Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Forgotten But Not Gone

The gods too are fond of a joke. ~ Aristotle

Yes, they are.

When we moved to Alabama years ago, we were going through the “where to put it” routine with the movers. You know what it's like. Mover comes in with boxes all marked “Kitchen” and stops to ask, “Where do these go?” In our case, this meant that the Wife would open each box, take a peek, and say, “Kitchen.” As we went along, when she peeked into one box, marked “Den”, there was a small box inside that she didn't recognize. So she opened it and found four wine glasses. Since “Den” was my stuff, she naturally wondered why I had four wine glasses squirreled away.

I was outside, telling a mover where “Living Room” was when she came out and confronted me. I looked at the glasses blankly, because for a minute I had no idea why I had a box with four wine glasses in my den. Then I brightened and said, “Merry Christmas!”

You see, I always did my Christmas shopping the same way. The day after Thanksgiving, I would get up at dawn and head for the stores. I'd come home loaded down with goodies and hide them until I would wrap them, which I'd normally do a couple of weeks later. Well, this particular year, I hid all the presents in my den closet. Worried about the fragile nature of the wine glasses, I put them on the top shelf. Unfortunately, the top shelf had a number of boxes on it that held various kinds of junk that I accumulated over time that had nothing to do with being Christmas presents. So, when wrapping time came around, I simply forgot to check the top shelf.

Six months later, the box magically reappeared as a result of the move, so the Wife got a belated present.

Of course, she was somewhat reluctant at first to believe that her husband was that big an idiot, apparently thinking I had purchased them for some fictional female friend. Then she realized that while I might be idiot enough to forget a present, I wasn't crazy enough to have a girl friend, recognizing that I liked living too much to risk the wrath of a Kentucky woman.

That was 1985.

I've changed my shopping habits a bit since then. The day after Thanksgiving has turned into a complete mob scene, so I make a gift run on the Monday before and do the bulk of my shopping on line. This is nice because most of the stuff comes in boxes which I can leave pretty much in plain sight as long as I keep them closed, reducing the odds of forgetting something.

So, here it is, a week after Christmas, and I'm looking through my den for some electronic gizzy that the Son needs. I dig into one of my cabinets several times, looking for a small gray object in dark corners. I have to keep pushing something in a Wal-Mart bag out of the way. Finally, I decide to see what the heck is in the bag. It was a decorative cookie jar filled with cookies.

Yes, I did it again.

What could I do? I walked into the living room and said to the Wife, “Merry Christmas!” After an entirely too lengthy bout of hysterical laughter, the Wife and the Son asked when I had gotten those. A good question that really bothered me since I wasn't sure whether I had bought them this year or last year. But, thanks to government legislation, there was a “use by” sticker on the jar that said “February 2007”, so I figured that we could eat the contents without too much chance of harm.

They were really good cookies. And this time, the Wife didn't suspect any clandestine cookie-tasting rendezvous with some femme fatale.

Now, the Wife thinks this whole thing is a hoot and getting a delayed present is kind of fun, but, to be truthful, the novelty of looking like a goof is beginning to wear thin. Oh sure, it took 21 years to do it again, but I'm getting older now, so the possibility of another such faux pas looms large. I'd really like to stop doing this. At the very least, I need to stop doing it with foodstuffs.

Next time, they might be past their expiration date.

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