The Way Things Are






I am the lucky recipient of a gift
2005-04-27, 10:40 a.m.

I am the lucky recipient of a gift subscription to ďAffordable Housing Finance.Ē My first instinct was to just toss it, but something in my gut Ė MY GUT, MAN Ė made me open this magazine, and oh my. It is SEX-AY.

Something I learned in my classes in the Great North (are you tired of me saying that yet? OK, Iíll quit), I mean Minneapolis, was that the new name for what we do is ďworkforce housingĒ. Definitely not low-income housing Ė yikes! Who wants that? And now itís no longer affordable housing, because how fucking boring is that? Itís workforce housing. Doesnít that sound kind of Communist to you? Itís just a short step from workforce housing to celebrating May Day. And what do you know? Thereís an article in my new magazine about workforce housing. This virtually crackles with socialist intentions. I have to put it down because the socialist intentions are crackling uncomfortably against my skin.

I am particularly smitten by an article about creative ways of restructuring a HUD 202 loan. Donít you wish you were me? Can you stand how exciting it all is? Honestly.

Last night, DW and I were at the kitchen cabinet place, trying to figure out how hideous our new kitchen is going to be considering the budgetary constraints under which we operate, and DW got a call from his friend, who will call Steve for our purposes here. Do I have any other fake Steves in here? If so, this is a completely different person.

Steve was driving through our town on his way from one big city to another, and being one of DWís very best friends from high school, asked if he could stop by and see us on his way through. But of course. And weíll do you one better Ė weíll walk to the burger place up the street and get something to eat, since looking at kitchen cabinets is not only sucking our souls and our money away from us, but also our time and inclination to go home and cook. Right. Onward.

Well, thatís all well and good, and kind of boring. We ate dinner, DW and Steve reminisced about all the trouble they got into in school, Steve left to hit the road, and we settled into our evening routine.

After I got into bed, it hit me. I remembered why Iím not so inclined to accept Steve and his wifeís invitation to come visit them this summer, and itís a story of wedding gift gone horribly wrong.

Steve and his lovely family were invited to, and attended, DWís and my wedding. They are lovely, elegant people with impeccable taste, long slender limbs on their bodies, 4.0 GPAs, big-ass salaries, important jobs, and overachieving beautiful children. Perfect people with an ugly secret.

Now, you know when you get married, you donít care about gifts, you donít really want any, or maybe YOU do (yeah, you), but people (your mother, or your co-workers) make you register for gifts, and you receive lots of stuff. I didnít have any preconceived notions of what kind of wedding present we would get from Steve, if any. But as DW and I opened gifts after the honeymoon, there was a big olí box from the Steves. How nice. What could this be?

It was a meat grinder.


Perhaps the Steves know something about the culinary arts that I donít. I have never really needed a meat grinder, but hey. Maybe Iíll finally bag a deer this season, and what do you do with all that venison? You make sausage.

Lo and behold, around Thanksgiving time, I decided to make dirty rice for the Thanksgiving table. The recipe I have calls for ground pork. One would think that ground pork would be pretty easy to come by, but nay. So my dim little bulbs flashes over my head, and I tell DW that we may finally have a use for the meat grinder. I purchase boneless pork chops and we begin the process of unloading the meat grinder from the box.

Somethingís amiss. As we unpack the various components (because meat grinders, doing a very important job, consist of many, many part and plugs and cords and things), I have a feeling that these components have been unpacked before, and perhaps repackaged. Nothing was sealed. It wasnít packaged with that tightness you get from the factory. We concluded that we have been regifted. Oh well, it happens, right. We giggled a bit, and tried to figure out which of them had decided to regift the meat grinder, and whether the other was aware of it.

Did Steve do it, without consulting his wife? Did they conspire? Did she do it, while assuring Steve that she had purchased a perfectly love gift for us? It makes for a good giggle.

We forged on, because by now, we were going to grind up those freaking pork chops even if it killed us.

Whatís this? A bit of funk caught in one of the holes of this grater/grinder thing? AUUUUGGGHHHH! Itís a USED regifted meat grinder!!! And itís dirty! Itís unholy! Unclean! Unclean!

We were regifted a used, dirty meat grinder. No part of that sentence is good, and it seems to tumble forward until it lands face first in the mucky puddle of ďmeat grinderĒ. A used, regifted, dirty meat grinder with somebody elseís meat still stuck in one of the components. That's right, I said it, and I'll say it again. Somebody else's meat.

No, we didnít tell them! How do you tell somebody that? What we have done is tell everyone else, though. Sorry, but thatís life in a small town, folks. You screw up, and everyoneís going to know about it, except possibly you.

Needless to say, the dirty rice that year had ground beef in it, not pork. And DWís grandma is now the proud owner of the meat grinder, which to her was the niftiest gadget ever. The regift taint doesnít bother her.

Note: I just received a piece of spam with this subject line:

ďLike an afterburner for your penis. Like an afterburner for your schlong.Ē

I can hardly tell you how happy spam subject lines make me.

Donít you think that would make a lovely, haunting refrain for a tender love song?

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