Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Thoughtful Gift

One of the more exciting gifts I received for Christmas this year was something which I am uncertain is a mockery, a joke, or a sisterly jab at my recent travels.

I was handed a large, half-wrapped box on Thursday with a tag indicating it was from my littlest sister. Considering that she had sent me a text a few days prior that read, “blind, fingerless crack babies can wrap presents better than I can,” I was not terribly surprised by this. Things that require advanced dexterity seem to trouble her. I had no idea what was inside.

After unwrapping the covered half of the gift, I opened it to find nothing more than a large box full of newspapers, some carefully folded, some simply wadded up and thrown in. Okay, it must be delicate. I started digging, quickly finding some loose change here and there, a box of matches, and a can of tuna. What? Then an old, soggy piece of hard candy. This must be quite a gift. Then I found a bottle of Wild Irish Rose, neatly covered in a brown paper bag. This must be a joke.

Yet it occurred to me that this is the same sister that recently referred to me as a professional hobo. Suddenly it all makes sense. This is, in fact, a mobile home, with all the trappings, I might add. I get a house (box), insulation (newspaper), lining for my clothing (more newspaper), some matches (for making hobo fires), loose change (to “seed” my begging cup), tuna for relatively healthy nourishment, and Wild Irish Rose (the world’s cheapest wine and body-warmer). Everything a hobo needs for an abundant life.


I figured I’d try it out, though, maybe for a laugh. I donned my old military jacket (stolen off a private security vehicle in Iraq that was hit by an IED), an old wool cap, hobo gloves, and made a nest. I intended to take a sip of the horrid liquor for the sake of good photography, but it was so awful I ended up just spilling it on myself. Now I even smell like a hobo. Great pictures ensued.

This mobile estate, alas, did not survive my residence, and quickly exploded into several pieces. I guess I need a refrigerator box. The wine, by the way, was poured out, so I am left with little more than some newspapers to line my coat, some tuna, and some loose change. I appreciate the gift, a Hobo Starter Kit if there ever was one. Until I get my larger box, I will stick with sleeping in dumpsters.

This was not the only gift I received, by the way. There were many others. The best, however, was a riotously good time spent with my whole family. No price tag can be attached to such a thing, and it will be remembered long after I’ve burned my matches, eaten my tuna, and vomited Wild Irish Rose all over myself.

Once again, Merry ChristmasCopyright © 2008, Ben Shaw
All Rights Reserved


  1. I last saw this guy outside Wal-Mart. He asked for a dime for a cup of coffee. I reminded him that you can't get a cup of coffee for a dime anymore.

    You have to get up early or stay up late, or the good stuff!

  2. I still can't believe you fit in that thing.

  3. He is flexible Elizabeth. Of course, when your joints are lubricated with Wild Irish Rose, you can stuff a 6'4" Marine in a shoebox.

  4. Where is the photo of you squeezing in and out of the box? How are your knees these days?

  5. Wonderful! Blackmail material!

    What a hoot!

  6. I mean, I can't believe you fit in the box. Not the gourd. I don't want to know about the gourd.

  7. Kind of reminds me of my patriotic gourd. I painted it red,white and blue and everyone salutes it when I walk by....sans drawers. "I just don't look good naked anymore."