Dear Millie


My girlfriend says she wants jewelry for Christmas.
What do you think she means?

Thanks for your help,

Dear Hank,
It sounds to me like your girlfriend means that she wants jewelry for Christmas.
But let me tell you a little story.
Years ago, my Sweet Sven went on a trip to Dallas to partake in a builder's convention, leaving me at home with three kids and a dog and a cat or maybe there were two.
I pictured him partying it up and having a crazy good time.
It turns out that he and the gang he went with got real wild one night. They ate hot wings at Hooters as they admired the scenery and then they stopped for some ice cream before going back to the hotel.
I could tell by the three large canvas bags of shit, with things like Barbie Doll tape measures, hammer-shaped-pencils, yo-yos, hats and one thousand pamphlets about solar panels, shingles, windows, doors, nails, nail guns, skill saws, table saws, wood flooring and cabinets, that he'd visited each and every booth at the convention.
Who does that?
I could also tell by the three rolls of film that he had developed, that in his spare time down there he was out snapping pictures of grassy knolls and suppository windows, gathering evidence to solve that lingering question that drives him nuts, "Who really killed J.F.K.?"

I mean come on, it was a conspiracy, right?
On his return he gave me a big kiss and then he placed a box in the palm of my hand.
I know!
This was not typical of my Sweet Sven.
He was more of a Norwegian bowling ball kind of a gift giver than resorting to things in a small packages that are expensive and senseless, like jewelry.
I was speechless as I tore off the lid.
There lying on top of white cotton stuffing were two sterling silver rats.
"What the hell?" I said.
"That's a nickel, Mom."
"Damn," I said to my eight year old.
"That's another one, Mom."
It happened to be the year of the swear jar.
"Aren't they cool?" Sven says picking one up. "Look, they hang from your ears by their tails, like this."
"Sven, that is a rat. Get that thing away from my ear."
"No," he says, "It's not a rat. It's a mouse."
"What's the God Damn difference?" I screamed.
"Ten more cents."
"Rats are a lot bigger than mice and they live in sewers, Millie," he explained while my youngest held out his hand for the change I was digging out of my pocket.
Rene was really into filling that jar up.
"You don't like them?" Sven says with surprised disappointment.
It is always very important to be grateful for all gifts.
"Of course I do," I said and I stuck one of those tails into my pierced earlobe and then Sven handed me the other one.
"I knew you would," he said.
But you know what Hank?
A few days later they simply vanished.
What I am trying to say is, do not mistake your girlfriend's desire for jewelry with her wanting sterling silver rats.


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