Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Idiot's Guide to Christmas Gifts

Gift-giving can be tricky during the holidays. First, you have to decide whom to buy for and whom not to buy for without offending either. You buy for someone who didn't buy for you leaves them feeling guilty; you don't buy for someone who buys for you leaves you feeling guilty. 

Drawing names and Secret Santa helps in avoiding this problem, but since I had to roll it like Greece (austere living with a bad attitude) this holiday season, I avoided the whom-to-buy-for conundrum this year by not buying for anyone I don't share DNA with. 

So when I found a gift in my mailbox at work, I was pleasantly surprised and slightly worried. When I saw that the present was from my department heads, I breathed a sigh of relief--as my superiors it was their obligation to buy me a gift in the spirit of morale. 

I took my present back to my classroom, shoved the 150 research papers that I would be grading over my Winter "Break" aside, and immediately opened my festive, cellophane gift bag, drew out the red tissue paper, and unwrapped this: 

My boss had bought me a pygmy pen. Cute. We English teachers can never have enough pens. 

Like all children, I wanted to play with my gift immediately, but I couldn't figure out where the tip of the pen was. I popped off the cap, and like a child whose parents forgot to buy the batteries her new toy needed, felt disappointed.

Well shit, my pen was broken. The tube of ink seemed to be missing. Putting the cap back on, I examined my pen more closely and realized that it didn't seem to be a pen. But what the hell was it?

An eraser? 


I was completely befuddled. But wait, I had seen my friend and colleague, Laura, in the lounge with hers clipped to the collar of her shirt. Walking a few classrooms down the hall, I found her with another colleague working on a state report. Flinging the door open, I held up my mal-factured gift and asked, "What the hell is this?"

I popped off the cap again, "What, is it for? Drugs?" Do my bosses think I do drugs, and if so, are they encouraging me to stay off of them? Do they know that I don't do drugs and are encouraging me to start?

Laura guffawed, cast a side-glance at our colleague, then straightened up and with her widest, most condescending smile said, "A stylus." 

That answer did not help me at all. 

"For your iPad." The district had bought our department iPads a couple months back so we could be more "mobile" when using technology for instruction.

I shrugged and shook my head. 

"So you can keep your screen clean."

Smallest damn screen-cleaner I'd ever seen.

"Now you won't get your dirty fingerprints all over the screen," Laura clarified. "You can use that instead of your finger."

Lightbulb. "Is that what this rubber tip is for?" I said.


I wish I could say that my lapse of intelligence was due to mental exhaustion. I wish I could say that it was due to mentally already being on vacation. I wish I could say it was due to just being mental. But, if you've read my other posts on technology, you know I can't blame it on anything else than the fact that when it comes to anything digital . . . 


  1. OMG, that sounds amazing!! I need one of those for my ipad!! And yes, present buying and giving is very tricky. I got a key chain and I was this a collar for my new puppy?? Nope. Key chain. 0_o

  2. If you've never seen one before, how would you know what it is? Nifty, though.

  3. LOL I don't use a stylus. I don't mind having fingerprints on my iPad. It actually makes me feel better because I know I'm using it and thus have justified the cost. My department offered to get me one, but I just bought one because I want to do lots of "personal" things with it that aren't at all work-related.

    I love that your muse is Patrick Stewart. He always comes across as such a wonderful, kind, and deeply thoughtful man on screen and it just sucks me in.

  4. Lord, I wouldn't have known what the hell to do with that thing either. :-)
    Some Dark Romantic

  5. What a great gift, I suggested to my kids that we send Grandma an iTunes card for the exact same reason--it would occupy her for hours, trying to figure out what it was for.

  6. There's NO WAY anybody would immediately know what that was for if it wasn't attached to a tag for an iPad or somehow indicated it was related to technology.


Please validate my existence.