Make your list. Check it twice. Then check it again.

3 Dec

I generally pride myself on being a pretty thoughtful gift-giver. I try to pay attention throughout the year when someone mentions a guilty pleasure or item they’re coveting. There is little more satisfying than seeing a person completely surprised by something they can’t even remember saying they wanted.

Clearly, a preface like that can only mean one thing, right? That I am an absolute, utter jackass. Let me explain.

My good friend Betsy came over for dinner on Wednesday. The last time I saw her was a few weeks ago, when we celebrated our birthdays. It’s become something of a tradition to make dinner together and exchange gifts.

The thing is, other than the year I had postage stamps printed featuring a photo of her dog, I always come up short when trying to think of creative gifts for her. She already HAS a lot of the things I would naturally think to give her, so I often find myself “giving an O’Connell* Gift,” as my family calls it.

[An O’Connell* Gift is when you give someone a present that you would like yourself. We call it this because as a high schooler, my friend Ryan O’Connell’s brother – drawing his pre-school cousin’s name in their annual gift exchange – gave her a subscription of Sports Illustrated. Yeah.]

So the last time I saw Betsy was our gift exchange. I gave her a pair of handmade bamboo earrings. I struggled over the decision and almost got her a necklace by the same artist instead, but ended up going with the earrings because Betsy has short hair and I thought they’d be something of an accessorized punctuation mark.

At dinner this week, after I showed Betsy my Wall O’ Jewelry (I basically put nails all over the wall and hung my necklaces so I could see them at once), she said, “So I have something I need to talk to you about, and it’s kind of awkward.”

That’s one reason she’s my friend: she isn’t one to sweep something under the carpet. Naturally, I said, “Bring it.”

“You know those earrings you gave me? I think they are absolutely gorgeous. The detail and material and everything – they’re fantastic.” Um, where was she going with this?

“The thing is,” she continued. “I don’t have pierced ears.”

Holy. Shit.ย Worst gift-giver EVER.

I guess I'll just have to keep these.

Immediately, my eyes flicked to her ears which – sure enough! – were bare. (Because that’s a natural reaction, right? To fact-check her claim in case she doesn’t realize her own ears are pierced?)

“Well,” she continued, “I wouldn’t say anything, but this is the second time you’ve given me earrings, and at some point you’re going to wonder why you never see me wearing them.”

Well, and at some point YOU’RE going to wonder why you still hang out with me, Betsy. Because I clearly spend a lot of time in my own little universe, in which your ears are pierced. Which means I’m either self-absorbed or crazy.

Later that night, when I recounted the story to Alan, he was rolling on the floor at my idiocy. “The thing is,” I told him, “I deliberately chose earrings over a necklace. And do you know why?” Pause. “Because it struck me that although she is a fashionista who always wears really cool and unique accessories, I didn’t find any of her earrings memorable.”

Of course they weren’t memorable, dumbass.

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the innocent.ย 

26 Responses to “Make your list. Check it twice. Then check it again.”

  1. H.E. ELLIS December 3, 2011 at 8:35 am #

    That was a great story, and those cat earrings are the worst.

    • pithypants December 3, 2011 at 8:38 am #

      Maybe Betsy DOES have her ears pierced and just got tired of my giving her animal butt earrings?

      • H.E. ELLIS December 3, 2011 at 8:43 am #

        You just may have a point. I know I’d be willing to let them fill back in if it meant never having to sport feline anus images from my earlobes.

      • pithypants December 3, 2011 at 8:46 am #

        Well said.

  2. Ms Mary December 3, 2011 at 9:16 am #

    Aw don’t be so hard on yourself. She could’ve (been an enabler and) had her ears pierced so that she could wear your earring gifts. Really!

    • pithypants December 3, 2011 at 9:25 am #

      Wouldn’t that be kind of like buying someone a plus-size dress and expecting them to gain weight to fit into it?

  3. John December 3, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    This is excellent. Perhaps glasses are in order?

  4. thesinglecell December 3, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    Oh dear. Well, look, I mean who doesn’t have their ears pierced these days? This is really her fault for living in 1950. Right? I do love the deliciousness of having opted not to get the necklace. Poor Pithy. You tried. You totally tried.

  5. Lorna's Voice December 3, 2011 at 11:19 am #

    You could give her a gift certificate to have her ears pierced… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • popdialectic December 3, 2011 at 11:41 am #

      Great minds, Lorna. That was my suggestion for next year’s gift – it would be like giving three years’ worth of gifts at once.

  6. Kimberly Pugliano December 3, 2011 at 12:09 pm #


  7. The Byronic Man December 3, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

    You should have said, “Really? Let me see. Are you sure?” Then lean in really close to her ears, and quickly pierce them. Then suggest she see a doctor for her memory, and her earlobes, which seem to be bleeding.

    • pithypants December 7, 2011 at 9:38 am #

      I like your style. When in doubt, raise the stakes and make other people question their sanity. NICE.

  8. Kelly Thompson December 3, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

    The “Betsy” in my life and I were just shopping together a couple of weeks ago and I showed her something I thought was totally “her” and she commented that she would never spend money on something like that. Well, she doesn’t have to…because I bought it as her Christmas present the week before. Ah, it’s good to be a dumbass…

  9. pithypants December 3, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

    Interesting. Even though I am the (self-admitted) dumb-ass whose behavior needs modification, almost everyone has jumped to my defense and implied that Betsy’s at fault for not mutilating her body. While I appreciate the support, it makes me wonder how often we back the wrong dog out of loyalty.

    Oh, and don’t worry. You’ll all be receiving a subscription to The Economist. Since I’m so good at picking out gifts and all… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. skippingstones December 3, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

    Ha! That is so something I would do! But when she told me, I would have burst out laughing. If I couldn’t laugh at my own dumb-assery, then I’d be in real trouble, since it happens so often.

  11. Tin Roof Press December 4, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    thats rather hilarious. I am comforted. I suck at giving gifts (and the first part of your post was daunting)

  12. Rachel December 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

    Hilarious! I love that she felt comfortable telling you — sooooo much better than limping along with you giving bad gifts. Now THAT’S friendship!

    • pithypants December 5, 2011 at 10:06 am #

      Exactly. A good friend suffers silently. A great friend knows you can laugh at yourself and tells you!

      • cassiebehle December 5, 2011 at 5:43 pm #

        And a BEST friend goes in to pierce her ears immediately and claims to have had them pierced for years. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Silva Gang December 6, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    I must get a pair of those earrings immediately, ha ha! Oh my God! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m kidding of course. I generally find the front end of a cat the more attractive side, especially for jewelry. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • pithypants December 7, 2011 at 9:37 am #

      I like the idea of someone seeing them and saying, “Wow. Those are really unique…” then going in for a closer look and realizing what they are.

  14. cleaningupatown December 8, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    I’m sorry for your blunder, but happy you wrote about it – laugh out loud moment! Excellent post!

  15. Danielle December 13, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

    hahahahahahaha!!!! That’s awesome.

    • pithypants December 13, 2011 at 10:36 pm #

      Hence why you don’t want me to be your Secret Santa.

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