Friday, July 31, 2009

"What do you want for your birthday?"

("Coke Whore", Lawrence, KS 2009)

Thankfully, I am at a point in my life where if I really want something I can just go and buy it or easily save up and purchase it myself. The last few weeks people have kept asking me what I want for my birthday this coming weekend, a question that is tiresome before it leaves the person's mouth. Though I appreciate any and all intention people have in wanting to get me gifts, sadly 90% of the gifts I've gotten in my lifetime have been of entirely no use to me, not-applicable to me personally in any way, or confusing as to why someone would think of me when acquiring the item in the first place.

Admittedly I am a very difficult person to get gifts for. Unfortunately, my practical side tends to lend itself to a perception of rudeness. Truly, rather than wasting money on a gift that I am not going to like and never use, I would prefer a thoughtful hug, a chuck on the shoulder, and the knowledge that you were thinking of me. However, this response never goes over too well.

One or two friends of mine are pretty consistent with making me little cards or weird art packets filled with collaged notes and scraps of papers or books that they think I will like, which I always do, but they are the rarity. Wonderfully, the last few years I have been honored to get really thoughtful, hand made gifts that required complex packaging or FedEx drivers to deliver, which I must embarrassingly say was pretty surprising and magical. Again, these types of gifts are few and far between as I guess they should be.

(As a side note, I love surprises. The good kind, not the "surprise, I gave you herpes" kind.)

For as much as cash is always appreciated and can go a long way, the idea of people making things is a much more special gift than anything that can be purchased from some store. I personally go out of my way throughout the year to send handmade postcards of varying degrees of labor in them as well as other random fabricated, painted pieces of art. These go out only to those people I deem truly important in my world for no other reason than I was thinking about the individual and took a few moments to make whatever thing it is.

Still, even at moments of my most honest and selfish, when asked what I want for my birthday, I can't just say "a well thought out item that took you time and effort to create knowing I will appreciate it on multiple levels," though that really is the truth.

So I guess my official answer is nothing. Whatever you want to give me would be fine, but its the thought that counts. Thanks so much for asking, I really appreciate that. When is YOUR birthday? And what is your mailing address...?


  1. I'm sorry, I ask you every year after I already know what I'm getting/making you because (your own fault), you always have a witty answer, or it starts some fun conversation. And because maybe, just maybe, this time you will actually say, "Hey, you know what? There is this one thing..."

    Can't wait to see you tomorrow!

  2. My dad asked me the same question my birthday is this weekend too. I said 'I'd like a bigger house, but a new Jeep will do'...he said he will just put a bit of money in a card. Hey at least I was honest... ha.