Well, of course I'm no good at that part. Half the time I'm not even sure other people exist on Planet Jenster. I've been known to run right into solid walls that don't happen to be there in whatever reality I currently inhabit. So you see the problem. To be good at getting people presents, you have to be good at people. I sometimes have to call my sister, the anthropologist, to explain some situation that just happened at work. I am not good at people. I'm nice to people, most of the time, but I just don't get them on some fundamental level. Sooner or later, they always need explaining.
Joan, on the other hand, is an unacknowledged master of the art. I can't tell you how often I've opened a package and found not only something that's exactly what I wanted, but something I've completely forgotten is exactly what I wanted, until the moment I opened the package, and then I remember and am thrilled to bits. She does this with other people, too. She not only knows that my dad would love a pound of pistachios for Christmas, but exactly what flavor he'd like best and what grower in Arizona has the freshest this time of year. I would be in deep trouble on many levels if not for Joan. Oh, heck, I'd probably be dead by now. I hate grocery shopping, you see, and our stash of canned goods can't last forever.
But, there comes that time in life when one has to get a gift for someone without the luxury of consulting one's sweetie first. What's worse, one sometimes has to get a gift for one's sweetie. In such dire circumstances, I fall back onto the only refuge that seems to have something for everyone: My two best friends, Harry and David.
Okay, yes, they are a little pricey, and yes, paying three dollars apiece for apples that one can't really tell from any other apple is slightly insane. That aside, it's really hard to screw up an H&D gift. Need to go as healthy as possible? No problem; just send fruit. Need to comfort a chocoholic? Not an issue; they have chocolate-dipped practically everything. Got somebody on the list that goes for the savory over the sweet? Throw in nuts, crackers, cheese, sausage, and something called Milk Chocolate Moose Munch (how can you possibly go wrong?). And not only do they have all these nifty products, they've already arranged them into lofty gift packages called Towers of Treats, so you don't even need to think about it. Just point, click and send. Gotta love that. Last time I was on there they even had wine. If I ever find out they have My Sweet Nancy I might seriously reconsider swearing off alcohol. Maybe. Possibly.
Okay, this is as far as I can take this particular Talk Thursday topic without starting to sound like an advertisement (H&D aren't paying me for this, which is good, because if they were I'd insist they double my salary). Bear this firmly in mind, though: I don't send Harry & David because I'm a generous person. I send Harry & David because I'm a coward who lacks imagination. And that's about enough of that for now.
Agent alert! I've had another nibble from another agent. Sent the package last week. Maybe we'll get past second base this time. Typing with crossed fingers. We'll see what happens...