometimes adults have no sense of humor.

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  5. I love giving people gifts that are wrapped like that, especially if it's something like a gift card and it's given to them in a 2 foot tall box (with many boxes and bags underneath that). I've never been offended by one, though, especially something as harmless as a rock LP (yeah, I'm just old enough to remember those).

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    1. We did something like that to my brother once. Wrapped a gift card in multiple boxes. Took him about 20 minutes to open it that day.

      My friend's mom was somewhat religious, so she got offended by the liner notes. Truth be told, the only time I got offended by liner notes where those written by RATM in the "Battle of Los Angeles" LP/CD, in which they showed support for Pennsylvania cop killer Mumia.

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  6. I love the story about your dad (particularly the pants!) Mr. RK used to do the present wrapping like that for family...one time he sewed canvas or leather around his sister's present.

    The strangest gift I have given...hmm. Probably a towel with a chicken on it, on which I had stitched, "Jesus was a black man."

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    1. Thanks.

      I don't give too many strange gifts, since they often backfire as the recipient winds up like them.

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  7. Your dad sounds fun - it's neat you did the same kind of wrapping for the present to your friend, even if it didn't go well. :)

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    1. He had a very dry sense of humor and it took me a very long time to really appreciate it.

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  8. Strange is original, n Original is cool!
    I so miss mine- He was weird too.

    Have a great holiday making memories for your family!

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