The Definition of Irony

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Cole showing off his ability to simultaneously wear and point at a t-shirt.

This amazing Christmas gift arrived in the mail the other day. A present from one of my besties back in Chicago.

She and I always exchange Christmas gifts.

Okay, that’s a lie.

We sometimes exchange Christmas gifts.

Another lie!

What is my problem today?

A gift is, more often than not, given at some point around the holidays.

And that, my friends, is accuracy in a nutshell.

Or is it precision?

Kids, when your Sophomore Physics teacher says, “Someday you’ll need to know this,” she ain’t lying.

Now here’s how it all played out (the gift giving, not the physics – you don’t need that shit):

About ten years ago, my friend gave me a Christmas gift. I don’t remember what it was, but let’s just say it was a Rolls Royce, which should help improve my other friends’ gift giving games.

“Oh shit!” I said, because I swear professionally. “I didn’t know we were doing gifts. I…” searched my pockets for a rogue mint, but finding nothing, said, “don’t have anything for you.”

“That’s fine,” she said with complete sincerity. Complete sincerity is the only way to properly lord something like this over someone’s head.

So the next year, I showed up with a gift. I don’t remember what it was, but let’s say it was the world’s crappiest tennis ball. It’ll keep my other friends’ gift expectations low.

“Wow! This is so cool!” my friend said, tossing the tennis ball around the room. “But… I… didn’t get you anything. I figured we weren’t doing gifts.”

“No problem,” I said, sounding slightly less sincere than my friend had the year before.

Did she expect me to continue driving last year’s Rolls Royce?

Some friend.

Now most people would figure this all out by year three. Everyone’s happy. Everyone has a gift to give and receive.

That’s most people.

I, on the other hand, am not most people.

I, am a shmuck.

“Oh… I didn’t think we were doing gifts,” I said, unwrapping the Cartier tennis bracelet I’d been eyeing for the last seven months.

“That’s okay,” my friend said, quite sincerely.

So by the fourth year, it’s all worked out, right?

“Oh… I didn’t think we were doing gifts,” I said again, assuming we had gotten tired of this game.

Dammit! Another lie!

I assumed no such thing. I plum forgot.

Now most people would call this irony. They would do so because they’re reminded of a story they read in high school about a man, a woman, the holidays, and gift giving.

“And this,” said Mr. Schuler, the English teacher who always smelled faintly of tuna, “is the definition of irony.”

But those people would be wrong, because there were no wrinkles in this story.

At this point I calculate the gift game score at 6-1-3, with my friend obviously leading.

And that 1? I happened to have mints in my pocket when she handed me a gift three years ago.

 

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