Unsplash/Towfiqu Barbhuiya

Gift me

Gifting you my gift list

Jeffrey Denny

Please, please, please/Let me, let me, let me/Let me get what I want/This time — Morrissey

Struggling to find the perfect holiday gift for me?

I understand, and as an amazing empath, I empathize.

What possibly could you get for a guy who has Amazon Prime and hence — like King Louis XIV or Donald Trump I — has everything he could ever want or can get it almost instantly? (Other than reelection in the latter’s case.)

It’s even harder to gift a guy like me who’s really really picky, calls my snootiness “discerning,” and will archly say, “Oh, thanks for trying, you did your best” if you gift me an $8,900 Brunello Cucinelli Paisley Opera-Knit Cashmere Cardigan from Bergdorf Goodman.

I also believe the best things in life aren’t things. To avoid clutter and fight my apparent genetic propensity to hoard, I have a strict policy that nothing comes into my house unless something goes out. Starting with the unintentionally ironic coffee mug I was gifted that says, “the best things in life aren’t things.”

With my helpful guidance, here are some gift ideas guaranteed to please me:

Six hours with an iPhone expert.

I need someone who, after each “update packed with new features” will make my phone stop doing things it “thinks” I want, like a classic irritating pleaser, giving me what I didn’t ask for, can’t comprehend, and don’t want.

Like deciding I want to wake at 6:30 a.m. every work day because some days I do. I’m now doing what my phone dictates and get sleepy around 3 p.m.

And no, please don’t tell me it’s easy to fix on my own. Just to go to Settings …

On a similar note, weekly anger management sessions to deal with IT “solutions” that aren’t.

Especially impossible is the wholly unintuitive bordering on insulting HR software built by brilliant people who don’t understand normal smart people who are forced to use it.

While the software platforms consume employee time, stress balls and souls, the employer bought them to make HR’s life easier, not for the employees they serve.

This is true. An HR software company explains, “HR software is a digital solution for managing and optimizing the daily HR tasks and overall HR goals of an organization. [It] makes it possible for HR staff and managers to better allocate their time and resources to more productive, profitable efforts.”

In other words, it’s about HR, not people that are now dehumanized as “human capital.” Yet even HR people are also in anger management classes from trying to learn, use and impose HR software. Help me meet them there where we can commiserate.

By the way: Why do all these digital work platforms all sound alike and branded by robots?!?!

TalentWave, Workday, DayForce, PeopleSoft, Fieldglass, Workfront, Paycor, Kronos Workforce, Ariba, ad nauseam: Why not merge them all into the cloud — a term normals say but have no idea what it means — and brand it Hal 2030? “I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t let you hire that guy and pay him.”

Gift certificates for home maintenance companies.

This would help clean my gutters, fix my roof, and keep my furnace, hot water, a/c, and indoor plumbing operating at peak capacity as needed.

Also, trap and release back to Australia that rabid wombat that’s terrorizing my cat.

There’s always something around here that needs to be done that I can’t do. Primarily because I can’t do much of anything around here.

Your gift certificate will be a win-win: Appreciated both by me and the costly repairman with the PhD in Plumbing Science who won’t show up for six months, and then only briefly to say the parts he needs are held up because of Biden’s supply chain failures and inflation.

Just please let it not be a repairman who, after three hours of banging around downstairs, asks me for the repair manual and then spends three hours on the phone with the manufacturer, all for naught.

Copays, deductibles, coinsurance and other out-of-pocket medical costs.

For instance, I don’t have dental insurance like many Republicans do while hating socialized medicine while not realizing they have socialized medicine; e.g., taxpayer-funded gold-plated employer health plans or Medicare.

In any case, my dentist says I need a $4,000 tooth intervention, including, and I quote, porcelain/ceramic crown and core buildup, and any pins when required.

I don’t know exactly what all that means. I’m not a dentist, although I could go to dentalsurgery.com, see a few YouTubes, and go the DIY route.

And if I share the diagnosis on Nextdoor, someone who also doesn’t know anything about dentistry will helpfully speculate or share personal experiences they heard from someone who knows someone who knows someone.

From what little I can glean and understand, I have a bad tooth. Well, not “bad.” That’s tooth-blaming. No teeth are bad; they’re just differently good.

In any case, feel free to gift me the $4,000. I take Venmo, PayPal, Zelle and bitcoin. Cash too if you bring it in a briefcase, like in a crime movie.

Peace, love and understanding.

Elvis Costello said it’s not so funny.

He’s right, and it’s all I really want for me and especially thee.

I’ll let Costello, aka, Declan Patrick Aloysius Macmanus, explain:

As I walk through, this wicked world
Searching for light in the darkness of insanity
I ask myself, is all hope lost?
Is there only pain and hatred and misery?

And each time I feel like this inside
There’s one thing I wanna know: What’s so funny ‘bout peace, love and understanding?

Oh, what’s so funny ‘bout peace love and understanding?

Here’s hoping your holidays and the New Year are filled with peace, love and understanding.

Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.




A Pullet Surprise-winning writer who always appreciates free chicken.

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Jeffrey Denny

Jeffrey Denny

A Pullet Surprise-winning writer who always appreciates free chicken.

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