And that’s a wrap

November 30, 2007

Here’s the transcript to Podcast episode 31. It’s copyright © 2007 by Novel Ideas and Jeff Cutler

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When I say wrap I’m usually talking about the finishing of a project. As you know, I’ve been writing as part of NaBloPoMo all month long and today marks the end of that project for 2007.

But the word wrap also has a couple other connotations. It can mean a tasty sandwich contraption that is served in a tortilla or similar conveyance. And it can mean very literally the wrapping paper you see this time of year on presents that thoughtful people give to one another.

I’m not standing on the soapbox willy-nilly at the start of December (really the end of November) to chastise anyone who has been a little less than skilled in their gift giving. But I know the pain that can be incurred by the recipients of bad gifts.

About one millennium ago in a galaxy one town away, I gave a soon to be wife and then ex-wife some socks for her birthday. These weren’t ordinary socks. They were singing socks. That’s right…these were socks that had microchips in them well before it was corny to have greeting cards with songs in them or even those insanely annoying stuffed animals with chips in their hands that coordinate with their gyrating movements.

Don’t get me started on those. These stupid creatures (whoops, too late) include the dancing Elvis Santa, a myriad of ducks and swans and other fowl singing sweet lullabies and even the occasional stout little chicken that actually bounces around to the chicken dance.

I confess that my favorite is the chicken-dance chicken, but it’s because I really like the chicken dance. Getting back to my point, please don’t purchase the chicken dance soundtrack for me…I just like the song from time to time.

SO these socks with chips in them were Halloween socks. They were decorated in orange and black and had howling and other scary noises that you might hear on All Hallow’s Eve. Surprisingly, they didn’t go over well.

Even though this person had confided that she loved Halloween.

Even though socks are both practical AND fun when they play music.

Even though they were coming from someone she wanted to marry.

Nevertheless, the socks were not a hit. Which brings me to my list for 2007 and early 2008. *Why not carry the items and the list forward into the new year in case people fail to get you something you want. If the list still has stuff on it in mid-January, just take the initiative and go buy it for yourself or wait until your April birthday and republish the list to give yourself another shot at some booty.

So, I’ve been a bad gifter but I also have the scars that come from getting questionable gifts. These are not always Halloween sock-quality gifts but some stuff that makes you wonder how much time was taken in the gift gathering process.

And I’m not talking about the ‘gifts’ we get from Dad. Those are useful and innovative gifts. Far be it for me—or anyone—to criticize his gift acquisition process. Who really cares that the great calendars, toe clipper sets, measuring flashlight with level and snack compartment all come from Amex as part of his yearly membership and all he has to pay is shipping. Who wouldn’t want an imitation Leatherman or pair of travel ear plugs (not sound canceling but ear plugging) and a nice eye shade?

The grand prize winner in my book for odd and inaccurate gift goes to the hot dog toaster that I got one year from a family member. I won’t name that person and I won’t say that the gift choice was entirely her fault because my eating habits have been all over the map my entire life.

Add to this the fact one brother is a trained chef who could make Alpo taste great, the other is a champion pie baker, and my sister has a discerning palate and is no slouch in the kitchen.

When you compare that history with my former choice of Chef Boy-ar-Dee entrees and Ramen Noodle side dishes, you can’t be surprised at the hot dog toaster.

But over time my tastes and sophistication have changed. I’m now a discerning sushi fanatic. I enjoy my meat seared properly and prepared without the chef soaking it for days in a bag of marinade. And I even had a spinach salad for lunch yesterday.

I feel that I’m now far from the hot-dog munching, Mac-and-Cheese loving, Mallomar gobbling fiend who used to giggle when the Peeps were released for Easter.

Now my frequent breakfast order at work—for which I’m going to be late today because I’m typing this madly in my study—is a collection of eggs, some salsa, a few sausages or bits of bacon and a delightful jack cheese.

That, my friends, isn’t something you put in a hot dog toaster. It’s something you stuff into flat, circular piece of bread and enjoy with reckless breakfast abandon. And that’s a wrap.

More to come…