She’s Hard to Shop For


Dear Austin’s Acre,

I’ve run out of time and ideas and I have one last gift to purchase.  My mother-in-law expects high-end gifts but I cannot think of anything she doesn’t already have.  In years past, I’ve given jewelry, TV’s, mink coats, and warm climate vacations.  She was hardly impressed by any of it.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Signed, Desperate in Denver

Dear Desperate,

You’ve set the bar very high, making any of my possible suggestions even more pathetic than usual.  But, given your difficult situation, I’m willing to lend a helping hand.

First, THINK SMALL:  Many scientific discoveries are occurring each and every day in the world of micro-biology and atomic research.  Hook up with a scientist and get a germ named after your mother-in-law.  This could have exciting ramifications down the road.  Let’s say there is a global outbreak of some disease.  Wouldn’t she be proud if, instead of a bird flu or a swine flu, the would thought of the Florence Flu or the Pauline Pandemic?  She would be immortalized by your Christmas gift.

You might want to THINK GREEN:  Many communities are having difficulty paying for their recycling and hazardous waste facilities and treatment plants.  An exciting world of sponsorship is opened before you.  Your Christmas gift dollars could go to naming one of these facilities in her honor.  The entire community will forever refer fondly to the Dorothy Dump, the Laura Landfill, Heather Hazardous Waste Treatment Facility, or the Beulah BrownZone.

Finally, THINK UNIVERSAL:  Of course, many people name stars.  This is common.  You could spend the meager $30 to put her moniker on something that no one will ever see without a powerful telescope but I say you should name something with more meaning.  Something people care about.  I think you should put her name on a moving, active celestial body.  To get the biggest “bang” for your buck, I would suggest the following.  1) Name a fast moving, far reaching meteor.  This way, her name will travel throughout the galaxy. 2) The bigger, the better.  Choose a meteor that can be seen with the naked eye in the noon-day sun.  You don’t want this gift to be limited to night viewing only.  You want it to be appreciated 24 hours a day.  3) Find a meteor that has a good chance of someday striking the earth.  This way, your mother-in-law’s meteor will have a huge impact on the earth (literally).  For all recorded history (or what will be left of it), the Marylin Meteor or the Imogene Impact Crater will be fondly remember by those remaining to repopulate the planet.

Either gift you choose, you’ve got your work cut out for you.  But I have faith that you will make the right choice, and in the process, will make her Christmas one she will never forget.