1. DARIA ON DVD!!!! I hardly ever say this except in the occasional IM and even then I hate myself for it, but OMMMGGGGGGGGG!
2. Tremé. Yeah, I know it just started and it’s not out on DVD yet, but I have semi-pirated cable and premium channels don’t exist in my house. Someone please start taping this for me (does anyone tape anything anymore? What’s it called if it’s not a tape?).
3. iPod Touch. Are these even a big deal still? I don’t want an iPhone, but my current iPod is a Nano and like most objects that spend a good deal of time in my purse or car, it’s covered in grime. Plus I’ve become an asshole who requires more than 300 songs at their disposal or they feel incomplete at life.
Every year, my father asks my sister what I want for my birthday. He does this to everyone. He refuses to ask the person themselves, because this is “cheating.” So he calls my sister, who is sitting right next to me, and when she says “Hold on, Dad” to ask me, I can hear him yelling that he didn’t want me to know that he didn’t know what to get me.
Dad. Really. For the first 25 years of my life, you routinely forgot how old I was. It’s only in the past few years that he’s somehow been getting it right. He’s also abysmal at choosing gifts. When we were kids, he’d drag us to the mall to buy Christmas presents for my mother (in August, because that’s when stores put their summery clothing on sale, and he’s a sucker for a sale who never thought twice about giving his wife summer clothes in December). We’d spend hours being shuffled from store to store while he compared prices and tortured poor girls in retail by asking them over and over again how this would look on his wife. When one girl had had enough and said, “Sir, I don’t know your wife!,” he said, “Well, she’s about as tall as you. Maybe you’re heavier.”
You’d think this means he put a lot of thought into this gift buying, but he always got it tragically wrong. One year, all my mom requested was containers for the kitchen (as if anyone has to remind me not to get married and/or have kids, because what a shitty thing to want for a gift). He got her the containers, all right, but they might as well have been stamped with the Ziploc logo. My mom had ceramic or glass containers in mind; he bought flimsy plastic. He also bought her some kind of dress muumuu in size 26. Now, my mother was bigger then than she is now (which isn’t difficult because I think she’s a size zero), but in no way has she ever been close to a size 26. My mother managed to keep her disdain for the gifts quiet for a few days. Then they had a fight. I don’t remember what the fight was about, but my father has a tendency to push people to their limits, so at one point, my mother erupted.
“GODDAMMIT, DENNIS!” she screamed. “YOU ARE A FUCKING IDIOT! THIS STUFF IS SHIT!”
I know this sounds mean, but the woman was just incapable of accepting what amounted to discount Tupperware and a dress she could camp in. She also never yelled like that when they were fighting. So, don’t think I grew up in a home of violent psychotics or anything.
I’ve told my father that his problems with gift ideas would be solved if he could accept the concept of the gift card. He will not. This, to him, is also cheating. It’s “uncreative.” There’s a lack of thought that leads a person to purchase a gift card for someone else, he says, nevermind that it’s a gift card for something the person really wants.
A few Christmases ago, I convinced him to get me some iTunes gift cards. This was possible because he doesn’t know what iTunes is. He’s sort of a contradictory technophobe. He loved getting a cell phone but had one for nearly 10 years before I could show him how to program his phonebook. He doesn’t have cable but loves setting up digital converter boxes for old people. He refuses to know anything about computers but calls me to ask me to look things up on the Internet. I can’t imagine what would happen if I introduced him to texting, so I’ve decided that even the most excruciating conversations of ours will have to happen voice-to-voice for the rest of his freaking life.
My coup with the iTunes gift cards left me feeling bold, so this year I asked for Barnes & Noble gift cards.
“Tell her that’s such a boring gift,” my dad told my sister, who was of course sitting next to me.
“Tell him that I’m not buying books this year and am going through withdrawals, and this is the only thing I want, and if he gets me anything different, I’m going to explain how web sites work.”
(I did not say that being able to buy books will allow me to purchase Pam Grier’s autobiography Foxy: My Life In Three Acts, in which she explains how having sex with Richard Pryor when he was doing a shitload of blow led to her developing a crust of cocaine around her cervix. That is crazy.)