Working two low wage jobs as both a server and pizza tosser makes it difficult to purchase gifts for my loved ones. And to make matters worse, my boss just increased the percentage I have to tip-out the bus-boy and our bartender, Jacob, who maybe pours three drinks in an evening (and those arenâ€™t for customers!).
I donâ€™t make crap, but thatâ€™s okay because as a pizza tosser I earn 10 units for my Culinary Exercise course at night law school. But still, working two jobs while tackling a law degree- with a minor in Culinary Ethics (my goal is to promote Food Service Industry Rights)- makes the holidays an anxiety-ridden affair about stretching the buck as far as possible.
And by buck, I mean one buck for my mom, one for my dad, and one for my sister Eileen and her stupid husband Bert. And of course I also have to get something for my brothers Toby, T.J and Tank (who was actually named Tron, but he hates that movie, so he changed his name).
I only have 7 dollars in my bank account. Literally. Thatâ€™s why I live with Floyd and put up with his shenanigans. Heâ€™s letting me crash at his place free of charge until I finish night law school.
So for my holiday treats this year, I decided to stretch my buck by not spending a dime on my family. Instead, Iâ€™m recycling my belongings into custom-made, â€œaw-shucks, you shouldnâ€™t haveâ€ presents.
For my sister, Iâ€™m giving her my 2nd Grade soccer trophy. I used packing tape to cover the engraving and with a black marker I wrote, â€œWorldâ€™s Best Sister.â€ Iâ€™m covering it with old deflated balloons that sort of look like streamers, and when she opens the box on Christmas morning Iâ€™m going to spray her with Lucky Charms marshmallows (as confetti). For her husband Bert (I donâ€™t like him) Iâ€™ll just say, â€œYouâ€™re married to my sister, isnâ€™t that enough?â€
For Mom and Dad, Iâ€™m making a card out of old Boys Life magazines. Itâ€™ll be written like one of those old-time scary ransom notes: â€œIf you donâ€™t hug your son for Christmas, heâ€™ll quit night law school.â€ Mom will probably cry. She cries every Christmas.
For my brothers, I will give them each a toy I stole from them years ago â€“ and theyâ€™ll be so caught up with nostalgia that I guarantee they wonâ€™t remember I stole it. Yes! Iâ€™ll even make up a story about how I buried it in a time capsule because I wanted them to relive their childhood days of innocence before becoming addicted to glue (Toby), turning into a three-time divorced man (T.J) and stealing car stereos (Tank).
So with my family complete, there is only one gift I have yet to figure out. Floyd.
What do you give a guy who has everything? With all that cash and an imagination as wide as the Milky Way, I canâ€™t think of anything better than dressing up like a plane and swooping down on him like â€œNorth by Northwest.â€ Heâ€™ll get a kick out of that, and me, Iâ€™ll have stretched my seven bucks into the New Year. And to celebrate the New Year? Iâ€™ll buy myself a case of Apple Cider and sip it slowly till Midnight.
By the way, Iâ€™m not working that night even though I begged my boss to let me (itâ€™s the biggest night of the year for tips). But according to my boss, â€œIâ€™m not senior enough.â€ So letâ€™s hope somebody gets Salmonella!
Happy Holidays everyone!