Zombie Jesus Day and Other Things I Don’t Find Funny

Yesterday was Easter, which means my Internet-life was full of references to Happy Zombie Jesus Day and photoshopped images of Jesus pooping Easter Eggs.  It aggravates me enough every year that I consider stepping away from the Internet entirely, but this year I decided to think more about why I don’t think it’s funny. Read More Zombie Jesus Day and Other Things I Don’t Find Funny

Community: Spring Fever

Community’s back! How I’ve missed the whole gang. Except Pierce. It’s springtime at Greendale and the study group is picking out spring elective courses. While Britta and Troy have signed up for an acting class, Jeff and Pierce have ended up in the same wine-tasting class. Read More Community: Spring Fever

Civil Vandalism: A Manifesto

There are many ways in which I could be a better person. I could drop my laundry quarters into the coffee cups of the panhandlers outside my office. I could work to suppress my nervous reaction to sad or uncomfortable news, which is to giggle uncontrollably. Read More Civil Vandalism: A Manifesto

Campfire Tales

The reasons I hated the Sioux-Ute dance were sevenfold:

1. The music would be deafening and of the Lil’ Wayne and Jonas Brothers variety.
2. I would spend the evening policing the furtive grindings of 14-year-olds and the night patrolling the camp grounds for secret rendezvous.
Read More Campfire Tales

No Home (Potty) Training

Unbelievably, I’ve heard more than one man wonder, almost wistfully, what the inside of the ladies’ room is like. There must be a reason we all tromp there in packs, right? Surely the line is always as long as the men’s because it’s just so awesome in there. They seem to think it’s all fainting couches and warm rose-scented towels, whereas their experience mostly runs (to paraphrase Dane Cook, of all people) to racist epithets carved onto the walls and stall doors that look like they were kicked in by Jean Claude Van Damme. Read More No Home (Potty) Training

Women Are Football Fans Too!

I like sports. Nay, I  love them. I have a problem when people make claims that I don’t know anything about them or know what I am talking about. That just because I couldn’t care less about the Super Bowl, that means that I am not really a fan. So let’s break my fandom down. Read More Women Are Football Fans Too!

Community: All About Annie

Hi guys, it’s been about a month since the awesomesauce Christmas claymation episode of Community aired, and we’re finally back with a new episode! Don’t forget that if you’re still not on board with this show, I hate you a little bit and you have no excuse to miss it, because new episodes are free on Hulu. So get watchin’. Read More Community: All About Annie

Gifts That Make You Go Hmmm

Wolf and Sheep receiving bad giftsHaving wrapped up a great Christmas, which included some very thoughtful and well selected gifts from loved ones, I’m reminded of some of the truly blech gifts of Christmases past.

Gift giving is not the point of the holidays, I realize, but it is an important tradition for many. And since we’re going to be giving gifts, let’s not give bad ones, huh?

I present to you the six worst gifts I’ve lived.

This is going to sound petty, but I don’t enjoy “experience gifts”. I think my main beef with the experience gift is that it involves the gift giver doing the thing with you, which makes it just as much a gift for him or her as it is for you. And that is, frankly, bullshit. I’m not being materialistic; the experience gift creases me because of the lack of focus, not the lack of goods. When selecting a gift for someone you should be thinking about what’s in it for her exclusively (and I’m switching pronouns from the neutral “him or her” to the specific “her” here, because the worst perpetrators of experience gifts are, far and away, men giving selfish or stupid gifts to women).

Which brings me to bad gift #1: tickets to The Nutcracker (fifth row seats). Okay, so right about now, this article’s readership is breaking into three distinct groups: those of you who are thinking, “Awww, that sounds lovely! This woman is INSANE, a night at the ballet with someone you love is one of the most thoughtful gifts I can imagine!”; those of you who are thinking, “Nutcracker, meh, boring, but it could have been worse”; and those of you who are thinking, “ACK! Dang you Nutcracker! With your creepy giant paper mache nutcracker heads for half the ballerinos (what is a male ballet dancer called?) and creepy giant paper mache rat heads for the other half! You will give me nightmares! I hate you, Nutcracker! WHY would ANYONE ever write a ballet about nutcrackers?! Nutcrackers are scary all by themselves without imaging them come to life!”

I fall into this third category.

And my hatred for The Nutcracker is something I talk about basically every Christmas when the advertisements begin to assault the public. Nonetheless, my college boyfriend got me fifth row seats at The Nutcracker for our second Christmas. A gift which made it clear that he did not listen to me, ever. Or that, if he did listen to me, what he heard was something like, “blah blah blah NUTCRACKER!”

This is an aside, but I hate the movie “Gone with the Wind” ““ Rhett Butler is an ass, Scarlett O’Hara is an ass, Ashley Wilkes is an ass, the antebellum south is an ass ““ there’s nothing about this movie that I like, except maybe the curtain dress, though I prefer the curtain lederhosen from “The Sound of Music”. Yet, despite my complete disdain for “Gone with the Wind”, while playing one of those “how well do you know your mate?” type board games this same boyfriend listed “Gone with the Wind” as my favorite movie. Which definitely confirmed my suspicion that when I was saying “I bloody hate “˜Gone with the Wind’! That movie can kick rocks!” What he heard was “Blah blah blah “˜Gone with the Wind’ blah blah rocks!”

Anyway, back to bad gift #1, if the adage, “it’s the thought that counts” is right, and I think it is, the Nutcracker tickets blew by all accounts. And the boyfriend definitely enjoyed it more than I did, and not just because I hated every moment of it, but because he seemed to relish dressing up, feeling important, and telling people he got me this great gift. AND, this is very, very petty, we had set a price limit on our gifts for each other, and while I scraped together every last penny of the limit so that I could buy him the leather jacket that he wanted (this was in the 90s, people), the two Nutcracker tickets together were under our limit (meaning just my ticket, which (petty, yes) is all that I think should count as the present) was less than half our budget. And the dinner before the show? Chili’s. Not only was this gift a complete boner, this type of gift was the guy’s calling card. For my birthday that year, I got extremely tacky lingerie (“Oh, is this for ME? Thank you.”), and for our anniversary I got, once again, tickets, this time to a concert that he wanted to see. The concert ended up being cancelled because the lead singer got pneumonia, and, no, I was not treated to a replacement concert of my choosing.

Bad gift #2: a self-help book for sensitive people. “Merry Christmas, you have a bad personality.”

Bad gift #3: nothing. We’ve all had lean holidays, but tightening the purse strings on gifts only works when you stop shopping for yourself too. When you tell your loved ones you can’t exchange gifts because you’re broke and then proceed to buy yourself a bunch of stuff, you look like kind of a bum. And money barely matters anyway, some of my favorite gifts have been very inexpensive, and homemade gifts are pretty universally appreciated. This especially goes for Valentine’s Day. I completely agree that V-Day is a racket, and spending a lot of money can be really out of order, but how crushing is it when you make cupcakes for your Valentine and pick up a cool book for him or her that you found at a used book store (price tag, $2) and get a, “Oh, are we doing Valentine’s Day this year?”

Bad gift #4: some crap you found lying around outside. Meaningless objects make meaningless gifts. If you find something cool outside, like iron pyrite, or a mid-century modern blondie style end table, please do pick it up and give it to the person who will appreciate it. But if you find some cheap jewelry that fell off of someone else and landed on the ground, don’t bother giving it to your girlfriend, and definitely don’t present it with a tagline like, “I found this in the dirt when I was out riding my bike”¦and I thought of you, do you want it?”

Bad gift #5: a diamond necklace. With the exception of this gift, the gifts on this list have happened to me personally, the inappropriate diamond necklace, however, happened to my sister. One Christmas, many years ago, my sister brought her new boyfriend home to meet our parents. My boyfriend of three years was also in attendance. Christmas Eve night my sissy and I stayed up late talking and she confessed that she was kinda, sorta thinking about breaking up with her guy because she just wasn’t feeling it. On Christmas morning, he gave her a diamond necklace. Awkward.

This was made especially hilarious by the fact that my boyfriend at the time gave me a board game (did I mention we’d been dating for three years?). In the game givers defense, it was my favorite game and we didn’t have any money at the time, so it was actually a very sweet gift, but it made for an absurd contrast. My sister broke up with the premature diamondator about a week later. He refused to take the necklace back. She gave it to me.

So, fellas, if you’ve been dating a girl for somewhere in the neighborhood of 1-2 months, don’t give her a diamond necklace. Unless you’re Jay-Z.

Bad gift #6: clothes that are too big”¦or too small. This is tricky. But basically, unless you know exactly what size someone is or you’re buying something that doesn’t have to fit exactly, like a sweatshirt, stick with scarves, gloves, hats, and bags, because clothes that are too big say, “You look bigger than you actually are” and clothes that are too small say, “Wow, I didn’t realize you were that big.” At least to neurotic women that’s what these clothes say. And some of us (me) are neurotic.

Honorable mention: I was given a treadmill for my 24th birthday. We all know why giving exercise equipment is wrong, no need to discuss it. And I know I said I wanted a treadmill, Mother, but it was still embarrassing to get one for my birthday! I love you, Momsy.

I hope that, in addition to revealing myself as the shallow, gift miser that I am, this little musing helps you to reflect on some of the good gifts you’ve received, and more importantly, the good people who gave them to you.

But while we’re in the muck for a moment, post your truly terrible gifts so we can all commiserate!

[Author’s Note: the terrible boyfriend gifts came from various boyfriends, lest the Nutcracker boyfriend be blamed for everything.]