gratuitous image
24 December 1996

The Most Wretched Holiday

Oh dear, another Christmas with its absurd customs. I feel obligated to send gifts to my friends and relatives who haven't needed or wanted any material things in years. Similarly, I must graciously accept--and appear grateful--for the various doodads and baubles I'm given. I have a devoutly religious Christian friend with a large family who quite enjoys the seasonal rituals, but for the rest of us, well, bah humbug. Arf, even.

A few years ago I found the ideal Christmas gift: it can be transmitted over the phone, on a postcard, or as an email message, yet it ends up as a physical object of infinitely variable dimensions. If you'd like a present from me, here's what to do ...

Step One
Get a hammer, chisel, tire iron or similar tool.
Step Two
Find a crumbling concrete structure; any building site, parking lot, or curb will do.
Step Three
Knock off a piece of concrete. Choose a piece that's exactly the size of the gift you want from me.
Step Four
Place the piece of concrete in a suitable display: mount it on a piece of varnished hardwood, put it in a glass display case, et cetera.
Step Five
Title it "A Piece of the Berlin Wall." If anyone questions its authenticity, I'll be happy to attest that I really was on both sides of the Berlin Wall in 1989; I have the passport stamps to prove it.
You may enhance the gift by giving it a colorful history. For example, if there's a bit of paint on the concrete you may say it's part of a famous mural. Or if it's a very tiny piece, you can say it's a piece of the wall that splintered off when East German guards fired automatic weapons at a young girl trying to escape. (Whether or not she made it, lived or died, are all variables you can use to embellish the tale.)
And that's my gift to you. Merry humbug. Arf.

yesterday | index | tomorrow
©1996 David Glenn Rinehart