My white trash mommie could not bring herself to prepare me for the wild world by teaching me to cook, balance a checkbook or even run a washing machine, but she did manage to instill one housekeeping virtue in me that I have never shaken: One must not waste wrapping paper. When I was growing up, Christmas morning was a tense exercise in a sort of reverse origami; paper was meticulously removed from packages, folded neatly and then put aside for next year, then you could look at your present. If it wasn’t for the various hurricanes that swept through our home, I’m sure there would still be the crumbling remains of paper from before I was born.
As it is, R Man and I have a vast collection of wrapping material going back to when we first got together in New Orleans, and we’ve lived here in San Francisco for 21 years. Pictures of our Christmas mornings show us growing grayer, but the pile of gifts looks like it never changes. Only our jammies evolve.
This year, though, I was just a wild man and actually went out and bought new paper. You can do that, you know. I was standing in Walgreens looking at their pitiful selection (and why in one of the few times in two decades that I’ve bought paper I wound up there is just one of those Christmas mysteries) when I was struck by a particularly gay roll. I couldn’t decide if the decorations were martini olives or billiard balls, but amidst all the insipid Santas and holly, its cheeky humor appealed to me mightily.
And then, like one of those trick pictures with blurs that resolve into dolphins or cats or lesbians when you look at it the right way, I suddenly realized it was just tree ornaments. How disappointing, but I got it anyway. I plan on sticking with my claim that it’s olives. As you can see: