We’re home from our holiday travels, and the big black garbage bag filled with Christmas booty sits in a corner of the bedroom.
It happens this way every year. The newly acquired gifts take awhile to find their way to the appropriate drawers and cupboards, and I’m ashamed to admit we’ve had years where the bag still sits there in April.
But there are always the gifts that find instant usefulness in our daily routine. It may not be the intended use, but it’s sometimes a better one.
Several years ago, my parents bought Pythagoras a keychain that beeps when you whistle. It seemed like a great gift for a guy who loses his keys six times a day, but it didn’t always respond to a whistle. It was also bulky, so it soon got relegated to the hall closet.
While the keychain wasn’t always responsive to a whistle, it was highly responsive to a certain high-pitched tone. You know that tone, ladies – the one your voice develops in moments of intense frustration?
Or as Pythagoras put it, “the bitchy voice.”
The keychain soon became known as “the bitchometer.” The bitchometer might be forgotten for months on end, but the moment Pythagoras and I were locked in a heated discussion and my voice rose a few octaves…
I developed a grudging respect for the bitchometer. While it annoyed me in the heat of the moment, it was a good way to keep my shrewish tendencies in check. I was almost sad when it stopped working.
Though there was no bitchometer in anyone’s stocking this year, Pythagoras got another gift with unintended comedic value. My brother and his girlfriend presented him with a lovely, hand-carved piece of wood that functions like a worry stone. You can hold it in your palm and rub your thumb in the smooth, carved divot to soothe yourself in times of stress or worry.
You see where this is going, don’t you?
The snickers started immediately.
“Wow,” Pythagoras said. “So when I’m having a hard day, I can just rub my wood.”
My mom giggled and held out her hand. “Can I see your wood?”
“The guy who made it is a real wood expert,” my brother added. “Do you know how many different ways there are to rub your wood?”
“Hang on,” I yelled, running for the camera. “Let me get a picture of you holding your wood.”
And on, and on. If you think we ran out of wood jokes in the first five minutes, you’ve never spent time with my family.
When Pythagoras and I arrived home last night after a harrowing drive home over a snowy mountain pass, I went rummaging through the black garbage bag right away.
“Here, honey,” I told him, placing it in his palm. “That was a tough drive. You should really go rub your wood to relax.”
“Thanks,” he said as he took it from me. “That’s a good idea, but I probably should have tried rubbing my wood while driving.”
How have you been enjoying the holidays? Did you get any gifts that had unintended comedic use? Please share.
I should see if my husband needs help rubbing his wood.