Sunday, June 10, 2007

Re-Gifting: When You Care Enough to Send the Very Used

Just the other day it was the ABIB's birthday. Which birthday, you ask? It is of no concern. Those among you who get that reference know who you are. The ABIB received many jolly cards and wishes from family and friends, but she's writing this post to BITCH (Jesus, you're thinking, even on her fucking birthday?) about a particular birthday scandal. I'm talking about the regift. You know the drill: someone gets some heinous piece of shit for some commemorative day or another and, rather than taking the dreck directly to The Salvation Army (or the landfill), they stash it somewhere hoping it'll magically disappear.

Well it doesn't, of course and days turn to weeks and weeks to months and before they know it the monstrosity has been collecting dust and taking up precious gewgaw space for long enough. Its time to take action, thus the regift is born. Thinking the potential recipient to be some kind of freaking r-tard, the regifter assumes that nobody will be able to discern that their secondhand piece of shit is actually used because, well, it's WRAPPED isn't it? Sometimes well, sometimes badly, but the crap always arrives in wrapping paper, or a box with a bow or even, as in the case of the ABIB last week, in a gigantic birthday-festooned bag.

There I was, surrounded by my birthday haul, when a co-worker peeped around the cubicle corner and croaked: "It's your birthday?"

"Why, yes" the ABIB coolly replied, "as a matter of fact, it is."

"Wow....well, happy birthday!"

Little did I know that my birthday admission was about to lead to receipt of an utterly useless totchke that was FUCKING USED! Lo and behold, following lunch, the same co-worker appears back in my cubicle, this time in possession of a huge birthday gift bag. The giant bag was thrust upon me with an ear-to-ear grin that only later, in retrospect, I realized meant: HERE YA GO, SUCKER!!!

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!" the co-worker chirped loudly, "I hope you like it!"

The subtext being "Because I sure fucking didn't!!" The package inside the giant bag was badly wrapped in, I realized with a sinking feeling, wrapping paper that looked like it had seen better, or should I say NEWER, days. Peering into the cavern of a bag I pulled out the badly wrapped, ill-shaped package and a metal stand that looked oddly like those things that they sell in the grocery store to ripen bananas. Hmmm...I thought, this looks kind of scary.

I smiled weakly and began to tear at the haphazardly wrapped blob of a thing. What emerged was a stained glass bird-house-y kind of contraption with one side open and a small metal bowl perched on the inside.

"It's a candle-holder!" The regifter screeched. "Do you love it? I totally thought of you when I saw it AT THE STORE!" These last words were said a little too loudly and a little too brightly as if to convince herself that she didn't just haul this useless crap out of storage in her attic.

"Oh, a candle-holder. Cool. Hey, thanks so much!"

"You're welcome. Enjoy!"

With that she was gone and I was left with the most useless item I'd ever seen. Suddenly the banana ripener was looking pretty good. Just as I went to stash the whole mess under my desk I realized that there was something else rolling around inside the birthday bag. I reached in and felt what clearly was the tealight candle that was supposed to sit inside the glass birdhouse's metal bowl. I pulled it out and the regifter's fucking cover was completely blown: the candle had been burned down to a nub; there wasn't an iota of wax left inside.

The only thing more insulting than getting someone's unwanted regifted crap is when they don't even try to conceal it. Christ almighty, every fucking dollar store from here to Oregon carries bags of 50 tealight candles for a buck! At least give me a goddamn new two-cent candle! So there I was in proud possession of a yard sale reject that I would never in a million years use. As I looked at the junk I suddenly recalled this same co-worker, a couple of years earlier, bringing in a dress for me stashed in a plastic grocery bag.

"Here", she had said back then, "I can't wear this anymore, it positively floats on me...way too big. I think it would look great on you, though!" At the time I marveled at her ability to leave out the "fat ass" part of "it would look great on you, though!" As in: "I can't wear this tent anymore, it's way too big for me, but you could probably squeeze your fat ass into it."


So here I am, looking at a stained glass birdhouse that inexplicably houses a burning candle. As someone aptly noted: "How convienient: the bird flies in to lay an egg and gets cooked at the same time."

Whatever. It's just a matter of time before someone I can't stand has a birthday or an anniversary or Christmas and then my little regifted birdhouse will fly the coop and become someone else's hideous problem.

I'll tell you one thing, though: at least I'll put in a fresh tealight. I mean, really, it's called manners.