I’ve been blessed with a good life. But an insurmountable challenge that haunts the open spaces of my mind in those too long stretches of time before I fall asleep, is finding the perfect birthday gift for friends.
And some friends are more challenging to buy for than others.
Take Sarah. She enjoys great success in her career and she isn’t burdened with the notion of thrift. If she wants something, she buys it. And the even bigger problem is that her generosity extends way beyond herself. She spoils everyone in her life and her willingness to always help creates in her friends a sincere desire to – at least on her birthday – spoil her right back.
So I decided this year that I was going to spoil her with art.
I’m always so impressed (and intimidated) when people talk about ‘the art’ they purchased. Books are the only ‘art’ for which I’m prepared to shelve out money. People who frequently purchase ‘art’ must surely be beyond wealthy and must already have every book on earth. And – importantly – they must be refined and educated sufficiently to be able to recognise good ‘art’.
I liked the finger drawing someone made on the rear window of a dirty car I parked next to yesterday…
In my country there is a famous artist whose art comes in the form of home decor. It is wildly expensive, created from the heaviest, rarest of materials, and incomparably ugly. And I have little enough faith in my own judgment about what is artistically beautiful, that I thought it would be a grand idea to bless my friend with a piece of this must-have ‘art’. A smallish piece that I could afford, of course.
My thinking was that even if it is atrocious, at least she’ll be able to say: Oh yes Baxter, I do have a piece from so-and-so. Hark! Look there, on the table is said art piece. Am I not magnificent?
When the ‘piece’ was finally delivered at my house last week, I was devastated to find it in pieces. The fancy box made of expensive, non-recyclable materials and adorned with curly letters couldn’t bring the artwork to me intact.
I felt devastated. I really thought I had it this year! A good gift, something different and memorable.
Instead of different and memorable, I had to give Sarah the emergency B-plan gift I had to get instead. Like always, she received it as if it was the one thing she needed to experience happiness. (The truth is and always was: Sarah values her friends more than she does stuff.)
It took me a week to finally unpack the entire box of broken ‘art’ to record for the supplier the devastation…at which point I discovered that the piece of shit artwork must be assembled…
That’s correct folks. The ugliest desk clock that has ever taken up space on this planet now stands proudly…almost arrogantly…on my desk, mocking me with its bombastic lines and its conceited finish.
This is why I like finger drawings.
[Featured image from Pleated Jeans at https://pleated-jeans.com/2020/07/09/dirty-car-art/%5D