It’s nice to be liked, but it’s better by far to get paid.
— Liz Phair, “Shitloads of Money”
‘Tis better to give than to receive, goes the bromide. But gift-giving occasions are often stressful for me because I really, really want to pick something good; something that shows the recipient of the gift how much I understand them and respect their taste (secondary objective) and also, if I’m being honest, that they will forevermore remember came from me (PRIMARY objective).
I never give someone a book to keep without inscribing it, for example. I take something the author of the book spent months or years on, then spend maybe 10 minutes thinking of something to write in the flyleaf and sign my name to it. Admittedly, this sounds kind of obnoxious. I used to find the notion of wedding registries and requested gifts kind of gross, but maybe they take that narcissistic element out of gift-giving. Then again, if I really want to to give someone a present, as opposed to feeling obligated to, is it really so terrible if I want that gift to serve as a symbol for our relationship?
Anyway. I had a birthday earlier this month. While I’m way past the point of feeling delighted about packing on another treetrunk-ring, I was moved by the gifts I received, particularly from people I’ve only met in the last few years. They seem to understand me! And respect my taste!
These presents shall forevermore remind me of them.