Thursday November 30, 2006

“Oh, drat it,” I said when I got to the place that used to be “Toys for Men”, or “Boys Toys”, or some such.

Actually, I said something quite a lot stronger than that and I make no apology for my profanity even though, in the interest of those with a gentle upbringing, I choose to conceal it.

I mean, when you’ve plodded dutifully half-way across Taunton seeking out the shop that used to be filled with glittering chrome and black plastic gadgets, gizmos and other useless delights to amuse the jaded gentleman and you find it’s been turned into a health food shop you’re entitled to a bit of a “drat it.” Leastways, I think so.

It may be a failing in me but I reckon it’d take a masterpiece of gift wrapping to make a pack of puy lentils or of Mesopotamian Cleansing Herbs as interesting as a chrome and black plastic poke-the-pig-and-hear-him-squeal™ toy for a grown-up boy.

So I sighed, and wandered off at random looking for something else interesting. Didn’t find it, of course, so I sighed again and walked into a large department store where I bought boring but reliable gifts for my birthday boy. In the absence of a list the best I can hope for is boring and reliable.

Next was the usual tedious hunt for a gift shop that hasn’t put all the birthday cards away to make room for Christmas cards. It’s the same every year. I start out in January or February, seeking out good birthday cards in readiness for December and always but always reject them, thinking I’ll find something better. Never do, of course.

The plain fact of the matter is that I’m useless at birthday presents. Always have been. That’s why I need that list.

“How did you do?” he asked when we joined up in Caffe Nero.


“Bad as that, huh?”

“Put it this way. It would have been a lot easier if I’d had a list.”

“Sorry. Can’t think of anything I want or need.”

“Well, you’d better have one for next year or I shall get you some socks.”

“Oh. I’d have liked some socks.”



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