Friday, January 7, 2011

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever

One year, when I was a child, I informed my parents that I wanted a kangaroo for Christmas. It would live in our back yard and could transport me to and from school in its pouch.

My mother and father, being selfish and unreasonable, told me that my request was unlikely to be fulfilled. Kangaroos were neither readily available for purchase nor were they a legal pet in Massachusetts, my parents told me, along with a list of other nonsensical and ignorable arguments that I have since forgotten.

The only way to make sense of my parents refusal was to assume that they were just trying to amp up the excitement factor. They wanted my Christmas kangaroo to be a surprise, and the best way to do that was to playfully suggest that I wouldn't be getting one. Just to be safe, though, I made sure to inform the rest of my extended family that a kangaroo was at the top of my wish list. It couldn't hurt to have a backup plan.

Christmas Day arrived. As I sat by the glittering, ornament-laden tree, my grandmother pointed to a particular wrapped gift and said, "There's something you asked for in there." I picked up the present, confused. The box seemed rather small. A baby kangaroo perhaps? There were no air holes punched in the top, I realized, so I unwrapped the gift quickly to let some oxygen in.

Inside the box was plush toy kangaroo.

I was horrified. Was this some kind of lame joke? Was my grandmother about to laugh mischievously and then open the closet door to reveal the real kangaroo she'd hidden there?

No. I looked around the room and saw the terrible truth lurking in the genuine smiles on my family's faces: Not only was this pathetic toy meant to be an actual, acceptable gift, it was meant to be a good one.

I don't remember exactly what happened next, but I found the photograph below in a scrapbook next to a newspaper clipping with a troubling headline...

"Arson Investigators Look to Suspicious Kerosene-Soaked Toy Kangaroo 
as Potential Cause in Gas Stove Explosion"

1 comment:

your forgetful sis said...

where the heck was that picture taken btw? i so don't recognize the kitchen......