Presents of Mine

I’m relatively new to the idea of regifting, so I don’t know exactly who came up with it. But I don’t think it was a Mormon—like my mother—because one would be unlikely to regift with no trace of alcohol or caffeine in her system. (That the Mormons did not come up with regifting shall forever be one of their most endearing qualities in my eyes. And...their only endearing quality.)

Then I realized it’s also a practical way of giving a gift to someone you hardly know, especially if a person you have only met twice is insisting you come to her birthday party because you’re one of her closest friends. This is how I fell upon the process of regifting. It was an emergency, and if I do say so myself, I handled it with exceptional aplomb.

I needed a gift. I went into my closet and looked for something I hadn’t worn yet or maybe something I hadn’t worn in a while that looked new. I inspected an old pair of boots and wondered if I could pass them off as vintage. Since I had never regifted before and really didn’t know what the guidelines were, I decided to call my friend Ivory, who was also going to the party.

“I’ll probably give her something someone gave me. I barely know the girl,” she told me.

“That’s what I was thinking. I have a first-aid kit I’ve never used.”

I was torn between a picture frame—which held a photo of me and my sisters—and a candle that had only been lit once. My head bobbed back and forth between them as if I were watching a tennis match. I finally decided I really loved the picture frame, so I would just cut off the top part of the candle’s wick. My roommate, Lydia, walked in the door as I was looking for my pocketknife.

“I’m giving Aubrey that,” I said, pointing at the candle, sitting right next to the old newspaper I was planning on wrapping it in.She walked over to take a closer look. “It’s already been used.”

“I’m going to cut the wick off,” I told her.

“Then how is she going to light it?”

“Not my problem.”

“Chelsea,” Lydia said, in the same tone my gynecologist used when I told her I would need a month’s supply of morning-after pills. “I’m sure you can find something else. You can’t give her that.”

When I looked through the closet again, I found the present Ivory had bought me for my 26th birthday. She had gone on and on about this present. With all the hype she had given it, you would have thought she had bought me a vibrator that could also make tacos. But no, she had given me a board game called Rehab.

Now, I make it a personal rule to never play organized games, especially one with different rehabilitation facilities spread over it, much in the same vein as Monopoly. Rehab came with some wooden pieces I actually burned one night when we ran out of firewood.

“I’ve got it!” I yelled to Lydia as I pulled it out. Next, I opened the Yahtzee box that was on top of the closet, stole three of the dice and put them in the little plastic Rehab bags, along with a couple of the wooden pieces that were partially scorched. Luckily, the box the game came in looked like it could have been new. I wrapped it up in the newspaper, then I took a black Sharpie and wrote, “To: Aubrey, From: Chelsea” directly on top.

“Wait, Chelsea,” Lydia laughed. “Ivory is coming tonight! She’ll see the game and realize what you did.”


We went. We sat. We ate. We drank. And then…

“Let’s open presents!” Ivory exclaimed.

“Okay, okay, okay,” Aubrey responded grudgingly, as if we had been begging her to open presents for the past three hours.

The last present was mine. She was unwrapping it with her head cocked, when Ivory’s head also cocked. It brought back memories of the synchronized swimming team I had never been part of.

Aubrey pulled out the Rehab game and held it up. Ivory was still unsure of what was taking place and looked at the game with the same expression Sarah Palin would have looking at a map.

“Wait a second! That looks like the same game I bought you for your birthday,” she said, perfectly oblivious to the fact it was the same game.

“Yes,” I said, teeth clenched and eyes wide. “The exact same.”

“But where did you get it?” she asked, perplexed. “I found it at some store in the Valley.”

My expression remained unchanged as I stated, “In my apartment.”

“Did somebody already play this?” asked the birthday girl, as she took out the mismatched pieces. That’s when Ivory’s mouth opened.

Pissed off, Ivory took the game back from Aubrey. She said she’d rather give it away to an orphan.“I can’t believe,” I said, “that Ivory thinks Rehab is an appropriate game to regift to an orphan.”

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