I can feel a bit of a cold comin’ on and thank cripes I already got Minnie’s Christmas presents – this kitchen thing that chops and sweater a Joan told me she wanted. The last time I had a cold just before Christmas, the gift thing didn’t work out so good.
This was a few years ago now, I guess. When it started off, there was just a little scratch at the back of my throat. But that’s how it usually starts, and when I went to bed that night I had a pretty good idea I was comin’ down with the cold.
The next morning, I felt like I got hit by a truck. All was sore everywhere, my throat was all sore and swollen and my nose was runnin’ off my face. But if there’s one thing I learned over the years, it’s don’t ever admit to Minnie you’re sick, or she’ll lecture ya on how to dress in cold weather, and when to wash your hands and everything else.
Not to mention her infamous mustard and god-knows-what potion that she thinks cures colds. She calls it a “home remedy,” but anybody who can brew up somethin’ like that should be ridin’ a broom.
So anyways, what I do is, even if I’m so sick I can barely walk, I don’t let on. I came downstairs that morning tryin’ to act normal and before I even got my tea poured she says to me – You’re gettin’ sick.
What?! I says, like it was the most ridiculous thing I ever heard. Now, my eyes were probably all red and puffy, my nose was completely stuffed and the glands in my throat were so swollen I sounded like a fog horn.
You know why you’re gettin’ sick? she says. Because ya never wash your hands.
Lies! I said. I washes my hands all the time.
Not when you use the bathroom, you don’t, she says.
Now, me and Minnie just agree to disagree on this one. I got a system – I always wash my hands if I use the bathroom in somebody else’s house, because I don’t want to be spreadin’ my germs to them. But if I use the bathroom in my own house, I never wash my hands, because my own germs can’t harm me. Makes sense, right?
But no, Minnie’s so big on washin’ your hands after usin’ the bathroom you’d think she got shares in Ivory soap for cripessake.
Anyways, the more I try to argue I ain’t sick, the more obvious it is that I am. Now, I gotta say, other than the mustard potion and the lectures, Minnie does take pretty good care of me when I’m sick. She’ll bring me kleenex or make me soup or get the remote for me if I can’t reach it, just as long as she gets to tell me what a big baby I am while she’s doin’ it.
Now when I woke up sick, I’d say it was maybe about four or five days before Christmas. And if you’re a man, then obviously that’s a ton of time to get a Christmas present for the wife. For a woman that sounds pretty last minute, but for a man, with five days left, you’re thinkin’ – even if I don’t get somethin’ today I still got four days left. Then the next day you’re thinkin’ even if I don’t get somethin’ today I still got three days left. And that logic pretty much continues right up to Christmas morning. It’s not much of a stretch to imagine a fella sittin’ next to the tree on Christmas morning thinkin’ – OK, the kids are finished openin’ their gifts, but she’s goin’ out to the kitchen to pour a cup of tea, so I still got five or ten minutes to find somethin’ for her.
Anyways, that’s what I was thinkin’ the year I got sick just before Christmas. And to tell ya the truth, even with five days left, shoppin’ didn’t really cross my mind until the day before Christmas Eve. I was half-asleep under a blanket on the chair in the livin’ room with balled-up kleenex all around me when I said to myself – no matter how sick I am tomorrow, it’ll be Christmas Eve, so ya gotta get out there and get Minnie somethin’ nice.
The funny thing is, when I woke up the next day I actually felt a little better. And I think that’s what did me in. Because I said to myself – since I’m feelin’ a bit better, I’ll be able to duck out right quick. But what happened was, startin’ at about 10 that morning, the kids put on all their Christmas movies. I’d say I fell asleep somewhere around when the Grinch was tyin’ the antler on top of Max’s head, and when I woke up it was about 7 o’clock at night.
So there I am, Christmas Eve at 7 at night with no presents for my wife. I pretended I had to go over Cyril’s to pick somethin’ up and I started drivin’ around, but needless to say, all the stores were closed. The only thing open was the convenience store and the gas station.
Well, I was desperate, so you know what Minnie opened that Christmas morning? A set of seat covers for my truck.
‘Cuz you’re always sayin’ how cold it is in the truck, I said, after she opened it. I kind of expected she’d blast me for gettin’ myself a present and givin’ it to her.
But ya know why I don’t deserve her? Because she gave me a big hug and laughed her arse off.I couldn’t believe it.
I’m glad ya like them, I said to her, wonderin’ if I should be proud of myself.
She was wipin’ her eyes, she was laughin’ so hard.
You can’t put these in your truck, she said. They’re for bucket seats!