Friday, November 06, 2009

A Perfect Gift for Me

Have you ever received a gift from a friend and wondered why they’d chosen it for you? You know, the kind of gift that makes you think, “What the fuck were they thinking when they whipped out the credit card and told the sales clerk to wrap it up and charge it.”

I had a friend who came into my life like a firestorm. She was crazy (literally), fun (most of the time), and an emotional vampire (all of the time). I liked her despite the near-insanity.

When my birthday came around we got together for lunch. She gave me a present and prefaced it by saying that she thought it was a perfect gift for me, something she knew I’d love, blah, blah, blah. With a build up like that I anticipated something that was definitely me, something special.

Then I opened the package.

It was the book “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” I sat there grateful for the delicious lunch and bewildered by her choice of gift. That book is as much me as a weekend stuck in a raging snowstorm without heat or electricity. In other words, not me at all.

I smiled my best Michael smile and, in a performance worthy of an Emmy, thanked her.

“Chicken Soup for the Soul” is billed as a book that will nourish you from the inside.

I brought the book home and put it on the bookshelf where it collected dust. Then one day months later while rearranging the bookshelf “Chicken Soup for the Soul” fell to the floor. While picking it up I flipped through the pages and that’s when I found the truth behind the gift.

Just inside the paperback cover was a handwritten note.

Dear Melissa,

Thanks for understanding. I’m glad we’re still friends.

Lots of love,

What? I knew Amy. I knew that Melissa and Amy had a falling out a few months before my birthday and by the time of my birthday had made up and were once again gal pals.

Suddenly the nourishment from the inside turned into a case of botulism.

I was insulted and somewhat amused at the same time. Melissa was a re-gifter, and a bad re-gifter at that.

The book went in the trash, and soon thereafter our friendship petered out.

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