So...a three pack of black socks from Nordstrom, huh?

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2011/12/19 07:01 -05:00, original URI:

I promised a friend that I'd tell a story.

Right here. and right now.

and I like to keep promises, even silly ones.

So, without further adieu, the story....

Christmas is an unusual time of year.

One of the more unusual parts of it has ti do with when friends ask you what you want for Christmas.

Conversations can go (and on occasion have gone) something like this:

Friend: So, I was putting together my list and thought I'd ask what you might like for Christmas.
Me: Are you doubling as an elf for Santa this year?
Friend: No, this is just my [husband|wife|boyfriend|girlfriend] and I, just doing our Christmas shopping.
Me: You do realize I was raised Jewish, right?
Friend: Okay, for Hanukkah. Whatever.
Me: I'm more of atheist M.O.T., these days. No need to give presents. The upside being neither Santa nor Hanukkah Charlie leave me coal.
Friend: Michael, could you just pretend you we normal for 30 seconds and give us a chance to do something nice for you during this special time of year?
Me: Okay, okay. I guess I could use...uh...never mind. It's silly.
Friend: How silly could it be? Tell me! And let friends of yours who aren't sure what you'd like give you a gift!
Me: Okay, but you asked for it....

I would then proceed to the two things I could really use right now.

First of all, I could really use some socks.

Yes, socks.

For the 4-5 months of the year that during the day I'm not barefoot and not wearing sandals, and the twelve months of the year where I'm going out at night, some nice black socks would be a goodness.

Ideally, socks like these from Nordstrom or some similar store (click on the picture for the link):

Selecting those specific socks would greatly enhance the Chances of me wearing them, but it's nominally a gift so I can't get too choosy about it.

Of course no one seems very enthusiastic about buying socks as a present. Despite assurances that they would be used. And appreciated.

They then focus on the fact that I said two things.

In the hopes that the other thing might seem more like a gift to them.

Because apparently someone wanting to give me a gift, us really all about them.


The other thing I could really use is a drying rack.

Because now that I'm finally buying clothes that are the right size, I don't want them to shrink.

And thus the multiple decades logic I used to run under of assuming everything not marked dry clean only would be dryer bound could have a more effective means of being carried out than on hangars in my bathroom.

I would then at that point say that what I really needed was one of those drying racks - they are too awkward to get home myself without a vehicle, and would truly be useful.

They would then pause for a second, consider the issues, and realize that I really had no other gift in mind.

Then each time I would get the same response:

"So...a three pack of black socks from Nordstrom, huh?"

Peter Ibbotson on 19 Dec 2011 8:18 AM:

I'm with you on this one.

Every couple of years I get folks to buy me black socks (usually aiming for a dozen pairs) and then throw out all the old socks I possess. Result is a sock draw with no mismatched pairs and losing a few isn't an issue.

Simon Buchan on 20 Dec 2011 12:01 AM:

One thing I'm really don't look forward to at Christmas (and also my birthday) is having to refuse presents after I've asked family* not to get anything, despite having told them that I'm going to refuse them even if they do get them so they know I'm not just being polite and I literally *don't want to receive presents*. But then I'm not a normal person.

Though I could use some socks....

* Friends seem to be convinced easier for some reason.

(Man, this blogging platform needing comments to be sent within a short timeout of the page load is ridiculous! I know you don't control it, but I would think they'd know about it by now.)

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