I was talking with a friend about things people collect when he told me about a fellow who collected running shoes that belonged to famous runners. His collection was world class and he was only lacking a pair from the most famous long distance runner of all time. At a birthday bash for the rich collector there sat a wrapped box with a big bow on it that contained what were rumored to be THE SHOES. With trembling fingers the collector carefully unwrapped the box which contained the final piece to his collection. Sure enough, the box contained the shoes the runner was wearing when he won his last Olympics: much to the collector’s dismay the box was empty.
The greatest long distance runner in history ran barefoot!
I enjoyed the story and the conversation turned toward the science of gift giving. I casually mentioned that my wife and I had just enjoyed our 44th wedding anniversary and my friend asked what I got my wife. “I got her exactly what the shoe collector got. Nothing! It’s the same thing I give her every year for her birthday and Christmas. Nada! In fact, I think not giving presents to each other is the secret to our long and happy marriage.”
The reason we refrain from giving gifts is not because I’m the world’s biggest tightwad, which I am. it’s just that my wife is an easy-keeper and already has everything she wants. And it’s at my wife’s insistence that we don’t buy frivolous gifts and I ALWAYS do what I’m told. The last piece of jewelry I bought my wife was her wedding ring, which she doesn’t wear because it gives her blood blisters when digging post holes.
I bought flowers for my wife once and she sneezed the entire time they were in the house so I don’t waste any more money on roses or fancy floral arrangements. Besides that, flowers wilt and it’s against my better business instincts to buy anything that’s for pleasure, is fleeting, or dies. Except for cows, of course.
I’ve heard that some men give their wife gifts from a place called Victoria’s Secret. I understand they sell lingerie there, which just tells me the man isn’t buying it for the wife’s pleasure but for his. Besides, I think buying underwear for your wife could be a little tricky. If you buy a size too large she’ll think you’re calling her a cow, but if it’s too small it may rip when she tries to put it on. Then you won’t be able to take it back for a refund. It’s tricky, much like buying livestock panels for your wife as a present. Are you saying she doesn’t do a good job plugging holes in fences and needs to be replaced?
This is not to suggest I don’t give my wife random gifts throughout the year. I once bought her a box of See’s Candy but by the time I gave it to her someone had eaten 75% of the little chocolates so the only ones left were the coconut ones, which she hates. We don’t buy gift certificates for each other any more because I once used the gift certificate she gave me from Tractor Supply and I turned around and bought a gift certificate for her with it. She eventually bought some fly spray with it so the only one enjoying our gifts to each other was my horse Gentleman. I also gift wrapped a library book once I knew she wanted to read but I told he she had to read it within two weeks or it could get pricey.
The gift that really cracks me up is when someone sends you a nice card that says, “In honor of your birthday we have donated $50 in your name to blah, blah, blah.” In other words, “As a gift to you we’re taking a tax deduction for your birthday.” It’s similar to the time I offered to send my wife to artificial insemination classes in Kansas for her birthday so I wouldn’t have to buy any more expensive bulls. I even offered to pay extra for her to stay an extra week and learn how to preg check our cows. It’s what you get for the gal who already has everything.