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Looking a gift horse in the mouth

I had to face a hard truth this Christmas.

My father has no idea who his son is.

Sure, Pete raised me and has been there for 30 years of my life (and is responsible for my grey hair -- both genetically and emotionally).

But he has no idea who I am, what I am all about.

Need proof?

Misunderstood Son's Exhibit A: The Christmas present.

This year, there was this big box under the Christmas tree for me. An Xbox, for sure, I thought. Or maybe a couple of dozen golf balls. Or a book or two.

Nope.

I tore the paper off and found a single envelope among the tissue paper inside. Hey, an envelope, I thought. Envelopes can hold green presents that are always just the right size and style.

Nope again.

The Christmas envelope held a gift certificate. In most cases, a gift certificate is just as good as cash.

This was not one of those cases.

It was a gift certificate for one month of services at HealthLink.

I'll pause and let you read that last line again.

Now, you can quit laughing. It ain't funny.

What in the Hammerin' Hank am I going to do with a gift certificate to HealthLink? Work out? You must be kidding. Yoga? Only if I can get into the bean bag with a sack of potato chips position. Nutritional guidance? I don't think cheese dip and chili dogs are part of their menu.

Here's the best part. Pete says he's going to go with me. If it does actually happen, I'll let you know. Tickets to our first workout will be $10 each and the minimum bet on the timeline for the first request for "liquid fuel" is $20. Expensive, sure. But, hey, it'll be worth it. Trust me.

I'm sure this is supposed to be some kind of New Year's resolution hint, his subtle-as-a-brick-to-the-face reminder that I probably need to lose a little weight. (And, yes, I know saying I need to lose a "little" weight is like saying Saddam Hussein was a "little" bit of a dictator.)

The only thing I can take comfort in is that this gift will probably never see the light of day. The Smiths -- at least Pete and I -- are famous for putting things off that need to be done today in favor of things we'd like to do tomorrow. (And, in my case, neither usually gets done, but that's a different story for another time.)

In fact, the delay has already begun: the start date has changed from January to early February to March in the days since Christmas. We're both busy, you know. Not to mention deathly allergic to exercise.

I know what you are saying to yourself right now. It's the thought that counts.

Well, I have no idea what Pete was thinking.

And knowing him as only a son can, it would probably scare me to death if I did.



Web posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2003











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