Jingle bells are in the air, which can mean only one thing: Adults around the world are still pissed off about the misspent Christmases of their youth. In the spirit of the season, I polled my friends and family about the presents they always wanted but never got and the presents they received that ruined their lives. These are their stories, in their words (*Note*: Last names have been omitted to save each of you from Google-happy parents. You’re welcome):
Kerry: In fourth grade, I wanted Crissy, the beautiful doll with the hair that grows and grows and grows. Instead I got old lady Mrs. Beasley from "Family Affair." I naturally pretended to be thrilled with the blazing light of the old movie camera shining in my eyes, but oh I wanted Crissy because she represented something unattainable: beauty. Frankly, I looked more like Mrs. Beasley as we had the same octagon glasses and pixie haircut… Karen (my sister): I totally wanted the talking Velvet doll, sister of Crissy, whose hair grew very long when you turned the knob on her back. I got her–and her voice was scarier than anything Rod Serling could’ve dreamt up. She croaked out friendly messages from her plastic smile, but that evil, deep, scratchy voice meant only one thing: She would come to life and kill me as I slept if she remained in my room. I still have her, in a box in the garage, where I presume she feeds on rodents. Don: When I was 10 I wanted a groovy Schwinn bike. It had a frame painted with red metal flake, chrome fenders, three-speed gearshift and big fat tires with thick whitewalls. It was cool and all the cool kids had one. I asked for it for Christmas, then my birthday, then Christmas again. Never got it. What I did get was this crummy cheap-ass bike from Sears, its house brand, J.C. Higgins. No gearshift, no whitewalls, no chrome fenders and worst of all, no adolescent boy cachet. It was a piece of junk; fell apart before the following summer was out. Which was all right with me, ’cause it was the dorkiest ride on the block. Wendy (my wife): For Christmas I always hoped my family would overlook my propensity to decapitate and mutilate every doll I’d ever received. I would beg my mother and Santa Claus for Barbie, Ken and the Dream House. My mother, who I secretly believe hated me, would dig through my toy chest, point to the headless bodies and say, "You wouldn’t have to ask for more Barbies if you appreciated the ones I already paid for." Instead, there’d be boxes of clothes that made me resemble Charlie’s fourth Angel, circa 1978. But I looked foxy on the way to the shrink… Mike: I was a Transformers nut as a kid and I remember begging for the damn things as soon as my birthday was over and done with in September. Three months of solid hinting, leaving comics lying around turned to the ads for Optimus Prime and pushing the volume through the roof every time a "robots in disguise" ad came on the TV. Dec. 25 arrives and I get the Transformers’ cheaper cousins, the Go-bots. This directly led to my one and only brush with the law: shoplifting Transformers with my friend and getting nabbed on the third store we hit. Stern talk from the manager, followed by a short ride in a police car where I got to explain what Transformers were to the bored cop, followed by a long wait for my parents. It was all their fault, of course. Anna: I was about 7 or 8 years old and all I wanted that year was this stupid, hollow plastic pink princess telephone. It was fake, which explains why it was hollow plastic, but when you turned the number dial, it made these adorable little "brrring, brrring" sounds. It probably cost less than five bucks. But my parents didn’t get me the plastic phone. No, they had to go out and get me this dark pink girlie bicycle, one with a flowered banana seat and fringed plastic strips coming out of the handlebars. I was devastated because, of course, they went and bought my little sister a pink plastic phone. My pink plastic phone! Angela: I asked and asked for the Atari game Pitfall. Instead, my dad went to the swap meet and bought 30 cartridges of Centipede. Kendra: The only thing I wanted that I never got was a little brother. My parents tried to make it up to me when my sister was born by buying me an anatomically correct baby doll. This resulted in me saying "penis" in the middle of Sunday school. I was only 3 and I still remember the spanking I got after church. Thom: I never wanted toy guns of any kind but got them nonetheless because my dad was into them and my silly little brother wanted nothing but. They learned after a few years when all I did with them was use them to prop up a little canopy during May when I made some kind of stupid shrine to the Blessed Mother. I was one screwed up Catholic kid.