The Monday after Thanksgiving is labeled Cyber Monday since it is the biggest online shopping day of the year. In an effort to counter the rampant consumerism that surrounds the Christmas season, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving has, in recent years, been designated as Giving Tuesday to encourage people to donate to their favorite charity, ministry or non-profit organization.
By and large this Giving Tuesday concept has been well received.
With that in mind, my wife Patrice and I have been discussing what charitable donations we might consider at this time of year. For some reason, my wife used this discussion to pivot to one about giving thoughtful gifts to family and friends, including her husband.
It was a most considerate gesture, that is until……..
As we were watching a romantic comedy movie on television, my bride suddenly became inspired. The lead actress in the movie played a veterinarian. During one scene, she states that her next appointment is with a dog named “Mr. Wiggles.”
Seemingly on cue, Patrice jumped up from her seat. Acting as if the clouds had parted and a heavenly message had just been delivered, she turned to me and fervently declared, “That’s what I can get you for Christmas. I can go to a local animal shelter, find a cute little dog, and we can name him Mr. Wiggles.”
Recovering from the initial shock, I turned my head, ever so slowly towards this feminine face beaming with unbridled enthusiasm. With my eyes fixed in a determined stare, a stare I hoped conveyed a high degree of seriousness, I uttered a firm, no-nonsense, over-my-dead-body response, “Absolutely not, there is no room in our home for Mr. Wiggles!!!”
Knowing I needed to quickly dispel any notion of her heavenly vision, I reminded her that as the man of the house I only have a few rules. One rule being that we have no more than one animal as a pet, preferably a dog as we are both allergic to cats. And we already have a dachshund.
I like dogs, I really do. I just like them one at a time.
A related rule is that we shall not give or receive any living thing that has to be fed or can poop. And Mr. Wiggles, no doubt, would do plenty of both. Nada! No way! Ain’t gonna happen. Seeing how my proclamation had only slightly dampened her enthusiasm, I sensed the need for further explanations.
Such rules, I asserted in a most respectful but emphatic tone, are borne out of experience.
Flashback to Christmas 1986. My mother-in-law gave my wife and I a surprise gift – a poodle named Fluffy. Fluffy, we soon discovered, suffered with what can only charitably be described as “brain-damage.” Either that or my mother-in-law deliberately gave us a demon-possessed poodle intent on making our lives miserable. My mother-in-law passed away in 2012, and I have yet to forgive her gift of a “hyperactive, yapping, pooping, crazy, curly-haired” dog. Hence my personal ordinance against giving or receiving living, breathing gifts.
In no uncertain terms, I advised my wife that unless she wants to be in the same category as my late mother-in-law, there is no room for Mr. Wiggles!
Still laughing, she proceeded to vainly suggest that our dachshund with such an innocent name (quite deceptive in my opinion) as “Emma,” and her diminutive size was actually only half-a-dog. Au contraire, mon cheri. That sharp-tongued, long-bodied, short-legged, stubborn canine sausage has a big-dog bark that can cut a tough steak. Nicknamed by me as Madame Defiance, she has a jealous streak that is on display whenever our grandchildren receive too much attention. Said streak is most often rendered as puddles in conspicuous spots on the kitchen floor. Emma, while usually lovable and adorable, is far more than half-a-dog, she is a footlong frankfurter with all the condiments.
Hearing our discussion, Madame Defiance, aka Emma, alertly lifted her head, and began staring at us. Patrice thought she was being cute and wanted a treat. I thought she heard the half-a-dog comment and was already contemplating the location of her next “puddle.” No, a second pet is out of the question. No telling how Emma would react to sharing her home with another canine. Besides, how can there be room for Mr. Wiggles when this bantam beast of a dog has already marked all corners of the house. Queen “Emma” has enough subjects to rule.
Yes, any gifts given on Giving Tuesday (or Christmas for that matter) shall be gifts that do not poop or pee.
There is no room for Mr. Wiggles here!
And that’s final!
Or so I pray, as my wife is still laughing.
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