“Shay,” he said, poking at my shoulder to make sure he had my full attention. “I’ve figured out what I’m making for the company gift exchange.”
I recoiled. “Making?” I asked. “Daniel, nobody wants some shit that you make for Christmas. You’re not a preschooler, and you’re not my damn kid, and those are the only two cases in which handmade gifts are acceptable.”
Daniel grimaced. “Jeez, Shay, you’re such a bitch.”
“I’m just honest.” I shrugged apologetically as I turned back to what I’d been working on. “And I can be honest in a respectful way, but you never are with me, so it’s just the type of relationship that you and I have established…”
But Daniel wasn’t listening to my half-assed apology. “Okay, Shay, I get it,” he said, getting into his Christmas idea all over again. “But when I tell you about this present, you’ll change your mind about handmade gifts.”
I turned back to him, my eyes narrowed skeptically. “I really don’t think I will, Daniel.”
“Just give it a chance!” he said, practically jumping up and down.
I sighed. “Alright. What is it?”
Daniel opened both arms wide in a triumphant stance. “A tube sock snowman.”
I’m not making this up, you guys. I’m not. That was really his answer.
I was speechless. I blinked at Daniel, who mistook my silence as an invitation to go on. “They’re so cute! I make them out of tube socks and—“
“What the hell does a person do with a tube sock snowman?” I interrupted.
Daniel was undeterred. “It’s filled with cat litter—"
“You want to give someone a goddamned tube sock filled with cat litter?”
Finally, Daniel looked a little bit unsure. “You set it up, like on your desk…it’s a decoration…”
“Daniel, honestly, if you gave me that, I would either throw it right back at you—hard—or I’d just cut the motherfcker open and use the cat litter in my actual cat’s litterbox. It’d be easier than changing his shit…”
Daniel cracked a smile, suddenly getting into it. “Or if you were a janitor at a school, you could use it to throw down when some kid pukes—" He stopped. “Hey, you’re mean!” he shouted, pointing at me.
“I didn’t say that last part about the kid puking! You did!”
“Whatever,” Daniel said, waving a dismissive hand at me. “I gave them a couple of years ago as presents and everyone loved them.”
“Everyone said they loved them,” I corrected.
At this point, another co-worker, hearing all the ruckus, sauntered into my doorway. “What’s up?” she asked.
Daniel looked to her for reinforcement. “Angie, YOU worked here a few years ago when I made the tube sock snowmen as Christmas gifts for everyone. Did you love yours?”
Angie furrowed her brow, trying to remember. “I didn’t get one…”
“Yes, you did,” Daniel insisted.
“See?” I said. “See?! She threw it out. That bastard tube sock made it from here to her car, and then on the way home from the party, she threw it into one of those Goodwill mailbox donation centers. She had it for so little time that she doesn’t even remember owning it.”
“You’re mean,” Daniel repeated at me.
Angie glared at him. “You’d better not draw my name out of the hat for the gift exchange. I don’t want some damned handmade gift.”
“See?” I said again, raising my eyebrows in a triumphant smirk at Daniel.
I might have felt badly for Daniel, I really might have, but at this point, he, Angie, and I were laughing so hard that we had tears rolling down our cheeks.
And as Daniel turned and shuffled out of my office and walked away, muttering about “insensitive co-workers who don’t understand the spirit of Christmas,” sounds of his laughter echoed all the way back down the hallway to where I was sitting.
I think he likes the abuse.
And he’ll get a hell of a lot more of it if either Angie or I end up with a stupid tube sock snowman, trust.
Image from mamaslikeme.com, where things like tube sock snowmen are totally acceptable because they are made BY KIDS