I turned forty today. My wife surprised me with a birthday party on Saturday that I enjoyed very much. A few of my buddies took me to a heated driving range and laser tag before we returned home to celebrate with twenty or thirty of my close friends. I was describing the gifts that I received to some of my students and former students today, and in listing them, I realized that this may not be the typical gift list of a forty year old.
My gifts included:
- A pocket copy of the US Constitution
- A sweatshirt that reads: Matt, The Man, the Myth, the Legend
- A basketball
- Gift cards to Dominos Pizza, McDonald’s and Wendy’s
- Snow pants
- Mille Bornes, a French card game that I played as a child
- Underwear (from my in-laws)
And what did my students give me for my birthday (in addition to their homemade cards, some sweet and some not-so-sweet)?
Diet Coke and candy bars.
In the words of one of my former students, “It’s like you’re not even a man yet, Mr. Dicks.”
Another said, “I can’t tell if you’re an adult nerd or just a big kid.”
The husband of one of my colleagues and the bearer of the McDonald’s gift card asked his wife, “Are we really giving McDonald’s gift cards as a birthday present?”
One of my friends said, “You’re easy and hard to buy for at the same time.”
All fair points.
Part of me kind of wishes that I desired the more traditional gifts that a forty year old might receive, because there are times that I can feel less than manly in my pursuits.
But another part of me is happy that I have no need for the more traditional gifts that a forty year old might receive. A quick Internet search revealed items like watches, cufflinks, ties, fine bottles of wine, sunglasses, nostalgia-based gift baskets, weekend getaways, gift certificates to fine restaurants and mid-life crisis items like flying lessons to be ideal gifts for the forty year old.
None of these things appeal to me very much.
Which probably says a lot about me.
Some good and some not so good.