by Mick Dumke
Every so often I fall into a minor panic as I realize that Christmas is still closer and I still haven't picked up any gifts. And this reminds me that I am a mediocre gift giver, and that reminds me that whatever else happens, I need to avoid doing what Mo did.
I first heard about her errors as I was home reading one afternoon this summer, and a squat guy of about 30 began pacing under my window as he spoke on a cell phone.
"Mo, what kind of man do you think I am?"
I tried to return to the quiet thrills of the Gerald Ford biography I was reading. It was impossible. The voice beneath my window grew louder.
"Mo, I'd rather be on my own than be insulted like that," he said. "Yeah, it is about the watch. That was some kind of watch. It was my birthday, Mo!"
He listened a moment before bursting with exasperation. "Mo, that was a cheap motherfucking watch!"
Mo must have claimed otherwise, but her case was weak.
"Mo, I looked it up on eBay! It was selling for nineteen ninety-nine! Nineteen motherfucking ninety-nine! What kind of a man do you think I am, to give me a watch on my birthday that's selling on motherfucking e-Bay for nineteen ninety nine?"
It was a tough question, and the answer was apparently short and unsatisfactory. Though the watch may have been cheap, it succeeded in telling him that the hour was getting late: "I don't have time for this shit, Mo."
Months later, I still wish the guy's birthday had been better.
Note to self: no watches under twenty bucks for Christmas gifts this year ...
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