Monday, January 24, 2011

Another Year of Low Level Animosity Directed at My Best Friends

Let us begin with a picture.
It is a deceptive picture. What appears to be a happy, heart-warming scene of Christmas gift giving joy is actually the opening salvo in this year's annual Gift Swap of Horror.

It would be smart to include a brief history lesson at this point; but I did that last year and I'm not going to rewrite the whole thing. You should click here to read about the history of the Gift Swap of Horror.

Be sure to come back here though, because otherwise you'll miss out on how this year's swap included gunfire and 7 layer Mexican dip that may have only had 6 layers.

Tim and Katie, pictured above in the scant few seconds before the enormity of their fate was made clear to them, have long held an annual Laser Tag game in the week between Christmas and New Year. The invitations always point to the fact that you will have the opportunity to shoot your loved ones in a festive, jolly fashion without all the messy legal wrangling that holiday family shootings usually involve. It also gives everyone an opportunity to run around in a dark arena and work up a healthy holiday sweat while mindlessly shooting at children. It is incredibly enticing immediately after the holidays.

This year, the Laser Tag shootout was postponed a bit. Through serendipitous happenstance, we were able to shamelessly piggyback the Gift Swap of Horror on to the same day as the Laser Tag. We played Laser Tag, then we gathered for The Swap.

My wish, in retrospect, is that the order of events could have been reversed. After the Gift Swap, there was much more animosity stewing within us that could have used venting. And more importantly, after the Laser Tag, there was much more locker room aroma clinging to us that could have used venting. We masked the odor of our stinky selves with 6 or 7 Layer Mexican Dip (I couldn't get a clear layer count) and soldiered on with The Swap, however.

We are seasoned Gift Swappers, battle hardened from 13 years of bestowing unimaginable eyesores on one another. After what seemed to be a sufficient time milling around the kitchen, grazing on snacks and slurping brain-lubricating liquids, we all trudged warily into the living room where the gifts waited.

The gifts almost looked welcoming and enticing in their festive wrappings. We drew names with the solemnity due to the occasion and then the horror began in full.

First up were Tim and Katie. If you visit them at any point in the next twelve months, be sure to take a tour of their bedroom and look for this treat, which we predict will look amazing over their bed.

In fact, there is some speculation that the couple in the picture is actually Tim & Katie on their recent honeymoon.
You decide.

Ben was delighted that his gift included a convenient, beat-up carrying case so he can bring his gift with him wherever he goes.

And he most certainly WILL bring it with him wherever he goes, as soon as he figures out what the heck it is.

Not clearly visible in the picture are the three-inch, lethal steel spikes protruding at random angles from this thing. Those spikes made it clear to Ben that he had been given a most rare treat in The Swap. A wearable piece of art. He doesn't even need that carrying case.

The age of this crumbing beauty pretty much guarantees that the glittery white filaments raining down on Ben's head are asbestos.
Or lead.
Or both.

Julie and Scott were amazed and awed by the surreal beauty and transcendent, sublime loveliness of the art which will be blessing their home for the next year.

A genuine, rapturous glow shone in through the windows as they bathed in the splendor of their gift.

If they ever find the mental patient who glued all those individual beads down to create this masterpiece, I'm certain that they will prostrate themselves at his feet, thanking him endlessly for the joy he brought into their lives.

Kerri and I had the terrible misfortune of drawing Ben's name this year. Ben's wife, Ann was unable to attend this year's swap. Ben claims that it was a sinus infection, but I am of the opinion that she simply didn't want to have to face whichever friend was saddled with this for the next year.

If I could offer a good description of it, I would. It is giant. It is made of some sort of cast material; possibly the same crushed asbestos that Ben's gift is made from. It weighs at least 50 pounds.
 You can see for yourself how delighted I was when I unwrapped it and herniated myself lifting it.

Ben offered the suggestion that I might want to sink a giant lag bolt into a stud behind the wall for hanging. "Make sure you get it on a stud," he warned.

I'm considering hanging it outside. I may be able to turn my yard into a sort of Magellan Museum, complete with a hideous cast bust of Magellan and nothing more.

I'm certain my neighbors will love it as much as I do.

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