The greatest gift of all

In an effort to get out of work sometimes I’ll rent out this space to a beloved, hated or befuddling figure with whom we are familiar. In this case, our guest columnist is someone we’ve all heard about but never thought truly existed.

Well here I am. You always wondered when seeing those luxury car Christmas commercials, “Who in their right mind would make a huge purchase like that for someone for Christmas?” Well, that person happens to be me – Doug Rodgers: Holiday Freaking Hero.

First off, no, we didn’t, technically, NEED a new car but presumably neither did those women in the car commercials and look at how excited they were. Plus, the way I figure it, my mother-in-law gave me a third pair of slippers this year and I STILL HAVE two pairs from the last two Christmases so this is basically the same thing. And I think you’ll agree a Lexus RXL is several degrees better than wool slippers. I mean, I can’t imagine wool slippers going 0-60 in 7.7 seconds.

Now, before I tell you how she reacted, let’s clear up one thing: I should have probably done some homework on her preferred “type” of vehicle, color, transmission type, accessories and if she wanted a car in the first place. That’s on me. But who doesn’t WANT A CAR FOR CHRISTMAS? The TV Commercial Ladies are always SO HAPPY. I thought to myself, “Doug, you can DO this.” I figured this would more than make up for the vacuum I got her for her “big gift” last year. I couldn’t go wrong.

I made sure everything was the SAME AS THE ADS, right down to the ridiculously large red bow which – fun fact – costs a lot more than you’d think and the dealership doesn’t provide (apparently they’re specially-made for the ads). Finding one was something of a chore and the shipping was absurd. Did you know that the giant thing is extremely light and constantly blows off? Haha, that was a fun thing to discover. Apparently the TV people live in space. Nothing a little duct tape won’t fix!

While we have a garage, I had to put the new car in the driveway – you know, for effect. Of course it snowed during the night and I had to get up extra early to scrape the windows and re-position the bow, which blew off into the neighbor’s bushes and was now was soaked through. It ended up looking kind of like melted cheese, but it’s the thought that counts.

Her reaction made it all worthwhile. JUST LIKE THE COMMERCIALS. I suppose she could’ve been a little warmer. It was sub-zero outside but the commercials always show people running outside so I made her go out in just her robe. This was not a good idea. But the Commercial Ladies ALWAYS do, so I insisted. This one’s on the ‘ol Dougster. Live and learn I guess. And I did my fair share of learning on this one.

OK, so point of clarity: her reaction was super excited AT FIRST. But then came a new phase you don’t see from Happy Commercial Ladies: confusion. You specifically don’t see what happens AFTER the initial surprise wears off. Let me tell you, it is NOT magical. So many questions.

“Where did we get the money for this?”

“Is my old car GONE? It’s only five years old!”

“We can’t afford a new car, can we?”

“What about my student loans?”

“You didn’t even CONSULT me?”

“What do you MEAN you took out a second mortgage?! WHO DOES THAT?”

FYI the answer to the last question is apparently NOT “A gosh darn ROMANTIC, Carol, that’s who!”

I’m not going to lie; I really expected there to be a LOT of sex after this. Possibly in the car. So far, there has been no sex. If I’m being honest, I’m really starting to re-think this “Hey, give your wife a car” idea. I called the dealership to see if I could bring the car back and get a refund, using some of it on that bracelet she’s been talking about but apparently once you drive it off the lot your car decreases in value to the tune of $7,500. Even if it’s only been less than 24 hours. At this rate the car will be worthless by Valentine’s Day.

A note to all those considering following in my awesome footprints…have your spouse open her other presents and stocking-stuffers FIRST. That wasn’t something they showed you in commercials and let me tell you her enthusiasm for opening gifts waned considerably after already being more-than-a-little irritated about the car and then unwrapping fuzzy dice and floor mats. And she hadn’t even gotten to the overhead shade organizer and “I love my Lexus” bumper sticker.

To be honest, the wife and I really haven’t been talking much since Christmas but I’m chalking that up to her still being speechless after I blew her away with such an amazing present. I mean, it’s probably a lot like a woman meeting an astronaut back in the early 1980s – you just don’t know HOW to react.

One thing is certain: this will always be a “December to Remember.” Out of curiosity, does anyone reading this want to buy a Lexus?

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Kelly Van De Walle can be reached at vandkel@hotmail.com