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Laois Nationalist – Head on the chopping block

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BUYING A WEDDING GIFT IS LIKE PUTTING MY HEAD ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK
Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I’m in a tizz, a terrible tizz.

Such a dilemma I’ve never faced before.

I’m being haunted, haunted by the unanswerable.

“If I ever get married and you buy me a present, I’ll kill you,” retorted one friend when I asked for her advice. “I want the cash.”

“But wouldn’t a present be more thoughtful?”

“Cash, I want cash,” she insisted.

For weeks now, I’ve been pondering what to get my good friend for her wedding – a present, or stone cold cash?

A present, I reasoned, would show some thought and consideration but would potentially be absolutely useless and could sit gathering dust in her attic for the next 50 years. Cash, on the other hand, is eternally useful but totally thoughtless.

“Will I get her a present or will I give cash?” I asked boyfriend. “Mairead, you’ve asked me this every night for about two weeks,” he responded.

“Have I? Well, I supposed I am tormented by it,” I said, reclining dramatically on the chaise longue which, now that I think of it, is questionably positioned in our kitchen.

“I’ll get her a present, that’s what I am definitely going to do. A present. I’ll begin my search tomorrow.” “Fine, whatever.”

I had, at this stage, actually already decided what I wanted to get her, and I was virtually minutes away from making my purchase when mother put a kibosh on things.

“You want to pay how much? How much for a chopping board?!”

“It’s not a chopping board, mother, it’s a Bunbury Board.”

“It’s a chopping board!” “It’s a Bunbury Board! They’re amazing. If I ever got married, I would want one. It’s the story behind them, you see. Each tree is…”

She rudely interrupted me with: “A fecking chopping board.”

“But you can get it engraved and the wood is so spectacular, and they’ll last a lifetime and they are really fantastic.”

“You are not buying a present for yourself, Mairead.” “I know but…” “It’s a chopping board.”

Clearly, my mother wields terrible power over me, because once the seed of doubt had been sown, I was forced to abandon my once-brilliant wedding gift idea.

I vowed then and there never to tell her anything ever again, although I’m quite sure I’ve made that vow before.

“It’s a poisoned chalice,” a work colleague said. “The money or present thing… now could you stop talking about it.”

I enjoyed the dramatic connotations, so I agreed to some aspects of her statement.

“It is a poisoned chalice,” I nodded. “But I can’t promise to stop talking about it.”

After the terrible disappointment of the chopping board debacle, I then decided I wanted to give them a coffee table – but not just any coffee table. I wanted to give a stunning reclaimed wood coffee table.

This idea probably stemmed from the fact that I, in fact, want a reclaimed wood coffee table.

Having embarked on an investigation, however, I decided I did not want to buy said item because no matter how much my friend means to me, she doesn’t mean that much.

Still intent on purchasing a gift, I decided to wander down town, armed with nothing more than a purse full of pennies and a want for inspiration.

I decided that no, I did not want to buy them Waterford Crystal.

What would they do with it?

Put it in a press?

I did not want to buy them a lamp – they have lights.

I did not want to buy them a dressing table – although I agreed I would like to buy one for myself.

I did not want to buy them cups – they have plenty of cups. I stalked their house the last time I visited.

I did not want to buy them cutlery, they’ve plenty of forks, I checked that, too.

And because this is not 1957, I have no desire to buy my friends a china figurine for over 200 quid.

I found myself quickly becoming enraged and nearing despair. I considered kicking something but felt the nearest item, a glass case full of crystal, was not a suitable target.

“Did you get them anything?” boyfriend asked.

“Money, they are getting money.”