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When a child is little and thinks three nickels is more than one quarter, Dad decides on the gift for Mom. That’s the way it goes until he’s old enough to make his own money selling smokes behind the school. Someone’s gotta help Simple Jack. When Max was two, he picked a flower from the garden and brought it in to surprise me. It smelled like onions. Because it was an onion.

Some dads leave it up to the little knuckleheads and buy whatever they say. Last year for my birthday, Andrew asked Max, “If you had money and could buy Mommy anything you want, what would you buy her?” “Lipstick!” he said, within seconds. Remind me not to make this kid the executor of my estate. “So, son, your mother has lost her marbles and needs to go live somewhere else. You have lots of money so you can put her anywhere you like. Where would you like to send her?” “How about out back in the shed?” SON OF A. He wanted to get me lipstick. So I got lipstick.

This year for my birthday, he said he wanted to buy me…wait for it, wait for it…make-up. THE FUCK. It was cute I guess. I mean, it would have been cuter had Max wanted to give me a pen*, because I’m a writer. Or a book, because I like to read. But no, I got cosmetics. Clearly, I am a mother of depth and substance.

Last year for Mother’s Day, Andrew picked the gift. Which you’d think would be a good thing, since Max would have dropped mad stacks on mascara and miracle mousse. But no. With hubby dearest at the helm of the gift-buying ship, I received a trolling motor for a canoe. His canoe. DROWN.

This is what you call an ungift. A gift someone gives you that’s really meant for them. A gift for them, disguised as a gift for you. Like the husband who buys a 60-inch flat-screen for “family movie night”. Oh how thoughtful, honey. Pass me the remote so I can turn this bad boy to channel LIES! You know what he bought that mammoth for. The NHL, the NFL, and the PORN.

Meanwhile back at the ranch of deceit… “Happy Mother’s Day, babe. It’s a trolling motor for a canoe, so we can go canoeing as a family more often!” MY ASS. But look, I admit, I pulled this shit once or twice. Back in high school, I bought a new Celine Dion cassette tape for my friend Angie, and before I gave it to her I took it out of the plastic and taped it off, made a copy of it, whatever we called doing that back in the dark ages. DICK MOVE. But I was 12 or something, give me a break bah. I’d never do that now. Except I would. For a very good reason: REVENGE. After I got the trolling motor for Mother’s Day, I bought the husband a wok for Father’s Day. You know, a wok. The instrument of Yan. The lovechild of a pot and a frying pan, in which you fry and stir all the stirfry. I put a note on the inside: “So you can fry more fish that we catch in our motorized canoe. You’re welcome.”

And we lived happily ever after or something like that. This year I’m expecting either a hockey helmet, a fishing rod, or a 22-year-old Asian woman in a thong.

* A pen is a device used for writing with the hand. Ink is transferred from the pen onto paper by pressing gently on the tip.

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