THE Lamps, Part 4

by teresalaynebennett

You know how your mother always said you should never throw out a gift (at least, not right away)? You’ll remember from Part 3, I had ignored that rule and been found guilty of throwing out the decoupaged whiskey-bottle lamp – a thoughtfully purchased gift from Middle Child during my in-laws’ Ugly Lamp Gift Exchange.

(Haven’t read Parts 1, 2, and 3? Better back up and do it. This won’t make much sense otherwise.)

The sad story
of revenge continues.

To replace the whiskey-bottle lamp, I dutifully scoured yard sales and snagged a welder’s pitiful home project for a whopping $1. No doubt a transplanted Kansan, this inept welder had tried to stick pieces of metal together to form a whimsical version of a 1930s windmill in lamp format. It looked every bit as battered and cockeyed as the remnants of the real Kansas windmills we passed on our way to my in-laws and, like them, no longer worked. Perfect, I thought. But when I presented it to Hubby, he disdainfully dismissed it as definitely NOT ugly enough.

I exit the game.

Schulz’ Lucy and I are kindred spirits. Some of us were just born with crabby genes, and there’s little help for it. Right about here is where my crabby genes merged with my superior sense of logic. “Listen, Pal, you’re on your own from here on. I’m DONE playing this Revenge Game.” Dear reader, I want it blazingly clear to you, too, that henceforth in this interminable Lamp Revenge Game, I am merely an observer.

Lacking spousal cooperation, Hubby resorted to his childhood go-to: his mother. Pulling her into the fray, he put her on assignment to scour his hometown for the ugliest lamp possible. When we arrived for that fateful Christmas, she hadn’t found a single ugly lamp. She’d outdone herself and found a pair.

Some family members refer to them as “the puke-green Asian ladies” but to keep this set of blog posts from deteriorating any further than they already have, I shall call this pair the more dignified and somewhat more concise “Pistachio Orientals.” (Though it might not appear so, I DO have standards.)

The Pistachio Orientals were sleek sophistication compared to the gaudy pair below, but frighteningly similar in style. Ablaze in lurid lime (otherwise known as “puke”) green, they carried tiny black packs on their backs, open at the top, for the planting of equally tiny plants. A spot of red on their lips and sleek black bases completed their subdued tricolor palette. No doubt, they were at the apex of the 1950s lamp-cum-planter fad and meant to grace the cabinet top of the most exciting gizmo of their era – the TV, of course.

photo of 1950s oriental lamps

These poor creatures are even uglier than ours!

You get
a free pay-attention point
right here.

By now, you should’ve sussed this one out yourself, especially after The Conquistadors. Elegant from one era can quickly become ugly in another era. Remember that when you’re about to buy clothing or home accessories in the newest color fad, and some wee voice in your head is urging, Dooooon’t do it. Pay attention! That’s your future self warning you of the thunderous taste shift that’s looming on your horizon. Consider yourself duly warned.

Back to the story….

Hubby could hardly contain himself till gift-giving time. As all fifteen of us cozily gathered around the Christmas tree, he presented his “gift” of Pistachio Orientals to Middle Child, who laughed and laughed and laughed, along with all the other in-laws. See? “Fun” really is a relative term.

If they’d been presented to me, I, in a fit of genetic, Lucy-like behavior, would’ve marched them out to the concrete deck and whacked their little necks on its sharp edge. It would’ve been a mercifully quick death compared to my long and drawn-out murdering of The Conquistadors. Then this pitiful saga of revenge would’ve ended right there.

But Middle Child, with her weird sense of “fun,” held on to them for a year, faithfully brought them back for the next Christmas gift-giving and since we weren’t there, gave her oriental revenge to Little Sister. That was fitting since Little Sister and her sneaky husband had started the whole vengeful mess. With the Pistachio Orientals out of sight and safely in someone else’s closet, we enjoyed a quiet and sedate Christmas with my quiet and sedate (and “fun”-less) family.

What’s the chief
pay-attention point
to this wretched chronicle?

I thought you’d never ask. Pay attention because, sooner or later, you will need this smallish bit of wisdom. Just because your spouse wants to continue playing a game of revenge doesn’t mean you have to. However, though your non-participation will protect you from some fallout, be prepared for the inevitable collateral damage. After all, you are married to the revenge seeker. Though I had wisely stepped out of this Revenge Game, a lot of good that did me, as you’ll see in Part 5 of THE Lamps.

© 2016, Teresa Bennett

red box with white text: “ To avoid the collateral damage that comes from being closely associated with a vengeful person, DETACH if you can. If you can't, hunker down for the inevitable cross-fire.” – Teresa Bennett

Would you believe no one’s said this?? So I did.