The curtain opens on a typical American living room. A fire is burning. There are two sofas parallel to the fireplace. Sitting on one, creatively writing on her lap top, is a lovely, middle aged woman, whom most people would guess is around 40 (this is me). Sitting across from her on the other sofa is a bald, much older man, sometimes known to play the accordion badly (this is my mate). He also types on his lap top, but what he does is most certainly not that creative, and God really knows what it is about.
HIM: Am I in charge of buying gifts for our sons in law this year? And do I have to buy gifts for my sister?
ME: Yes. And I am a little worried about this. Are you sure that you don’t want me just to take care of everything?
HIM: (from now on referred to as H, to save time) I was thinking of potato guns for the guys. I got one last year as a gag gift from the Rotary Club, so I could save some money and just buy one more.
ME: (heretofore, M) Wait a minute. You want to RE-GIFT a potato gun?
H: What’s wrong with that? It’s perfectly good. I never even opened it. And don’t worry. The potatoes come separately.
M: Of course you never opened it. Because NO ONE wants a potato gun. Gag gift? I would gag if I got it. I forbid you to re-gift a potato gun. And getting another one is just throwing money away, for heaven’s sake!
H: Hey, the economy is tanking. I feel obligated to keep spending to a minimum this year.
M: You learned this from your mother, you know. Remember the year she gave us, two non-smokers, a cigarette box? And it had little pieces of tobacco still in it?
H: May she rest in peace. It was a “what not” box.
M: With cigarette shreds in it.
H: You know you love the idea of re-gifting. You just hate the potato guns. I can see the gleam in your eye. You want to get rid of that puce colored pair of pajama pants that make you look fat. I can read your mind.
M: Actually, I was considering the ugly parrot earrings that my sister gave me, but you are RIGHT! Those pants are horrible. Who should I give them to? Oooooh, and what about that sweater you got that has the wavy, yellow stripes? The one that makes you look like an effeminate heterosexual?
H: Let’s make a list of all the people that we frown upon, and we can give them all re-gifts this year! I have a least twenty ties I don’t wear any more. And what about all those flavored soaps? You don’t use those. With the money we save, we’ll be way ahead. And then we could go on a cruise!
M: And your sister might look ok in the puce pants. She’s pretty thin. Gosh! There’s that vase in the shape of a finger. I have never really liked that. I could give that to my nail tech, instead of a holiday tip. You are a genius!
The couple looks at one another fondly over their lap tops. They smile. They consider getting up and embracing–think better of it, and settle for the ‘long distance high five.’ Silence reigns once more. Visions of potato guns dance in his head, and she is mentally cataloging all the little-worn clothing that she can foist off on unsuspecting, “B list” friends. Peace on earth, good will to men, let’s all recycle, and save the planet. Re-gifting may keep the world’s temperature down, after all. I know that I will get the cold shoulder from whomever I give that nasty cigarette box to.