Today, for many of you, is Boxing Day—the day after Christmas Day.
However, I must write to you from the past, because I am still christmassing just that hard.
Come up to my level, will you?
However, writing this from the past as I am, I must confess a current (now doubtless resolved in bloodshed) struggle.
My husband has cheated on me.
I’m sorry, that was misleading.
My husband has cheated at Christmas.
Now you’re making that confused face, and I have to explain. Which is fine, because I was prepared to. Also, I really want to tell you about Billy.
Shit. I’ve just realized that I need to explain some backstory that I can’t just link to because I’ve never mentioned this before. How have I never mentioned it? That’s it—this is going on The List. Consider the following a mini-rant:
Husband is impossible to shop for. This is not because he already has everything, or his interests are so esoteric as to require a special guide and phrasebook. No, it’s just that he has a track record of not liking anything he didn’t buy himself. To make matters worse, he puts distressingly little on his amazon wishlist (which we use almost exclusively, because we are lazy people) and then claims that’s all he could find, in a world that contains caffeinated soap and tinned unicorn meat and whatever the hell this is, that he wants. I’ve tried offering him more shops—even brick-and-mortar establishments—but no. Those dozen and a half items (including the vroomba for lawns, which… no, because we have bunnies and the reviews say it murders baby rabbits and I’m not paying $1000 to make bunny chum on my lawn.) are all he wants for Christmas, his birthday, Father’s Day, any gift-giving occasion you can name.
Which would be fine, I guess… if one could be certain he’d actually like the things on that list once he receives them. But, here again, there is a precedent of failure. He once spent weeks researching a specific controller, emphasized to me how perfect it was in every sense, how much he wanted this exact controller and no other thing in the world. When he opened it on Christmas? “Oh. Huh. The buttons are kind of stiff, aren’t they?”
He refused to return it, which made me cry actual tears of blood, so we still have an expensive-ass controller he used once, for maybe ten minutes, before leaving a review proclaiming it terrible for anyone who expects to be good at their game or even just use their hand ever again.
So it is that I approach gift-giving occasions with more than a little clenching, prayer, and wine.
Sarcasm also helps.
ME: (points at big gift) So that’s your Billy the Big-mouthed Bass.
ME: (points at tiny bag) And these are the batteries.
ME: He sings!
At the time of this writing, I am crazy-nervous about that big gift, y’all. Because it was a not-inexpensive thing and—while it was on his wishlist—I’ve never heard him mention actually wanting it or seen him express any interest in it when other people have shown off theirs. Have I bought another dust-collecting 463-function controller?
ME: You know, that singing bass can do lots of songs, not just Don’t Worry, Be Happy. You can download other playlists.
HIM: But he definitely comes with that one, right?
ME: Oh, yeah.
HIM: Because that’s the classic.
ME: But only the chorus.
HIM: (is sad)
ME: I had to pay extra to download the whole song. Licensing, you know. So that’s where my budget went.
HIM: That’s fine. So long as he sings the whole song.
Now, remember how I mentioned the pile of packages that arrived one morning? Yeah… that was a regular occurrence, and it didn’t take me long to do some mathing…
ME: I have a sneaking suspicion that you’re out-doing me on Christmas.
ME: Shut up. I don’t know how you did it, but I’m going to find out.
HIM: (laughing) I—
ME: I’ve got nothing left to wrap for you. Nothing! But you’ve got a refrigerator-sized pile of boxes in there waiting to be unpacked and wrapped! So. You either went over budget somehow, and managed to keep it from me—
HIM: Or I got really good—
ME: Shut. Up.
ME: Or you cheated. I don’t know how, but I will. And when I can finally prove that you cheated, you’re going to be in so much trouble!
So that’s our current state of affairs. Only it isn’t, because you’re reading this in the future. Well, your present. Mine too, by now. By now I’ve proven how he did it and murdered him with the heaviest of his Christmas gifts… or the lightest, if I’m feeling particularly vicious. It’s really a shame to see Christmas end like this, which is why I’m writing to you now—while I’m still in a holly-jolly-jingly mood (and technically a free woman; there’s a non-zero chance I’ll be incarcerated briefly while they sort out a jury of my peers. Who will, I promise, fail to convict).
ME: I love you.
HIM: Love you too.
ME: Even though you cheated at Christmas.
ME: I can’t prove it yet, but I will.
ME: It’s just so… disappointing. I expect better of you.
ME: (glares) You know who’s not going to be disappointed?
HIM: You, on Christmas Day?
ME: YOU, when you open your singing fish.
HIM: (laughing) You keep joking about that, but you’re really getting me one.
HIM: You’ll have to get me one, because you’re incapable of not taking a joke all the way. And there’s no way I won’t play that thing at you All. The. Time.
HIM: (laughing) And you won’t even be able to worry—because you’ll be happy!