THE Lamps, Part 6

by teresalaynebennett

photo of table full of beautifully wrapped wedding gifts

Oh, such lovely, lovely delights! Or maybe not.

The next generation
enters the game.

As luck would have it, we Baby Boomers didn’t have to wait long to bring the next generation into the Revenge Game. That spring, a niece announced her engagement – the first of her generation to do so – setting the blessed event for the first of June.

(If you’re lost already, that means you haven’t read the preceding five parts of this sad saga about THE Lamps. And as I’ll just keep saying, none of these Lamp blog posts will make much sense unless they’re read in order. Go back and start with Part 1 or wherever you left off!)

Let’s get on with this story
and try to end
this revenge melodrama,
shall we?

I set about shopping for a nice wedding gift for this niece and her beloved and found what I thought was perfect. It was a tiny drop-leaf pine table for the newlyweds’ tiny breakfast nook. Hubby was not impressed. He wanted to give something more infused with family history. You know where this is going.

For that momentous June wedding, he insisted on giving two gifts to the exceedingly lucky couple. Technically, they didn’t merely receive two gifts. They received three: one legitimate gift (the table) and a gift-wrapped box with two gifts inside (the cursed Pistachio Orientals). Hubby never stopped to ask himself just how much luck one newlywed couple could stand.

Meanwhile, down in west Texas, as the wedding date approached, Hubby’s niece had a come-to-Jesus meetin’ with her Mamma, known to you as Middle Child. Mamma, do NOT let them put those horrid, ugly lamps with our wedding gifts!” (How did she know we’d decided to include her generation in our game of Revenge?)

Right,” agreed Mamma. Shame on Mamma because she lied.

Yessiree: we were considerably less encumbered on our trip from west Texas back home to Colorado. We returned to a house blessedly devoid of Pistachio Orientals, their having been safely passed on to the next generation. Life was sweet. It got even sweeter the next June as the first-married niece gathered up the Pistachio Orientals to spice up the wedding-gift loot of her cousin, the second-to-marry niece.

Interestingly enough, this niece had the same conversation with her Mamma, known to you as Little Sister. Little Sister lied, too.

Unfortunately, for that second-niece-to-marry, the next of her cousins took his sweet time finding his beloved. She, poor thing, had to store the Pistachio Orientals for three long years. This next-to-marry cousin, our nephew, didn’t think to try to ward off revenge (which wouldn’t have done much good anyway, as we’ve just seen, since we Boomers appeared to be allergic to truth).

It doesn’t require a terrific amount of imagination to guess the conversation that ensued when his unwarned and uninitiated bride discovered the Pistachio Orientals neatly wrapped amongst their authentic wedding gifts. 

What are these?”

They’re the ugly lamps.”

I can SEE that. Why do we have them?”

We pass them around in our family. It’s our own Revenge Game we made up.”

Well, I’m throwing them out. They’re disgusting!”

You can’t do that. We have to keep them.”


Only till someone else in the fam gets married – or Christmas, whichever comes first.”

Grumble. Grumble. Grumble. But she was a good sport, especially for having not an ounce of warning. She parked them in the top of her childhood bedroom closet. Then the entire conversation replayed itself when her mother found the Pistachio Orientals while converting her daughter’s old bedroom into a sewing room. After hearing the explanation, she plopped them into the lap of her newly married daughter and told her to take the tacky things to her own home.

Now right about here in the saga is where you just have to pity people who are novices at the game of Revenge. This unsuspecting bride had to store a pair of the ugliest lamps you’d ever want to see alongside all the bright new, classy baubles that couples get when they wed. Wouldn’t you think she’d be itching to pass them along? Wouldn’t you think she’d have a plan for doing so?

Yet, pay attention, when her new husband’s next cousin’s nuptials occurred and the next cousin’s as well, she was asleep at the wheel. SHE DIDN’T EVEN THINK ABOUT FOISTING THE LAMPS INTO THE PILE OF WEDDING GIFTS AT EITHER OF THESE WEDDINGS!! Can you imagine such a stupendous lack of tactical planning?

And as far as we all know, those nasty Pistachio Orientals are still stored somewhere in their house. Of course, our nephew and his bride may have pitched those grotesque lamps in one of their moves. Or not. As you can imagine, all this maybe-maybe-not business has turned family reunions into tense events as we all wait for the proverbial shoe to drop. Nervous and edgy, we all check our vehicle trunks and back seats with the utmost care before driving off. You just never know. They may show up again – or not.

It gets worse. Since all the nieces and the nephew have married, the lamps can’t be surreptitiously added to another pile of wedding-gift loot. That means we Baby Boomers, the ones who started this whole miserable mess, will most likely be drawn back into the game of Lamp Revenge. Those suckers could turn up in any of our homes for any reason at any time – Christmas, Valentine’s, Thanksgiving, birthdays, anniversaries – or for no particular reason at all. Let me tell you, it’s annoyingly worrisome.

And the pay-attention point
would be…?

You’ve been such a good sport, sticking with me all the way through SIX blog posts illustrating one family’s obsession with getting even, that you deserve a stellar pay-attention lesson. You’ll remember I’ve said previously that Semantics is also a fun game. As you can tell, Hubby’s family has decided to play the game of Semantics simultaneously with the game of Revenge, and so they categorize all this vengeful getting even via ugly lamps as “good, clean fun.” To prove it, they all (present company excluded, of course) exhibit good-natured sportsmanship while playing it.

And that leads me
to an uncharacteristically serious
pay-attention point.

A harmless game of Revenge (like my in-laws’ game of Lamp Revenge) is okay. A REAL game of Revenge is never okay. Don’t confuse the two.

I don’t think I personally know anyone who does this, and I very much doubt that you do, dear reader. But should you ever find yourself caught up in a harmless game of Revenge that slowly and insidiously morphs from good, clean fun into bad, mean fun, recognize it for what it is: REAL revenge. STEP OUT OF THE GAME – sooner rather than later. That’s especially true if you’re the excessively optimistic sort who thinks you can single-handedly turn around others’ bad behavior.

Here’s an extra pay-attention tip I’ll throw in for free as my parting shot in this way-too-long Lamps saga. One of the hallmarks of pay-attention wisdom is the ability to recognize when you’re out of your depth and step out.

© 2016, Teresa Bennett

2018 Addendum: I was exceedingly mistaken. This Ugly Lamp Revenge Game is not over. It was begun again in 2017 by Little Sister and The Conniver, as you’ll read in THE Lamps, Part 7.



red box with white text: “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord.” – Rom. 12:19, NIV Bible

REAL revenge is none of our biz: it’s God-work.