For Steve’s birthday, it was decided that no one could give him a gift that cost over a dollar. Not that we don’t like Steve, or that he isn’t worth more than a dollar, or that we’re extremely cheap (well, it could be that). It’s just that as grown-ups, who needs more stuff?
I run into more and more people who say they are “downsizing.” They’re tired of dusting and polishing. They would rather put their feet up and watch something on Netflix. If they don’t want to buy new things, giving them new things is not what they want, either. Plus, expensive gifts can actually create unhappiness. Who hasn’t gotten some hideous geegaw from a close friend that you have to put on display so you won’t offend the gift-giver? How many times have we all said “Oh, you shouldn’t have,” and meant it — but not as a compliment? I’m starting to think that it won’t be long before guests at adults’ birthday parties will be asked not to bring anything, and also to take something home with them when they leave.
They say you can’t buy happiness, but by limiting every gift to a single dollar, we did buy ourselves a good time, even if we didn’t reach total and complete oneness with the universe. Steve, who camouflages his baldness by shaving his head, laughed large when Kelly gave him a gift set of 10 different combs. Jane gave him one of those dollar picture frames that comes with a creepy, dated family portrait which you are supposed to remove and replace with your own creepy, dated family portrait. She’d taken out the store’s picture and wrote, “Happy Birthday Steve, from your secret other family” and put it back in the frame. He said “Oh, you shouldn’t have,” and we could all tell he really meant it.