Of all the modern-day Christmas miracles out there, the one that stands out the most to me is the female of the species. Sure, there are many miraculous things about women; pregnancy, childbirth, ability to multi-task, willingness to ask for directions, and the list goes on and on. But I am talking about a very specific skillset that only women have, that gets highlighted during the holidays: The ability to wrap gifts.
Sure, anyone with opposable thumbs can wrap a box up with paper, but women possess the unique ability to do it without having it end up looking like it was done by a drugged chimpanzee with an unnatural love for Scotch tape.
I am a reasonably smart guy, insofar as I can brush my own teeth and dress myself. I can drive a car, heat up canned food without burning the house down (knock on wood), and even do algebra problems with less than two variables. I was trained by a world-class university in California to be an engineer, and they even gave me a diploma. (Although it was never signed... When I asked them about that, they said, “Just take it and go!”)
Legitimate college diploma or not, you would think that a man who can set his own alarm clock would be able to get better at gift wrapping as the years went on, but sadly, that is not the case. I seem to be getting worse, actually. I don’t even bother trying to put bows on gifts anymore. The bow was meant to increase a gift’s appeal – adding to its beauty. My attempts at bows have the exact opposite effect, making the gift look even more like it was attacked by wolverines prior to ending up under the Christmas tree.
I apparently lack every skill necessary to make a present look attractive, because I can’t even use gift bags correctly. When they first became popular I thought gift bags were my salvation, until my wife informed me that you must put tissue paper on top of the gift, and have some of it stick out of the top of the bag. Sounds simple enough, and she makes it look so easy, but try as I might I cannot even put a simple piece of tissue paper in a bag and have it protrude properly. It always ends up looking like I am giving you an unappealing bag of used tissue paper instead of an enticing and mysterious gift.
There is an upside to my total lack of skill with wrapping paper, however. I am never asked to help with the Santa gifts. We want Christmas to remain magical for as long as possible with our boys, and even my five-year-old would know something was amiss when he saw my ridiculously lopsided end folds.
I only had to wrap one present this year. I took my time, concentrated, started over a few times, and it still looks like I wrapped it with my feet. I am just never going to be good at it. While I may be horrible with the wrapping paper, I must say, I am a genius when it comes to the gift itself. This year I got my wife the gift of life. My life.
What better gift for a spouse than a gift that helps ensure her partner will be around for many more years to walk through this crazy world with her, hand in hand? What magical gift is this, you may ask? The answer is simple. I bought my wife a new shower mirror for me.
Confused? So was she. Go figure.
It’s really quite simple. We have a mirror in our shower that I use to shave. It’s a 6-inch round plastic-framed mirror that is attached to the shower wall at my face level with a suction cup. The suction cup is getting old. Twice in the last few months, the suction cup has failed to do its job of sucking, and the mirror has fallen loudly off the wall and down onto the floor of the shower. Both times this happened it was the middle of the night. When the shower mirror bangs around at the bottom of the shower in the middle of the night, the glass shower walls have an amplifying effect that makes it sound as if a truck has just driven through the wall of the bathroom and completely destroyed the shower. When I hear a truck drive through a wall of our house in the middle of the night, I sit bolt upright in bed with my heart going approximately 5000 beats/minute. Over the roar of the blood jack-hammering in my ears I hear my wife mumble, “It’s just your shower mirror,” as she casually rolls over to go back to sleep. I have no idea how she stays so calm, but I am positive that my heart cannot take a third shower mirror suction cup failure.
So, to ensure that my wife has a live husband going forward, I bought her a new shower mirror. This time with a more permanent wall attachment than a suction cup.
Thoughtful? I thought so. All she said was, “Oh look. You gave yourself a new mirror. What a great gift for me.”
I assumed that she would have immediately understood the underlying implications of a long and happy marriage that will be given to us by this simple new mirror, but her tone of voice seemed more than a little sarcastic. Hmm…
Well, it might not have been the most well-received gift ever, but at least the wrapping job sucked.
Merry Christmas, baby.
See you soon,
Copyright © 2013 Marc Schmatjen
Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!