Faculty Christmas Parties . . . always suspect if you're a guy: cute decorations, lots of giggling or cackling, small talk, the gift exchange. Now, I will say that they have catered a good lunch both years--today was fajitas from a local chain and they were delicious. But the gifts that are purchased are still largely with the stereotypical female teacher in mind. To their credit, they added two small pocket knives this year and a Best Buy gift card to the usual mix of hand lotions and boxes of chocolate.
And everything was going along just fine, until my turn finally arrived: #40 out of 41. Typically I would have had very low expectations and had actually been keeping my eye out for something that the wife would like, knowing that the preponderance of the formerly mentioned gifts along with this year's addition of aqua globes, ensured that there really wasn't anything that I would care about. But then it happened.
It was a magical moment. A moment divine. Somewhere around turn #37 a gift card to Barnes and Noble had been unwrapped by a Pre-K teacher--not a likely candidate for an afficionado of books and it seemed that none of the other teachers were all that interested either. 38 came and went. 39-a Shrek Chia pet (I kid you not). My number came and with a hopeful and yet triumphant stride I found my way over to said Pre-K teacher's spot and took the B&N card much to the amusement of everyone else in the room: "Who would want to buy books!? Don't you have enough of those yet?!!?" Clearly, I was among a group that knew the value of education.
Thinking that all was done when #41 showed no interest in my card I was relaxed: a full belly and an expected future purchase to add to the shelf. My reward had come.
But then, the hapless #1 was given the opportunity to select any gift that she desired. I wasn't worried: she taught kindergarten. She then called out "Okay! Who's got the gift card with the largest monetary value?" I still wasn't worried because I knew that there were gift cards out there that had more money on theirs than mine. Someone then directed her to the $10 Sonic gift card possessed by another teacher, to which she replied: "oh that'll be a great stocking stuffer!"Less than a second before taking the Sonic card, the would-be victim and another teacher cried out: "HE'S GOT $15 TO BARNES AND NOBLE!" I froze. I cried out! I stammered and sputtered. What did she want this gift card for? She clearly didn't care about it except that it had 5 more dollars on it! This is criminal! But it was too late. I tried threats. She must not have believed them. It was gone.
And did I get to choose something else at that point? No. Every other victim in the game gets an opportunity to choose a gift from among all of the options. Not so with the last one. I got whatever the thief formerly had. And what was that? A small bucket-thing of Vanilla Spice bathing products.
My consolation is two-fold: I had initially expected no better than something the wife would like and she does like vanilla scented products, and it could have been much worse . . . two words: aqua globe.
At the same time, this simply goes to reinforce and prove my thesis: faculty Christmas parties are designed with women in mind, even women that are not employed by the school.