I greet you in the name of this frenzied holiday season. It is that time of the year when you suffer from a disease called SMTYE (spend more than you earn). I have seen friends and foes foam at the mouth, trying to figure out what gifts to buy for loved ones. I am sure you know loved ones, those special breed that are a pain in the derrière.
The process of gift hunting, picking or buying can be traumatic, like picking one’s nose-hair with a pair of rusty pliers. The eyelids won’t close until you get the right gift for that sweetheart lover, that nerdy co-worker, that monster-from-hell mother-in-law, that Aristotle-wannabe-father-in-law, that snoring husband, that chattering weaverbird wife, that you-will-even-flunk-a-DNA-test-teenager, or that triple K card carrying boss of yours.
Fellow countrymen, I come to tell you what not to give and not what to give. The gifts that men give leave after them. So let’s begin, before Christmas sneaks up on us like an identity thief.
Let’s start with your adored, the one that rescued you from McDonald’s artery-blocking burgers, the one who knows where your socks and under wears reside on the day of that important interview, the only one who will suggest a map if you were to be lost in the Sahara desert. Great gifts you should not give her this Christmas include: a make up kit, a cookbook, a treadmill or a Victoria Secret thong. These gift items are loaded with metaphors and smell like camphor. If I must spell it out for you, a makeup kit tells a woman that her natural beauty is slipping like a car without transmission fluid. A makeup kit says “I am trying so hard to rescue you from being donated to the Salvation Army”.
A cookbook is not only an indictment of your wife’s culinary deficiencies but her entire community where she was born and raised. The blow you throw with a cookbook gift goes beyond your wife to hit her mother right in the mouth. It is a poke in the culinary eye of the mother of your children. The third gift, a treadmill, says loud and clear “woman, you are getting fat and flabby…and you are no longer that slim-jim virgin I sold my Microsoft stocks to marry from Obosi ten years ago…and since you are allergic to the gym around the corner, try this treadmill in the basement”.
The VS thong…this would have been a great gift idea if she were your college girlfriend, a fiancé, a newly wedded wife or someone else’s girlfriend you are trying to colonize…not your wife you just celebrated ten years anniversary with. Come on, man, are you drunk or something? When you buy a VS thong, she thinks you are trying to tell her that the Fruit of The Loom (3 for the price of 1) undies she bought at Wal-Mart are unromantic. She could easily garrote you with the thong in the night, so please stay away from that kinda “fetish” gift. Better still, go to Wal-Mart and buy another pack of Fruit Of The Loom, 3 for the price of 1.
Whatever you do, please do not give him a red Corvette, a workout gym or a necktie as a gift for this Christmas. We already know he is going through a mid-life crisis; do you really have to spell it out to the neighborhood? Oh…and who would you blame if he no longer shows up for dinner? Put that ‘vette money in the children’s college fund and let your husband keep driving his Ford Taurus…that is the best girl repellant money can buy.
A workout machine in the house is a way of asking your husband: “How did the six-pack abs you had in college become one big keg of Budweiser?”. And men can get defensive when it comes to the size of their stomach…”woman, if you learn to cook healthy food, maybe I could have retained my six-pack!”
Except he is about to open a Tie Rack franchise, please don’t buy him another Disney World cartoon-character necktie. Who still wears those things anyway? If you haven’t noticed, your husband now wears XXL Roca Wear jeans, XXXL Sean John T-shirt, and solid Timberland boots…his is a bad chronic case of mid-life crisis. If he were to dress like that in Africa, people will start giving him money, thinking he is a new Masquerade.
Except he is a wristwatch seller, please do not send yet another wristwatch this year. The ones you have been sending have been ending up in the pawnshop around the corner. Also he knows they are very cheap, that you got them from CVS drug store. And what is wrong with you, the only time you gave him an expensive one for his 80th birthday, you bought a Movado…how do you expect an eighty-year-old man to tell the time of the day with a tabula rasa Movado? At that age, what he needs is a wrist clock, with hands like a professional archer’s arrows.
Besides, his other son-in-law has just renovated his house and bought him a Mercedes Benz, with a paid driver. Since I am not that good at Maths, you go and figure out how many Movados equal a Mercedes Benz with a driver. That’s another reason why a wristwatch is a bad idea this Christmas.
Walking the land mines infested fields of Cambodia and Sudan is child’s play when it comes to getting your mother-in-law a Christmas gift. To be honest with you, any gift to her always turns out to be a bad idea. Remember your wife is the by-product of this woman. Just sell your Google stocks and send her the check, like you did your Microsoft stocks ten years ago. But if you don’t have any high-end stocks, fake a heart attack…and make sure you get a doctor’s report to back it up when she comes to visit you and your wife un-announced.
Crazy Nosy Neighbor (CNN)
Whatever you do, don’t send her a termite control kit or a roach repellant packet. These gifts are a subtle way of telling her she is the cause of the roach and termite problem you are having in your house. And actually since she moved in last summer, you have been sharing your bed space with roaches.
If you are black and find yourself among whites in the suburb, don’t spend too much money on any gift items. Your white neighbor works for Internal Revenue Services, and before you know it, you are being audited for taxes you have been filing wrongly for the past five years. And don’t be deluded that the IRS will not come after your behind…you are an immigrant; you are raw meat in a lion’s enclave.
Teenage Son and Daughter
The age disparity will do you in here. You are so far removed from “civilization” you are thinking of buying him a Sony Walkman, a tailor made suit or Florsheim shoes…just be warned, these gifts will further alienate him from you. To him you are the man with a funny accent from Africa who just doesn’t get it. To help you out here, try a gift item called Ipod. No..no..not just the ordinary Ipod, try the Ipod Nano or the Ipod with podcast and TV (forget the fact that you already own a 60” plasma in the house). Be warned, an Ipod is different from cocoa pod, which you are used to in Ondo. These are cabin-biscuit-shaped items that play music, louder than your antique Grundig and Gramophone put together.
Also you might want to try some Nike shoes (aka Sneakers), and please not the ones from K-Mart. Try the Jordan species…they can only be found in sports shops, and their prices can roof the entire house of your father-in-law in the village.
Another gift you can try is jeans pant, the very big ones that look like a Bata-dancer’s Aso-oke. Forget the fact that your son is a pint sized Sammy Davies Jr. type. These pants are so big that the US government no longer spends taxpayer’s money on sweeping the streets of America; teenagers (and midlife crisis husbands) do that with these jeans pants hanging down the crack of their derrière, with the base sweeping the streets like Iriabo masquerade.
As for your teenage daughter, may God have mercy on your soul, trying to figure out “what women really want”. Gone are the days of Barbie dolls and welcome to the world of BOW WOW (by the way, that used to be Little Bow Wow). You can try this Bow Wow’s CD or his poster where he is shirtless and has his big jeans hanging down the crack of his derriere.
Your teenage daughter’s complexity is a combination of her grandma and mama’s drama. You have to be diligent and not try to say forbidden words like “back in my days…” or else, the next time you hear from her it will be a collect call from Birmingham; (No, not Birmingham Alabama…Birmingham, England).
If you are an entrepreneur and you work for yourself, skip this bit…you are your own boss bro. For the corporate guys who work in tall buildings, please stop giving your white bosses Benin carvings and bronze sculptures. Do you think he is going to establish another Smithsonian Museum of African Tourist Art in his parlor? What makes you think a triple K man from Mobil, Alabama will put an African art in his living room? You should count yourself lucky, if not for stiff human resources policies in the office… by now you would have been History.
Your African American Office Girlfriend
If you send her one more Tie & Dye adire as Christmas gift, she will tie you with it and make sure you die. When was the last time you saw her wear the ones you have been sending? Can’t you tell she is not into those “we are all from the motherland” tomfoolery? Whatever Tie & Dye you have given her always end up as a wash clothe for her baby father’s Hyundai Elantra. If you still think these are the days of Stokely Carmichael’s Black Panther, wake up my dear Kwame Ture and smell the caffeine!
Your Step Brother
Why in the world would you want to give him a motorbike when you know he is a certified drunk? Do you want his inheritance too…? C’mon man, that is just a corny way of committing murder without doing time. If you must give him a gift, enroll him in an Anonymous Rehab for drunks, so he can sober up for a few days this holiday.
How many Bibles do you have to give him before you realize he does not own a Christian Book Store? You have given him all the translations, and even the Igbo translation when the poor man is Yoruba…King James Version, New King James Version, King James International Study Bible, Bible from The King James Era for Pastors, Electronic King James Version…my brother, your pastor is not the crown prince of King James…enough already.
Don’t buy her jack! Remember how she was player hating when you were dating her sister? She thinks she knows it all…no wonder she is still single at 45 drinking Colt 45 in her mama’s row house.
Don’t let your wife know about this…but you can get him a liquor store gift card and he will spill the entire family secret at the next Thanksgiving dinner. That way you know where your wife got all her weird antics.
Your Single Mother Girlfriend
Finally, Ol’boy whatever you do, please do not give her one of those cheap and cheesy birthday-stone rings from the mall as an engagement ring…or those very annoying singing Christmas cards. She has enough singing toys driving her crazy in her apartment.
Dear all, that is all I can do for you this Christmas, if you stick to my advice you will have a Merry Christmas…whatever you do, make sure you at least get your beloved a gift. See you next year. I have to run…I hear Victoria Secret is having their annual sales…3 for the price of 1.