Saturday, December 30, 2006

What To Do With All Those Terrible Gifts

By Charlie ParsleyHow many of us did not bother to open the tin of Danish Sugar Cookies because we gave them that very same day to our brother whom we know just LOVES Danish Sugar Cookies? Confess! How many of you noticed that what you thought were Danish Sugar Cookies were actually Gabi Butter Cookies, or, Galletas Finas? They are Mexican counterfeits! There is too much coconut in them.

This year, this author attended not just one but two complete rounds of Dirty Santa. The game itself can be enjoyable, but generally the gifts are terrible. In light of this, the author declined participation in either one, citing religious disabilities. He sat in The Balcony, behind that cut-out in the living room wall unnecessarily supported with two colonial pillars which is supposed to help make the living room look bigger. He provided Muppets-style cheers and jeers as was appropriate.

After a long, long hour of undue contemplation around poorly gift-bagged presents in the first game, the author was mildly surprised to conclude that no single gift was desired by him, nor useful in any small capacity. Had an analysis of this situation been premeditated, notes would have taken. Instead, a jovially inebriated memory will have to suffice in order to list the numerous Lame Gifts.

Gift bag full of name branded holiday candies. Wow, more candy for Christmas. Thanks! I was hoping to become diabetic this year. When Hershey’sTM wraps all those mini candies in red and green I simply cannot resist them.

A hand-crank flashlight. Yes, it might possibly be useful when my old truck breaks down in the middle of the night and I have to go find someplace where a cop won’t catch me peeing. (In Oklahoma, public urination is a sexual assault) However, a cop is sure to stop and investigate this little pale blue light meandering along the roadside. The only time I would really need a hand crank flashlight is when I am looking for my jacket underneath all the barstools at the Sidecar Bar and it is very unlikely that I will be carrying it in the back pocket of my Versace jeans at that time.

A tiny little resin plaque with an inspirational poem written on it. It hangs from a thin chain dotted with tiny colored plastic beads. Its edges are decorated with little painted pansies and metallic butterflies. Hanging from the base of this thing are four tiny metal tubes which also makes it a windchime. So many terrible things in this one gift make it something that I might really keep so I can laugh at it from time to time.

A stuffed small white bear, patterned with red hearts which makes it look like a valentine gift. It is affixed to a plastic base, so it is a decoration and not a toy. Next to the bear sits a small plastic flowerpot of daisies and a miniature gardener’s shovel. Underneath the platform of the sculpture is an On/Off switch, because it plays a highly mechanized rendition of ‘Fur Elise’. Made in China.
Please note: I am not making this up. These are actual gifts.

Hershey’s Chocolate Lover’s Cookbook. Back to the candies and sweets. This one I might consider a good gift, but I am suspicious that most of the recipes will just tell you to chop up some Hershey’s candies and add it to some sort of typical recipe. Reeses’ Peanut Butter Cheesecake makers: you are not fooling anyone.

Starbucks’ Single-Breakfast Double-Mug Gift Box. It is opened by someone who does drink coffee, but they drink Folger’s. They have never tried Starbucks coffee but they are pretty sure they won’t like it. The little packet only has enough coffee for two cups, and the two mugs to put it in are the main part of the gift. The world really does not need any more mugs. The biscotti is already broken. The plastic wrap has greasy fingerprints.

Candle-in-a-jar that smells like lavender. That gift was almost good if only I were an elderly grandmother.

Burt’s Bees Mini-Tiny Things Sampler. Maybe I can wash my butt with that mini-bottle of body wash. Everything else smells kind of weird and even the girls who smelled it agreed.

A big pan of homemade peanut brittle. Usually I give a lot of credit towards anything that is homemade, but I notice chunks of unmelted butter/margarine among the peanuts with traces of white powder. The chef has overestimated her abilities as well as our appetites.

To conclude this sad parade, the Grand Marshall of 2006 appeared at both Dirty Santa games. It is a small toy animal designed to be filled with brown jellybeans. When its back is depressed, the candy is dispensed from beneath its tail. This treasure, which my grandmother carried home, wears the winning badge of distinction: its price tag. $6.99.

What to do with items such as these? Re-gifting is a risky and obvious maneuver. Thus, the author suggests Stealth Re-Gifting, that is, within the same season. Dust-collecting holdover re-gifts are sure to deliver only denigration and regret. The best solution is to simply place these items in the garbage. Keep America strong!

As it may concern so-called unwanted liquors or spirits, there is no excuse. A red wine that might not be to one’s liking can certainly be used in the marinara sauce. To say that one does not have a taste for gin is to admit to one’s white trash upbringing. Even the half-empty bottle of whisky must be enjoyed no matter whose spittle might be swimming around in it. Alcohol sterilizes things for Pete’s sake. Turn that frown upside down and drink your Christmas present.


odienator said...

Charlie Parsley (and I must call you "Charlie Parsley" at all times, like Chef kept calling Leonard Maltin "Leonard Maltin" on that Babs Streisand South Park episode), I have never re-gifted any gift I've ever gotten. Either I have friends and family who know my taste, or I'm just a sentimental fool.

Anyone buying me a gift knows the only things I won't accept are cologne (because I'm horribly allergic to most brands) and ties (because I'm obsessive about ties--what women are to shoes, I am to ties). Anything else is fair game, even the blow-up sheep one of my friends got me as a joke one year. (It came in handy at this same guy's bachelor party, when the stripper we hired made him dry hump it. I got pictures. The Odienator is vengeful, like de Lawd!)

Anyway, Charlie Parsley, some of your reported gifts made for amusing examples of trash. Please allow me to comment on a few.

I think anybody who gives Starbucks coffee (a product made by Satan) should be forced to give Mrs. Olsen oral pleasure while squeezing Mr. Whipple's Charmin. However, I do love coffee mugs, having a collection from all over the world, so I disagree with you about mugs. The world may not need any more, but I can use 'em!

Are you sure that the "Burt’s Bees Mini-Tiny Things Sampler" was for people, and not for something like Baby Alive? Remember Baby Alive? I mean, what guy into Water Sports over at Mattel thought of this idea for kids? If people want a toy whose shit their kids have to clean up, get them a puppy.

I love burning candles when I'm soaking my achy old body in the tub (kind of like Prince in the When Doves Cry video), but lavender always reminds me of an old-folks home.

That wind chime and stuffed animal both scared the hell out of me. Inspirational poems are rarely inspirational. They're always some baloney written by a have-not who wants to convince you that having not is perfectly fine. They always say inspirational stuff like "money isn't everything when you have friends" (i.e., the author is broke because his friends keep borrowing money) or "size doesn't matter" (i.e., the author's penis is eensie-weensie and destined to be giggled at by far more blessed people like yours truly).

I agree with you: NEVER throw away booze! Even if it's ripple, that wine that is so fresh you can still taste the foot that crushed the grapes. One can always give that to a wino, or if one is in desperate need of getting drunk as quickly as possible (say, if one needs an excuse to give me some sweet lovin'), ripple can come in handy.

May the new year bring you plenty more bad gifts to write pieces about, Charlie Parsley!

Jeffrey said...


What is your most exotic mug? I think your E-Harmony soul mate may be a girl in Wisconsin who collects spoons from all over the world.

odienator said...

Jeffrey, I have this incredibly gaudy Las Vegas mug I got from my first trip to Vegas back in '95. It has gold lettering and a very busy picture of the Strip etched with some odd kind of metal foil. It made a very interesting sight when I accidentally put it in the microwave once.

I have mugs with a map of the Paris Metro, one very colorful one from the Philippines, and one with various sex positions from the Kama Sutra.

I think your E-Harmony soul mate may be a girl in Wisconsin who collects spoons from all over the world.

eHarmony is bullshit! Part of a communication project I was doing during one of my masters classes involved me signing up for a dating service and recording my communicative experiences. Well, I spent 45 minutes answering that damn questionaire, and the site told me outright that there were NO matches for me! I tried extending the radius, and nothing. I tried everything, changing the age limit, the ethnicity, hell, I even changed the sex. Nothing! No matches! Odie, there is NOBODY out there like you! I think this graphic even came up that said "Hold up your right hand, and say hello to your soul mate."

So I wrote the goofy eHarmony bastard who does those commercials, and I cussed his ass out!

I got a Sopranos spoon once. Maybe that Wisconsin woman would like to barter. :)

Jeffrey said...

The Kama Sutra mug is not for coffee! Please refer to page 37 for the proper use.

Charlie Parsley said...


Forgive my delay in response. I am just now waking up from my New Year's indulgences.

And what an exquisite welcoming for this year to find my first comment is from The Odienator. Thank you. Thank you. As it is your writing what which inspires me and is something we can all take away from.

Some commentary for you:

A healthy application of lube will make a difference with those blow-up partners.

Living in a relatively desolate rural area tempers ones distaste for Starbucks. I can admit the need for new cups for ones coffee, I therefore retract my previous dismissal of them. Especially if one is a collector of mugs, mugs with sexual positions on them, well, this changes everything about coffee mugs.

Re: Baby ALive! Eeeewwww.

If you have not seen it, I reccommend to you Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS with the score by Giorgio MOroder. I watched that New Year's Day and it was great.

Prospero nuevo ano me odiemigo. I am honored to welcome in Internet Championship 2007 with your Grand Marshalling. Ever onward.

Charlie Parsley

Charlie Parsley said...


grandma was sent home with the lavendr candle in a jar along with some other bonus prizes. I had lit the candle the past few nights. I can't stand it.

I believe it was Tama Janowitz, in Tales of New York, where she wrote about visiting an old lady's house and saying it smelled of lavender and powder and shit.

odienator said...

Charlie Parsley, aren't you glad you woke up with the Odienator? If so, then you're in the minority! I can see you emerging from your New Year's stupor and asking Wagstaff, a la Black Bart in Blazing Saddles, "what's going on in the clean world?"

Dear God, my 80's digital cable music channel is playing "It's Raining Men" for like the eighth time this morning. Is my TV possessed by Paul Lynde? I bet if I turn to the 70's channel, they'll be playing "Push Push In the Bush." Sung by Barbara Bush.

Speaking of disco/club music, I saw the Giorgio Moroder Metropolis when they did the release here in NYC. I believe I saw it at the Film Forum, which is currently running a retrospective of movies by the guy who married his stepdaughter. The heart wants what it wants, and so does the johnson.

I have vanilla aromatherapy candles, which smell a lot less grandmotherly than lavender. I love the smell of vanilla (in the morning?) because I'm a great cook, and the smell of baked goods always relaxed me. I come from a candle burning family. They were always burning them for some religious reason or other. And we ain't even Catholic.

Best of luck in the New Year! Here's to more debauchery in your future.

Charlie Parsley said...


I regret that I am not there in NYC to kick around with you, for you are everywhere I want to be: Opening nights of Snakes On A Plane and whatever is goibng on at the Film Forum. It confirms my suspicions of your extreme coolness to know you've attended a screening of the Moroder METROPOLIS.

Sloth, rather than liquors comprised the most of my New Year's indulgences. It is a newfound luxury I have discovered as per the NYE party's hostess. SHe has invented for herself the Pajama Day, wherein there is no particular plan and no need to leave that house. It is a time to rock out with Steely Dan or watch that dusty dvd. It was great to spend a day like this with friends.

I also like vanilla. I considerd wearing it as a cologne, as it is the big turn-on when making toll house cookies. Instead of this I had found a vanilla body wash which seems to complement man-smells somewhat. However in the olden days men were familiar with the smell of rose water in their toilet. All these smells are nice but still feminine for me. There's nothing quite like a championship wrestler for a masculine smell.

I have been practicing my impersonations of Paul Lynde for those slow moments between karaoke numbers. He is a crowd pleaser every time.

As I read through my collection of National ENQUIRERs from the 1980s, I happened upon a picture of another doll Baby Skates! that must have been a sister to Baby Alive! She has more grown up capabilities.

All kinds of New York New Year niceness all over you and Manhattan and the MOMA and the Whitney and the big G and everything. May this be the year I have a chance to visit it all.

odienator said...

Charlie Parsley,

I don't remember Baby Skates (does she look like Heather Graham in Boogie Nights?) but I do remember the anatomically correct baby boy doll they had in the early 70's. I remember as a kid looking at the doll's equipment, and then comparing it with mine. I discovered, to my horror, that something was missing (from the doll, silly! Not me!). The doll had no scrotum, just a penis. This doll also peed, which again leads me to that guy into Water Sports at Mattel, the one who invented Baby Alive.

What the hell are you doing with Nat'l Enquirers from the 80's?! My all-time favorite headline came from their rival, the Star. I had tears coming out of my eyes at the checkout line when I read it. It said:


I was too afraid to read the article.

I once went to a Pajama Party at Rutgers University wearing a $250 pair of black silk pajamas. I actually have a picture of me wearing them. My pajamas got ruined that night, but that story is rated NC-45, so I can't tell it on Liverputty.

Can you believe that people actually thought Paul Lynde was straight back then? He was "America's Most Eligible Bachelor." Yet he was so outright gay that I'm surprised he didn't marry Liza Minelli. I got to play his part in a production of Bye Bye Birdie, and I never got any of his jokes on Hollywood Squares as a kid. I did love him as Templeton in Charlotte's Web. Keep practicing your imitation!

Vanilla Soap? I don't think I could make that work. I use one of these Axe soap products, the one with the least amount of fragrance. Somebody needs to get a clip from Mommy Dearest of Faye saying "BRING ME THE AXE!!!" followed by somebody giving her a bottle of this soap. It would make a great commercial!

New York City eagerly awaits your visit.