Peter G (sinetimore) wrote,
Peter G

Behind Blue Eyes

Rarity PosterIt was back when we lived in Idaho.  I was between 5 and 7 years old, I'm thinking 6, but don't quote me.  Anyway, it was my mother's birthday.  Being a kid, I took some red Play-Doh that I had and made a heart out of it.  I knew Play-Doh dried out and became a hard substance similar to the ceramics my mother was getting into.  I remember being unable to find wrapping paper in the house, so I wrapped the still-pliable heart (turns out it takes a lot longer than the few days I gave it to dry out) in a sheet of notebook paper and presented it to her as a gift.

Mom said tersely it was a stupid gift and I should have gotten her something from the store.

I was starting to cry, and mom told me to knock it off.  So I went back to my room as well as I was able, shut the door, and bawled my eyes out.  Never mind I was a kid who wasn't even getting an allowance.  Never mind I lived in a small town and the nearest store was twenty minutes away by car.  All I could think about was how upset I made my mom.

Now, my mom denies, to this very day, that she ever did anything like that.  She has asked me why I don't, say, draw her a nice picture or something.  I mention the story, and she swears it's a false memory.  It's not.  But more to the point, no matter how much she denies it, her behavior reflects it.  She gets gifts that are handcrafts and will talk about how nice they are, hang them on the walls, and so on.  But the gifts she tells her friends about and brags about and shows off are all mass-produced store bought items from her family and friends.

The reason for this little trip down memory lane is a warning to certain individuals reading this.  There's a kid's birthday coming up, and a suggestion came up.

A very bad suggestion.

This is why it's bad....

When you start giving unique and personal gifts, you have to weigh two factors.  The first is whether or not the person will actually enjoy it (we've all gotten gifts from the handyman of the family who, say, makes table lamps out of old Coke bottles and shit, or the crafter who makes a picture out of glued-on macaroni).  This, however, is only the first hurdle.  There are people for whom it truly is the thought that counts.  One of my friends, before I bailed on Christmas gift giving, I was stuck for a gift to give him.  In desperation, I rolled the dice.  You know those tabletop pinball games they make for kids, with Spider-Man or some shit like that?  Well, there was one for the rock band AC/DC.  At my wits' end, I choose that.  I will never forget him opening the wrapping paper, then caaaaaaarefuuuuuuullyyyyy opening the box (it wasn't mint condition, but he didn't want to make it worse) and eagerly examining his new toy.  He asked if I had any batteries.  When a five minute search turned up nothing, I cannibalized an old adapter to provide power so he could try it out.  I am certain I was the trigger for him turning strategic portions of his house into miniature AC/DC memorabilia museum displays.  Whether that is cause for celebration or blame depends on the individual.

For me, it's also the thought that counts.  One of the best gifts I got was a comic page recreation.  Yeah, I see the differences and can tell this isn't the original piece.  I don't care.  This is the closest I can get to owning this particular page, and I still take it out of the portfolio to just stare at it for a while.  And all it cost them was $25.

The reason I bring this up is because, for some, personal and unique isn't enough.  It can't just be something they want, it has to also be something other people will want.  Something they can brag that they have and the others don't.  And kids are notorious for this behavior.

What you are thinking of will be a momentary thrill.  But as soon as others aren't as impressed by it because it's a piece drawn for him instead of, say, an original comic page that has seen print, he will lose interest.  The value will be gone.  He'll one day take it down and completely forget about it.

I understand you don't have a lot of money and the actual piece is rather high for a kid.  But you'd be better off skipping it then.  He doesn't want personal, he wants to do a victory lap.  And unless you get Jim Lee to draw it, it's going to be another drawing that anyone can do and won't mean anything to him.

Trust me.  Take it from a former King Of Christmas Gifts.
Tags: art, destroying childhood memories, did not do the research, don't say i didn't warn you, don't try this at home, important life lessons, my little pony friendship is magic, sez who? sez me!, things that make you go hmm, wrong on every level

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