As is the habit for my family on Christmas eve, once the present gift exchange for the little kids has taken place, the older kids and adults gather to begin our annual White Elephant gift exchange. Each year the choice of gifts goes from bad to worse; from perhaps practical gifts only found in a parallel universe to personal humiliation-one family’s quest to show the worst pictures ever taken of them to the world. For our contribution I found an Ugly Sweater making kit and an Uncle Si Chia Pet. Not quite as horrible and possibly even a step up from some my earlier years’ contributions (My personal favorite a small tree made of dairy cow ornaments-endearing “A very Moo-ey Christmas” tree). All in all there were 37 presents to be fought over and I had the unfortunate early number of 10. The odds that something “good” would be available to steal were not good. The doll on the other hand had the number 27…the odds were in her favor.
When my turn arrived, the boy, who ordinarily won’t hang out with my family-we’re a bit loud (understatement) when all together; asked “Mom can I pick for you please”. Happy to have him sharing in the fun, I said “Sure” and he proceeded to pick the box which most resembled–get this–a sword. I laughed at his choice and once again when we unwrapped his excalibur to reveal…. you guessed it… “A Yard of Chocloate”. Thus Choco-scalibur was born. “This is the last thing we need…” I said looking at the long box of chocolate. Earlier in the day, a 2 pound box of chocolates had arrived from one of my clients. I certainly did not need any additional hazzards on my way to getting thin. “Don’t worry mom, I’ll get rid of this…” the boy added and thus was born the “Salesman of the Choco-scalibur”
One by one the numbers were called and another family member approached the tree. Each one assulted by the boy’s loud booming voice which said, “Take this Choco-scalibur…magically designed to give you diabetes…” “Bay, I don’t think you should point out the flaws while trying to “sell” this” I said and we laughed. “I love the boy’s selling technique” One of my brother’s remarked. “That’s why he’s going into the medical field and not sales…” I replied with a wink. “Choco-Scalibur, the only sword that comes with a warning from your dentists!!” He announced and we all laughed–but no one took him up on his offer to trade–not even his sister who ended up with a musical book on farts, rather than a yard of chocolate. “I’m giving this book to the boy for Christmas mom…since he makes every one of these noises…” she explained.
Later after all the gifts and laughs had been shared in the gift exchange, my eldest brother Bill approached and said, “It was nice seeing the boy involved in the game…seems like he’s making an effort this year to be social”. I smiled in return and agreed. “He’s surprised me this year too”. Then the boy wandered over and said, “Uncle Bill, how would you like…” Bill laughed and replied, “Uh no Choco-scalibur for me boy”. Turning his attention to me the boy said, “Well mom I tried…” “Yes you did baby…and you had fun too…? I replied. “Yeah…I decided to be a member of your family tonight and just go with the loudness…” I laughed and asked, “Did you at least have fun?”
“Eh…perhaps…” he smiled and then gave me a hug.
“Eh perhaps” is right.