Approximately 25 years ago, I worked in a factory and for a while, it seemed as if my co-workers were getting married and having babies at a record pace. Besides that, they were moving into new homes and their kids were graduating. Not a week went by that someone wasn't coming around to take up a collection to buy a gift for Susie's wedding shower or Tammy's son's reception.
After a while, I started complaining because I'd never been the guest of honor at a gift-giving party, not ever. Both times I got married, I just went off and did it. I didn't expect my friends to furnish my house. No one gave a shower for me when I got pregnant. My son quit high school and graduated via a GED so there was no reception. I never settled down in one place long enough to rate a Housewarming party.
It just didn't seem fair to me that I'd given for gifts for everyone and their brother but I'd cost them absolutely nothing in return.
My whining must have hit home because all my friends got together and had a surprise All-Occasion shower for me. They all dressed in costumes that represented the various milestone events in my life. They came in a bridal gown, a nurse's uniform, a builder's overalls and tool belt, a graduate's cap and gown. There was a cake decorated with a wedding bell, a baby rattle, a door key, a diploma. I got flowers and towels and lingerie and a new toaster.
"There," they said when it was over, "you've had your shower. Now quit your bitching."
Well, it is two and a half decades later and circumstances are much the same, only now it's my younger co-workers who are getting married, having babies, buying homes. With my own friends, it is their children and grandchildren for whom I'm being invited to give gifts for one reason or another. And it is just as lopsided as before. My son went to Florida to get married. I have no grandchildren or great-grandchildren. I've never gotten married again myself and I haven't earned any late-in-life degrees.
But I was in the drug store the other day (buying diapers for a baby shower at work) when I happened to notice a gift bag featuring NASCAR drivers, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt. I bought it (for myself because there's no one to give it to) and it gave me an idea.
I think it's time for everyone else to pony up in return for all the gifts I've bought them since I had my last shower in 1987 or so.
But I don't need the usual things, like linens and waffle irons and candles. I have plenty of all those things already. No, I think they should give me a NASCAR shower.
Decorate the cake with race cars. Set the table with checkered flag napkins. The centerpiece could be multi-colored flowers tied with a big NASCAR bow. Put my gifts in the bag like the one I bought. (I'll even give that one to someone to use since I'd be getting it back anyway).
The gifts should center around Jimmie Johnson, since he's my driver. A JJ key ring and playing cards, teeshirts and hats, cold drink coolers and maybe a gift card to a tattoo shop (okay, no, that's too extreme!). How about a number 48 flag for outside, Jimmie Christmas ornaments and Lowe's Chevrolet diecast cars in various paint schemes?
Oh, man, wouldn't that be cool? I can see it all now.
If any of my friends are reading this, I'm just throwing the idea out there......