Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A mystery gift

When I stepped out on my porch this morning to go over to my new house and paint, I noticed a plastic bag sitting atop a few empty liquor boxes I haven't carried in yet. I did that thing everybody does when something unexpected shows up on the porch: I peered up and down the street looking for ... I dunno. A TV crew? Someone running away? The tail lights of a car as it screeched around the corner? What I saw was .... nothing. Just the bag.

I picked it up and went back inside to see what it was. It was .... ummmm ..... wall art. And obviously it meant to make a statement.

Of course I could take it literally and think that someone out there is correcting my grammar, but that would be ridiculous, wouldn't it?

No, more likely I'm the one who is theoretically correcting grammar in my head. English teacher, editor, writer and all that. And let's not forget the OCD. I confess to just a touch of the OCD.

When my daughter Elvira came to pick up Coraline from our regular Tuesday night together, I showed her the package and told her I'd found it on my porch this morning.

"Oooohh," she said. "How mysterious! Where do you think this came from?"

"I have no idea," I said. "Maybe Meier. It's in a Meier bag."

"No, I mean who put it on your porch?"

"I don't know. Probably somebody who knows me. Given what I write about, I'm just grateful it's not a dildo."

"Are you going to hang it up? I think you should hang it up." I could tell Elvira coveted the artwork. She's as bad as I am about correct MUGS (mechanics, usage, grammar, spelling). She even writes texts in perfect English.

"I dunno," I said. "I'm not in the hanging stuff up stage of moving yet. And it has that adverb on it. I hate all adverbs."

"If you don't hang it up, I want it," she said. I'm surprised she didn't sneak it out in Coraline's diaper bag, but I'd given her a lot of stuff to take home already. She's probably regretting it as she reads this.

It's true that I'm probably correcting your grammar or spelling or punctuation in my head if you make a typo. That's what editors do -- we see what other people miss. And I do it silently because unless I'm getting paid to slice and dice with my sharp red pen, or a friend specifically asks, nobody wants to be embarrassed corrected.

If I'm getting paid though, that document will bleed. Money does not buy silence from me.

When was the last time you got a mystery gift? Did you ever find out who gave it to you?


  1. Last time I got a mystery gift was when I turned 21 and I had 21 roses mysteriously delivered to my parents front door. It was clearly for me, but had no idea who it was from.

    Turned out to be from the guy my mother dated in high school who is still hopeful that he has a shot at my mother. He despises my dad and almost dropped a piano on him once (on purpose). I've met him maybe twice, and he used to send us boxes of dead animal parts when I was a kid.

    It's a long story that is so far beyond awkward, awkward doesn't even cover it.

    1. That's crazy! That could be a novel, but I don't think he'd like how it would have to end.