Thursday, 21 December 2006

This Present Is Not A-peeling

Call me Ebenezer, but with less than a week to go, I’m just not feeling any Christmas spirit. The only magic of the holiday season I’ve experienced so far is the sleight-of-hand by which my money disappears whenever I venture out of the house, and I’m pretty sure the only person who’s yet wished me a merry Christmas meant it ironically. As in: So you don’t want one of my newspapers? Merry effing Christmas!

I know this is a time of year when we’re supposed to be thinking about peace and love and goodwill to all mankind, but I must confess I’ve been thinking more about presents: Will Mr. Lonie’s stupid sister carelessly lose the present we send her son, just like she lost his birthday gift voucher? Can I bear to take my eldest nephew and niece shopping ever again after the last painful excursion of dithering and ingratitude? And will anyone in bloggerland give or receive a worse present than the vegetable peeler we unwrapped after our wedding four years ago?

Yes. A vegetable peeler. Most of us are taught that when it comes to presents, it’s the thought that counts, and that’s true. So when the thought involved in choosing a present is, “What’s the cheapest, nastiest piece of rubbish I can pick up down at the $2 shop and still pass off as a wedding present?”, I think I’m entitled to be ungrateful.

“Steady on!” You say with a frown. “You’re a bit greedy and grasping, aren’t you? What did you expect? A Lladro figurine? A bottle of vintage Grange Hermitage? A Fabergé egg?”

No, I didn’t expect anything at all, especially from people I’d never heard of, have still never met, and who didn’t even attend the wedding. We only invited them because Mr. Lonie’s pathologically-interfering mother insisted we invite everyone with the least connection to her, right down to a boss’s son’s teacher’s cousin’s hairdresser sort of level. A nice card with warm wishes would have been sufficient, but instead there I was, a consternated expression marring my blushing-bride’s features, holding the aforementioned vegetable peeler incredulously in my hand. It wasn’t a fancy ergonomic peeler with laser-edged titanium blade. It wasn’t even a good old serviceable supermarket-bought peeler like the one in my utensil drawer. This monstrosity was an ill-begotten hybrid of vegetable peeler and clunky, mark I electric toothbrush; for some unfathomable reason known only to its creator (I’m guessing Dodgy Brothers Homewares) its blades were bent almost at a right angle (handy for all those square potatoes) – and it was battery operated.

For the benefit of Mr. Lonie’s mother, who had invited herself and several others around to our house to supervise the unwrapping of presents, I said, “Hmm,” the most polite remark I could manage at the time. For the benefit of myself, I chucked the absurd contraption straight in the bin once I had proven my initial surmisal that it was completely useless, even without the electrified shaking which I could just imagine causing a fingertip-ectomy.

Oh! I tell a lie – it wasn’t completely useless. I kept the batteries.

7 comments:

Miao said...

Are you Singaporean or do you have Singaporean friends? I am surprised that you know Singlish - "Sorry lah!" It is so nice to have a sense of familiarity. :)

Lonie Polony said...

Hey Miao, I grew up in Malaysia and spent many happy times in Singapore. I feel so nostalgic every time I hear 'lah', I couldn't resist. Under One Roof was a great show ;)

Miao said...

Hey great! What a pleasant surprise to learn that you lived in Malaysia. I didn't watch Under One Roof though, I watched Phua Chu Kang LOL.

Jingoistic said...

wow, you say lah? I say lah! But only because it's part of the scouse dialect. What does it mean in Singlish? What a coincidence...

Hilarious post btw. I'm so glad I don't buy any of my friends presents (they think it's gay).

Lonie Polony said...

Something like an exclamatory interjection is how I think of it, jingoistic. Thanks for the kind words. But why do your friends think buying presents is gay? I say that's their loss!

Jingoistic said...

at the end of the day, we are the ones without presents :(

Lonie Polony said...

Aww! ;p