I stayed up way too late last night. I was scouring the Michael’s website for items to send to my oldest friend, David, for his birthday.
David had been serious about art when we were in high school. He put it aside in college in favor of drums and the bass guitar.
During the pandemic, he picked up art again, making some truly wonderful collages. He has been selling them online and more recently, at local fairs. His main job is as a teacher assistant in an elementary school, but the collage art has been so profitable that he has been able to give up his second job at the hardware store.
I wanted to buy him a particular pair of scissors, the Fiskars Amplify Soft Grip Mixed Media Shears. These are some serious scissors, with an equally serious price, tag. Michael’s sent me a 30% off coupon good on my entire regularly-priced purchased, so I figured yesterday was the day to shop.
I wanted to throw some other items in the basket—some things that might be useful, and some things that might make him laugh.
When I was in high school and he was a first year college student, I sent him a Chia Pet. He responded (retaliated?) by sending me the Clapper. As we have aged, we no longer send each other stupid gifts for every occasion, but there tends to be a bit of—what shall we say? Whimsy in our gift giving.
Within the last ten years, like when we were fully-grown adults with spouses and retirement accounts, David sent me an envelope that was so large I had to go to the post office to pick it up. I thought it might be a print or an enlarged photograph from childhood.
What it was was a set of decals. Very large decals, depicting some kind of water rodent, and specifically designed to decorate the toilet.
I don’t think I even entertained the possibility of taking the toilet decals to Goodwill. I removed the cardboard backing and then rolled up the sheet as tightly as I could before stuffing it in the trash can.
A few months later, Dave and his [much saner] wife Kerry came to visit me and Ed. Within minutes, Dave asked to see the toilet decorated with water rats.
“You got rid of the Toilet Tattoos?” He was incredulous. “Did you at least find someone to give them to?”
I looked away.
“You threw them out? I can’t believe you threw them out!
Kerry said, “I told you not to send her those.”
Dave shook his head. “Those things were rad.”
This is who I was shopping for last night.
Dave’s birthday present from Michael’s will contain the Fiskars Amplify Soft Grip Shears, two smaller pairs of scissors for detailed work, a swivel craft knife for even more detailed work, and some oddball silicone painting spatulas and a tiny jar of sparkly silver glitter paste. Reflecting on it now, the silicone painting spatulas and the glitter paste don’t seem nearly strange enough.
Perhaps I should have sent a Weird Al Chia Pet.
But nothing screams Christmas like a Weird Al Chia Pet.