A Lesson in Futility (One-Act Dramatization)

November 10 2014

According to Handbags, the legendary (depending on who you ask) pub-quiz team, if you’re not sure what to write, just jot down ‘Frank Lampard’. I was tempted to go with that, and only that, but for a joke that six people would get, none of whom subscribe to this list, it seemed a waste. Instead, a pointless story!

Once upon a time (roughly five weeks ago), there was a little boy (34-year-old man) whose birthday was fast approaching. His mother, off in distant lands (like…40 minutes away), sent by post (texted) an inquiry regarding his wishes for celebrating the occasion.

“I will not have you sully the day with crass commercialism,” the boy insisted.

“Fine. You’re getting a gift card,” came the reply. He thought to protest, but after conferring with numerous moms, he learned the futility of asking for nothing.

“Look…maybe knit me a sweater? A tacky one, with red and white stripes? Maybe a Southampton (SECOND PLACE OMIGOSH) crest on the chest?”Silence followed.

When the day arrived, the boy met his family for a birthday meal (it was one heck of a brunch, with crepes and everything). Pleasantries were bandied about, birthday cards distributed, dessert munched (and immediately regretted (thighs, butts, the usual complaints)). Though the anticipation was great, the boy saved the card from his mother for last. The others were read quickly, and he was pleased to note that all had respected his wishes to make the day about quality time, not cheapened by thoughtless plastic ‘gifts’. Then, one card remained.

The boy looked to his mother, the sealed card in his trembling hands. She grinned. Not the sort of grin that says, “Today, we celebrate the anniversary of my son’s birth.” A grin that said, “Hey, remember that time you jokingly asked for a 32,256-piece jigsaw puzzle for Christmas, a puzzle so large that it comes with a handcart so you can transport it, a monstrosity so monstrous that you'd have to move into a larger house if you ever hope to assemble it, and then I totally bought it for you? Enjoy your card, sucker.”

Slowly, the boy slid a finger under the flap of the envelope, and gently pried the flap free of that glue strip thing, the one that tastes absolutely awful but is always there. He peered inside, not daring to actually remove the contents. A normal birthday card. But…inside the card…she wouldn’t…

The grin sharpened. “There. Go buy yourself some yarn and knit your own damn sweater”.

The boy, now in possession of a gift card good for up to $50 worth of yarn, needles and other knitting supplies from a specialty shop, fumed in his seat. He shot (figurative) daggers from his eyes into the leftover crumbs of his quiche. “She will not get the better of me…not on my birthday.”

So…uh…yeah. Now I knit. Because I can call a bluff, too. Granted, I’m starting with a scarf, because a custom sweater probably isn’t the most encouraging way to start the hobby. You know what makes watching a Cincinnati Bengals game less stressful? Dealing with the agony of finding a missed stitch from eight rows ago, that’s what. Dalton keeps passing to defenders? Whatever, I just found some twisted loops that are going to cost me 20 minutes. I spent the earlier part of this evening figuring out how to tink and frog. Decided on a full-on frog, removing an entire white stripe from a Saints (SERIOUSLY…SECOND) classic design, and almost ruined two Sundays’ work. There will be a scar on the edge.

Fact: My mom is hilarious

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Cincinnati, OH, USA

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