Tuesday, August 31, 2010

On Owls and Caterpillars

Last night was a boring Monday night and I had nothing better to do than screw around on Facebook and browse eBay for shit that I don't need, so that's exactly what I was doing.  I often find myself in strange corners of the eBay empire, and I have no idea why but last night I wound up looking at owl-related merch.  One click just lead to another and before you can say, "hooters" I realized that I totally dig owls.

Yes, owls.
Don't look at me like that.

So, it turns out, I now dig owl collectibles.  There I was thinking to myself, "Wow, that's cute.  Oooh, I like those bookends.  Lenox makes owl figurines?  How pretty.  Hmmm, I want that."

WTF, right?  Has that ever happened to you?  You're shopping and all of a sudden your own tastes surprise the hell out of you?  It actually happens to me a lot; I'm about to make fun of something and then I realize that deep down, I think it's kind of neat.

Oddly enough, none of my Facebook friends were overly-surprised by my sudden owl fixation. I guess they're just used to me being... uhh... let's go with quirky.  Then an old friend reminded me of something I wrote on a group website many years ago, back when the OOBH was just a twinkle in my eye.  Since today's post is just a big old pile of steaming randomness, I'll tell you about the worst gift I've ever given someone.

When I first started my crap job and didn't know better, my crazy cat lady coworker convinced me that we should get our boss a birthday gift and do the whole forced-fun office cake party thing. Now, let it be known that I detest the office cake party, especially since I had only been here for a few months but had already determined that the majority of my coworkers were douchebags. However, since I like my boss and was new to the scene, I went along with it.

I gave Crazy my $10 and half-listened as she detailed some "adorable" golf-related item that she thought he'd just love to have in his office.

The day of the cake party arrived and we dragged everyone into the conference room for a half-hearted round of the birthday song and some store-bought cake. Then, with a flourish and a great deal of pomp & circumstance, Crazy unveiled the birthday gift that "we" had so lovingly picked out for him:


And so it was that I unwittingly gave a 55-year old man a 12" tall statue of a caterpillar playing golf.

I was mortified. He stammered and exclaimed, "Oh! Well, look at that." Everyone in the office stifled giggles and suddenly heard their phones ringing down the hall. Crazy beamed proudly. I wanted to melt into the carpet and disappear.

That was seven years ago and the caterpillar still stands on a filing cabinet in his office. Occasionally he clears out his knick-knacks (all sports-related memorabilia, some of it valuable), but I know he feels that he must display the caterpillar until the end of time because we, his adoring employees, gave it to him.

From then on out I made sure that I always take the day off on my birthday, and oddly-enough, so does my boss.

Of  course, this post begs the question:

What's the worst gift you've ever gotten and had to pretend to like?


Frank Irwin said...

My cousin, who is six years older than I, once gave me a couple of "Where's Waldo?" books for Christmas.

I was in my 30's at the time.

Mala said...

You know, I think he's just waiting for the rest of the whimsical caterpillar figurines series. Stop holding out!

Joe's grandmother gave us a chiming clock. It chimed every fargin' 15 minutes! That's great when you're old and need/want to celebrate the fact that you're made it another 15 minutes, but for the rest of us, it's just plain annoying!

And I have a feeling Christmas is going to be very interesting for you this year... be careful what you share here at the OOBH.

(*email me if you need the address to send Bev's Owl-centric gifts.)

Mala said...

So that's what Frank's been up to...

Bev said...

Frank - BWAHAHAHA! So, is your cousin special, or does he just think that *you* are?

Mala - LOL @ "Celebrate another 15 minutes." Ugh, that is annoying. It didn't have any settings? Eesh - way to make sure your family curses your name every quarter hour, huh?

Frank Irwin said...

She always did tell me that she thought I was special, I guess I just thought she meant it in another way. That next year, I suggested that we quit exchanging gifts.

My sister gave me a couple of clunkers, too, but none of them spring to mind.

Thanks for Bev's address, Mala, I'll be bringing her something special.

Cary said...

What a horrible gift. "Crazy" is right. What planet is she from?

I've gotten so many shit gifts, I lost count. My in-laws usually give me absolutely horrible sweaters from JC Penney -- shit with weird stripes and logos nobody knows and faux-suede elbow patches. My aunt & uncle gave me a Lettermen LP when I was 15. Not Letterman, as in David, but The Lettermen. It had songs on it like "The 12th Of Never" and "Cherish" and other stuff teenagers just love. Fit right in with my Who and Styx and Queen.

Rich Girl Red said...

Tickets to a Michael Bolton concert.

Every single product Bath and Bodyworks made in the fragrance "Coconut Lime Verbena." I mean EVERYTHING -- two of some things. If I smell it now I throw up in my mouth.

Mammy salt and pepper shakers.

This is why I take gift-giving so seriously. Do it right or don't do it at all! And that whole "it's the thought that counts" shit? Obviously, you didn't think much of me if you thought I wanted to go see Michael Bolton.

Melissa said...

My FIL's family used to give us the tackiest, most horrible shit - cologne and perfume sets from Walgreens, vomitous sweater sets, horrific knick knacks. Cheap and terrible, and that's just how that family is. Batshit to boot.

Anyway, one year, his aunt and uncle gave us this gold table clock with a glass dome. I can't tell you how trashy that thing looked. Like a garage sale item from the 80s.

It broke when we moved. I nearly cried with joy.

laurieliz said...

For me, my husband is the worst gift giver...He one year gave me a wooden box for Christmas...It was really nice...I thought, "wow, this must be a really nice gift in such a pretty box".....until I realized that the box WAS the gift. A perfect " I think my response was, "This is.......nice.....I love it...."

Samsmama said...

Let's see, our first Christmas as a married couple, my ex gave me a Homer Simpson phone. When I took it back to the store the guy stifled a laugh when he asked if there was anything wrong with it. Ya know, other than it being a Homer Simpson phone.

And for my first Mother's Day the same jackass got me a set of screwdrivers.

Someplace else I once mentioned a Christmas where I received a computer tower, a Scrubbing Bubbles shower kit, and a griddle. Somebody said they didn't blame me for divorcing him. I never did correct them that it was from my current husband, and that it was the best holiday ever.

laurieliz said...

Saw this movie preview and thought it might float your boat...

Jackie said...

Great post! After a rough day, you've managed to make me laugh. I needed that!


Once a bunch of co-workers decided to do a "white elephant" gift exchange. I know what a W/E gift is. You know what a W/E gift is. Do you know who didn't know what it was? The girl that organized the event. So I bought my person something hideous ( I can't recall the item only that the recipient gave a look of utter disgust upon seeing it). Everyone else got "regular" gifts. I spent my time arguing with the "organizer" what a white elephant gift exchange was. A simple Google search proved I was right. Here's a rule of thumb for organizers: Know what the F--- you're organizing before people like me look bad on a "misunderstanding".

Traditionally, a "White Elephant" is something lying around the house that you don't want (some horridly ugly item that someone gave you as a gift or some other item unwanted for some reason). I am of the belief that in most parts of the country, if you tell someone to bring a White Elephant gift it will almost certainly be a gag gift and not something genuinely useful or desirable.
Courtesy of

Senorita said...

I usually give people gift cards. I do my best not to offend.

I don't remember half the gifts I've received. My aunts have knitted me hideous items before. Of course I told them how much I loved it.

Bev said...

Ha ha, you guys have definitely gotten some craptastic gifts! I'm with Senorita - all about the gift cards. ;)

I think the worst gift I've ever gotten has to be the kitten in a snow globe sweatshirt my aunt gave me, closely followed by umpteen million "antiques" from my grandmother's yardsaling days. Just because it's old and smells like cat pee does not make it a valuable antique, Gram, but thanks anyway.

Elliott said...

I hate the idea of getting gifts for people you barely know. My last company did a gag gift exchange during the holidays. I lucked out, because someone bought me two pies. Not one, but two. Because I'm a fat ass.

We do the typical company birthday cards here each month, and it's interesting to me that some employees get cards hand-picked just for them, while others (like me, the month after I started) get the generic 'Happy Birthday Here's a Picture of Cake' card.

Worst gift ever? One of my friends once bought me pajama pants and massage lotion. I think she liked me differently than I liked her. We had to have a serious heart-to-heart conversation after that one.

Close was the toolbox I got the year we were moving near my birthday. I'm a horrible gift-giver, because I try to find something enjoyable and end up with something practical. However, I'd been dropping hints (i.e. "I'd really like...") for months, and instead of that item or two, I got an empty tool box. Great gift, horrible birthday gift.

And I have a golfing moose. Not exactly certain why, since I most effectively do NOT golf, despite my occasional desire to do so.

Heidi Renée said...

A felt Darth Vader stocking from my mother-in-law.

Adrienne said...

Love this entry :-) Its been too long since we've seen the golfing caterpillar!

Linda said...

Holy crap that catepillar guy can still make me cry laughing.
Thank you!