Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Call it "Poetic Justice"
Imagine my husband's delight when, at a thrift store the day before the office White Elephant party, he found a 4-foot-tall stuffed baboon. Complete with the bare bottom for which baboons are known. For three dollars. The quintessential White Elephant gift. Some greedy person who wanted to unwrap the biggest gift beneath the tree would grab this up and go home with a gigantic plush monkey, while the unassuming people who picked up a small gift bag or a plain envelope would be rewarded with a $10 gift certificate to Dunkin Donuts. One poor fellow didn't show up for the party today, so he risked coming in tomorrow morning to find the giant baboon checking its email at his desk.
Except that something went wrong. Something always can when you mix children, Christmas presents, and a little greed. You see, we had told our children which gifts we had brought, and that they should choose something else. My daughter, one of the first people chosen to pick a gift, lucked out with a beautiful, pink-and-purple, hand-knitted cape. The evil eye on her cute 9-year-old face kept any Marines or other wives or children from "stealing" it from her when their turn came. One person had already unwrapped a roll of toilet paper from the Base Chaplain. Then, our 5-year-old's number was drawn. His eyes flew to the giant wad of green wrapping paper under the tree. The one we had told him not to pick. He had to have it!
As our youngest son unwrapped his treasure, those around the room who knew of my husband's prank began to chuckle. The Base Chaplain quipped, "Now no one will remember the toilet paper!" As it happened, our son was probably the only person in the room who would actually want to take that baboon home. He was so happy when he got it all unwrapped. He put it on the floor and began to ride it around the room. He immediately gave it a name and began talking to it and trying to feed it Christmas cookies. We tried and tried to get someone to "steal" the baboon and trade it for another gift, but then our son would grab it around the neck and cry, "No, no, PLEASE don't take my baboon!"
We brought the baboon home. The guys in the office nicknamed it "Karma."