Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Gift

Once upon a time there was a certain neighborhood. It was a tradition in this neighborhood for the citizens to exchange gifts during the year with one another. Being the good people that they were, they spent a lot of time preparing these gifts that they could exchange with one another.

Over the years, trends came and left. Sometimes it was in vogue to have really elaborate gifts, wrapped nicely. Other times it was fashionable to have the gifts personalized. It was a nice, quaint setting, similar to the old Andy Griffith show. However, things would not always stay that way.

One resident decided to have extra wide, sparkly ribbons one year. Oh, how nice his gifts looked. Then, all the other neighbors had to get extra wide sparkly ribbons for their gifts, too. You see, one did not want to be the only one to have non-wide and non-sparkly ribbons. Then, someone else came up with the idea of having complex and ornately detailed bows. Of course, it was not long before everyone else was doing the same thing. This trend continued, with flowing, scripted cards, shaped, specialized packaging, and ornate, detailed levels of wrapping paper, one inside the other. Eventually someone even electrified their gift with batteries. Small blinking lights and little music players soon adorned each gift.

The stress for preparing the gifts had begun to increase, exponentially. No one wanted to be seen as giving a less impressive gift than their neighbors. All trends were scrutinized and carefully evaluated so as to have the greatest impact of being a "good" gift.

The time for gift giving arrived, and the neighbors with love and affection traded their gifts with one another, glancing comparatively at the packages they had each prepared. When the gifts were opened, however, the boxes were found to be empty. With sadness they realized that all their effort had been spent trying to make their gift look good, and no time had been left over to actually prepare the gift that they were supposed to give. They had missed the purpose of the gift entirely.

armchair coach
amateur historian