The Christmas Gift Search for Meaning

It’s been almost a week, so it’s time to dig through those bags of Christmas presents stacked up in the bedroom and try to make some sense of the head-scratchers. You know, the unusual and perplexing ones you received. Call it “The Christmas Gift Search for Meaning.” That’s when you try to find the answer to why someone thought you needed such a thing. Try it. It’s rather enlightening.

Two portable car battery chargers – These both came from my aunt. She’s the queen of strange and mystifying Christmas gifts. Usually there’s a theme, and this year it was: “A hurricane is gonna’ kick you in your privates, so be prepared!!!” As such — and because here in St. Augustine, Fla., we’ve been through two hurricanes in a single calendar year — we got solar-powered radios, military-grade tactical flashlights AND multiple car battery chargers … just in case while fleeing a hurricane my car breaks down MULTIPLE TIMES. My aunt doesn’t understand that in this disposable age, when car batteries go dead, people just walk away and call an Uber. Even in hurricanes.

A map of the Panama Canal – Also from my aunt. She went there on a cruise before Thanksgiving. She bought a bunch of things, like … A THOUSAND MAPS OF THE PANAMA CANAL!!! I don’t know why anyone needs such a map. It’s not like you’re in danger of getting lost. Basically there’s “go straight” or “turn back.” And you don’t need a map to tell you that! Also, none of us own a boat. And even if we did, and then somehow got lost in the Panama Canal — maybe while fleeing a hurricane — we wouldn’t use a map! We would just ask Siri if we should keep going forward.

Cash – This was from my mom. In big bills. At first I didn’t know what they were. “Strange paper with numbers on it? Why would you give me this?!?” But after asking Siri, I came to understand it was a form of currency from a bygone era. Back in a time when early man used to trade beads for land and club bison over the head. When I realized this, and then used an abacus to total it up, I was very appreciative. It’s a nice amount. Only I don’t know what to do with it. I was told I need to find something called a “bank branch” and then convert it into plastic or Bitcoin. Anyway, the meaning behind it? My mother thinks I’m poor and probably wants me to buy new socks!

A lot of chocolate – I mean a helluva lot! Like we’re talking I could open up a chocolate store. Chocolate with cherry bits in them. Chocolate with caramel and sea salt. Chocolate that is so fancy, it’s referred to as “cacao.” (Loosely translated: “If you have to ask Siri, it’s too good for you.”) The only meaning I could find behind all the chocolate gift giving is that people noticed I haven’t been running as much. They figured I’ve thrown in the towel and might as well totally let myself go. That would also explain the jar of bacon fat my brother gave me.


Also published on Medium.

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