It was a risky move that could have ended in miserable failure. Either they were going to love what I gave them or I would never be looked at in quite the same way and I certainly wouldn’t be trusted afterward. There is a very good reason why I only bring Cinnabons to the Christmas potluck!
Some of you may or may not know this, but a good cook, I am not. I didn’t get those genes. Nor do I have any inclination at this point in my life to improve my culinary skills by using friends and family members as guinea pigs. Just thinking about cooking for people other than David, Ryan and Lauren makes me — well I wanted to say break out in hives, but — no. Just no. I never want to break out into hives again! Suffice it to say, however, that I have bad anxiety when cooking or even thinking about cooking for other people.
I don’t want you to get the wrong idea, though. It’s not that I can’t cook. I can. I’m usually okay when cooking for David and Ry and Lauren — that is, when I cook. However, things seem to always go awry when I cook for others (and you realize that I sometimes understate things, right? Like when I say — things seem to go awry? I actually served a turducken at a family get together once. Yeah. I know. Bad idea. And yeah, it was as bad as you are imagining right now.) and so now, no matter how simple Allen over at Das Midnight Goose makes it seem on his Yum-Yum Friday posts, I simply just can’t and won’t cook for others at this point in my life!
So Cinnabons, it is! I deeply respect and have nothing but awe and admiration for those of you who can cook, though! And thank God you can! Otherwise, we would all starve at get-togethers! So, yeah, I was taking a risk in buying the gifts I gave out this Christmas because I can’t afford to screw things up so badly that not only do I have to bring Cinnabons to the party, but I am also now forced to give out Cinnabons as gifts moving forward.
Anyway, since I have roughly eight women that I buy for on David’s side (he buys gift cards for his four sons and our grandsons and I buy actual gifts for our daughters-in-law and our granddaughters; plus Lauren; plus a smaller gift for David’s ex-wife; plus, whatever long-term girlfriends that tend to show up at these events. I hate leaving people out), Christmas always poses an interesting challenge. I had been thinking about what to get these eight grown-assed women (it turned out to be nine this year) since at least June — something that I could give them that was basically different versions of the same gift. Because I didn’t want any one family member to feel like I liked another more or less than the others — because the fact is that I love and adore them all. And gift giving can sometimes be tricky when you don’t get everyone something similar or even the same. Anyway, I was searching for something joyful yet unexpected — something that would take away their worries of today, if just for a short time.
I remembered a book on meditation I bought this past year that always makes me giggle when I read it — Fuck That: An Honest Meditation by Jason Headley, which you can find here. But I was already in the bookstore at the time I thought of giving that out and I couldn’t remember the book’s name nor the author, and I figured the store probably wouldn’t have eight to ten copies of this particular book whose name I couldn’t remember right then anyway. At this stage in the game (the week before Christmas), it was too late to order online. I know this because I asked a staff member who said, “Well, you can try and order online, but we can’t guarantee you’ll have it by Christmas.” So going home, finding the book and then ordering it was not an option. Of course, all of this was going on with my Benedryl brain still raging. Basically, I couldn’t remember shit and I kind of thought that with the fog — brain fog that is — we might have to post-pone Christmas this year. Unfortunately for me, I don’t have a Rudolph to lead the way and bail my ass out like Santa has.
Then I sort of remembered that we postponed Thanksgiving back in November and have yet to celebrate it properly. Shit. (Matter of fact, as I type this up, I still have cans and packages of green beans, pumpkin pie, Stove Top and other food stuff that I bought for Thanksgiving that is still sitting on my counters waiting for me to cook. Sigh. I’ve long since thrown the perishables from the frig away — but what a waste!) Yeah, and here it was — a week before Christmas and I was behind on one holiday and thinking about getting behind on the next as well! There was no doubt that Thanksgiving was just going to have to wait a little while longer — maybe until next Thanksgiving. So there was that. I also considered that it might be time to put that shit back in the pantry. (Hasn’t happened yet, though.) So with all of these thoughts running around in my head while I was in the bookstore, I realized that with or without gifts, Christmas was not going to wait. I’d better come up with something fast and it better be good.
So this is how my brain works — utilizing the old adage “necessity is the mother of invention or in this case — ideas” and taking into account the pressure that only a shortage of time and budgetary constraints can bring, I racked the few remaining brain cells that were still kicking around in my head for an answer to the gift dilemma. For some reason or another, I started thinking about a particular granddaughter, who is now a grown-assed woman, but who we — and by we I mean David — couldn’t get used to hearing profanity shoot out of her mouth when we all got together for his birthday in September; and then I was thinking about how my Dad hated the adult coloring books I got him for his birthday a couple of years back (click here for that story, which is also a Christmastime story, btw); and then I was thinking about Kat at Angel Who Swears, who turned me on to the notion that somewhere out in the world, there are adult coloring books with actual swear words in them. And I remember asking her, “Where do you get these?” and she said that you can order them online; so damn, it was too late to do that as well — so what else could I get these women?
Then I thought — well what the hell, who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky — and so I asked a different staff member if the bookstore had any swear word coloring books in stock. She said she didn’t know, no one had ever asked her that before. She didn’t even know that was a thing. Well, she does now. I’m spreading the word, Kat, spreading the word. After a couple of minutes at the computer, the staff woman grinned and turned the computer screen toward me because she didn’t want to say the name of the coloring book out loud. “Will this work?” she asked. And then she took me back to their adult coloring book section and together we found five coloring books (three different versions) with swear words in them. Perfect, except I needed at least three more books similar to these —
So I bought those five and then the hunt was on.
I spent the next several hours (with David behind the wheel) going from one Barnes & Noble to the next in the greater Dallas area. David thought I was crazy and that this idea for a gift was iffy at best.
David: You want to give coloring books with swear words in them?!!!! For Jesus’s birthday?!!! Okay, if you really think that’s for the best. You’re not really going to give these out as gifts, are you?
Me: * glaring at David without saying a word *
David: Okay. I guess you are, then.
Me: Okay. First of all, David, don’t get judgmental with me, dammit! I am out of time and, yes, this is what I’m getting them. Also, you can’t tell me that Jesus didn’t at least think a few of these words to himself if not outright say them when he got pissed off in the short forty years of hell he had to walk this earth. Besides, no where in the Bible does it say that you can’t say fuck, shit, damn or hell. And I know that there are those who will argue the point and split hairs through their interpretation of what the Bible says, but as far as I’m concerned, they can go screw themselves. Third, cussing has psychological benefits because it relieves stress. Okay? So, just drive me to the next location or else take us home where you can stay. But unless you want to risk me driving on Benedryl brain, you will drive me around until I find enough of these damned books to give out as gifts! Do you have anymore stupid questions or judgmental comments you wanna make?
David: * crickets chirping *
Me: Good. I didn’t think so.
And so what if David was right on both accounts that I’m crazy and that this particular gift was iffy at best. And so what if I got a little defensive. Christmas is chaos. And it definitely wouldn’t be Christmas if I didn’t have to hunt down at least one present. Thrill of the chase, y’all! And this was that present. So the next store we drove to didn’t have any coloring books in stock. The store after that had just one book, which I bought. By this time, I also thought to ask another staff member if they could find out which stores might have one or two at their location.
While that staff member was looking up coloring books at other Barnes & Noble stores, I overheard a customer ask a different sales staff member for a book about “pretending this didn’t happen or something along those lines. I think it’s supposed to be a humorous book,” she told the poor young guy, who didn’t have a clue what she was looking for. He asked if she knew the author’s name. She couldn’t recall. I immediately perked up. The staff member was about to tell her he couldn’t really help her and I thought, “Ah, hell no.”
Okay, y’all. I couldn’t stay out of this any longer. I suggested that she might be looking for Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. “That’s it!” she said and then later on, she came back to me with the book in hand and asked me if that was the right book because she saw that there was another book by Jenny Lawson as well. I told her that was her first book and, in my opinion, it was also my favorite. “But is it funny,” she wanted to know. I told her there was one chapter in there that made me laugh until I cried (y’all remember the squirrel puppet episode when Jenny was a little girl, right?) I was going to tell the woman that I laughed until I peed my pants, but then I thought, that might be too much information and I didn’t want to scare her. I didn’t lie though. I had bodily fluids coming out all over the place when I read that chapter! I also told her that she should check Jenny’s blog out, The Bloggess, because it was well worth reading. And also, Jenny had created an adult coloring book as well.
I didn’t, however, tell the woman what I was looking for at Barnes & Noble because I didn’t want her or anyone else competing with me in buying up what few remaining swear word coloring books were left in the vicinity. My generosity and helpfulness only goes so far, y’all. So, Jenny Lawson, you are welcome. Also, I’m not going to lie — one of these days, I want someone to go into a Barnes & Noble and ask for my book and have a customer do the exact same thing for me that I did for Jenny.
I scored big time at the last Barnes & Noble we went to, even though it was a good twenty miles away. Never mind that we were in the middle of rush-hour traffic at this point in the day and that it took us at least an hour to get there — David knew better than to fight me any further on this. This location had another four books. So at the end of my scavenger hunt, I ended up with ten profanity-laden coloring books in all — enough for all the women, plus an extra couple (just in case) — and if that translated to my getting to keep one or two for myself at the end of the festivities, well then, so be it. Still, after the rush of adrenaline had subsided, I second-guessed myself and worried that this gift might offend someone or everyone and I continued to worry up until everyone opened their gifts.
I mean, I gave these women other stuff as well. I put together bags that, hopefully, appealed to all five of their senses (good-quality chocolate, candles, a CD that Ryan and I put together for them, even macrame) because who doesn’t like a nice macrame wall hanging? It’s current yet retro. However, even with all that other stuff, their gift bags just weren’t complete without that little extra something-something that was unexpected and out-of-the ordinary. Oh, and I also got them each a set of markers because what’s a coloring book if you don’t have anything with which to color?
Then it was time for them to open their gifts, which I made them do all at the same time because, you know, they all basically got the same thing. Before they opened their gifts, though, I told them that there was one particular item that was inspired by the aforementioned grandchild, who was surprised but seemed quite pleased that she’d been helpful. I don’t remember who got to their coloring book first, but after that was discovered — hilarity ensued and they were comparing different pages — one page was a sweet basket of kittens with a caption underneath that basically read, “Yes, we are adorable, now go fuck yourself.” Or there was the page that said, “Fuck housework!” That one’s destined to become an all-time favorite. There were others as well.
I told them I was happy they all liked their books, but I also had an ulterior motive in mind. I wanted each of them to fully color one page (leave no white on the page was part of the instructions I gave), sign and date it and then get it back to me sometime over this next year. When I had a page from each of them, then I’d have them framed and would hang them on a wall at home. And that brought cheers and laughter because who doesn’t want to have a wall full of cuss words on it? Especially a wall of framed art provided by beloved family members? Only at the time I couldn’t think of a name for my wall. One of my stepsons suggested “The Wall of Shame” — and, yeah, I supposed I could go with that. It seemed a little judgy, though; and so it wasn’t until I got home that I realized that it will be called — The Beloved Wall of Profanity. Because — it is what it is and — why the hell not?
The funniest thing about giving gifts this year was that while I gave the women these gifts, it was the men who appreciated the coloring books and possibly the CD just as much if not more so than the women. But hey, if the women want to share with their guys, then rock on! Matter of fact, I got my very first page to frame from one of my four stepsons entitled “A Shit-Ton of Inspiration.” I love it! And of course, he was choosy about how he colored it and he left plenty of white space — because he’s a rebel that way! Another one of the guys, I don’t remember which one now, told me that this was the “best Christmas gift ever.” Now I don’t know about that, but it was high praise, and after this miserable fall, I’ll take whatever I can get and ride that praise for many moons to come! Especially, since I didn’t get him this gift. Or did I, unwittingly? Lastly, our grown-assed grandson, who is now married, told me that instead of arguing, he and his wife can now sit and color mean and awful things to say to one another instead of actually saying them. Well, alrighty, then. These coloring books, apparently, have multi-purpose uses including marriage counseling.
The last thing I want to say about the swear word coloring books: One, they need to make a coloring book based upon George Carlin’s “The seven words you can never say on TV,” may he rest in peace.
Secondly, the most creative person I know when it comes to making up original swear words is Lille Sparven, who I will forever love just for giving us, “Blistering hordes of fuckwads.” Woman, have you considered coming up with a swear word coloring book? I would buy a shit load from you if you ever decide to do this!
And, lastly, they need to make a coloring book based on the Orbit Gum Commercial, because — Pickle you, Kumquat!
So, yeah, the risk paid off this year, unlike the turducken. On behalf of David’s side of the family, thank you, Kat, for letting me know these even existed. And thanks to my granddaughter for providing the inspiration. I can’t wait to see what I get in return.
Anyway, my Wayward Friends, it is in the spirit of giving that I leave you with a couple of videos. The first is someone that Lauren turned me onto named Kalen Allen. Some of you may already know him. I didn’t before, but I think he’s hysterical. I hope you do as well. There are more videos of him from where that came, but this is probably my favorite. Also, Lauren found and shared with me a now-defunct platform for 6 second videos called Vine if you find you have some time to kill. I offer you a compilation of Vine that I found on Youtube. Again, there are more videos you can watch on Youtube. So, to my daughter — thanks, Lauren, for being the beautiful and twisted soul that you are!
I hope you all had a blessed and joyful Christmas and, of course, may each of you have blessings exceeding your wildest expectations in 2019. Keep it safe but not too safe, y’all!
By the way, if you haven’t already discovered our Facebook group, Dungeon of Loom, which was created by Allen T. St. Clair of Das Midnight Goose fame and you are looking for a tribe of like-minded writers, bloggers and readers, please consider checking us out by clicking here. Just ask to join and someone will probably let you in as long as you promise not to be a dick.
P.S. Okay, who knew that Jason Headley had a youtube video out of his book, which I was trying to find a picture of for y’all when I found this video first!!!!! YES! Oh, hell, yes!