Why Do We Give Other People What We Want?

I’m sitting in my hovel surrounded by freakin’ balloons. Everywhere I go — which isn’t far in here — I’m tripping over and colliding with balloons.

They’re big and bright and blue and they’re wishing me a happy birthday.

They’re tired up to my meager furniture and to water bottles and to virtually everything but my Torah books.

Did Rabbi Akiva get balloons for his birthday?

Why do I get balloons for my birthday? Because the woman who gave me balloons wants balloons on her birthday.

I’ll tell you what she’ll bloody well get — if she gets anything — and that’s a gift certificate to Barnes & Nobles.

That’s my standard gift (I don’t give many gifts, can’t be bothered).

I’ll tell you a dirty little secret about my gift giving — the only persons who should expect gifts from me are my wives and girlfriends. That’s it. Nobody else should expect even a card, not even a chaste kiss good night.

I’m too busy writing commentaries on the Torah to go shopping. Did the Vilna Gaon give birthday cards? I think not. I bet his wife didn’t even get balloons.

I’ve only once lived with a woman for longer than a few weeks. This was in 1993 and it lasted about three months. And we kept giving each other what we wanted. I gave her long longing notes tucked under her pillow about how much she meant to me. She bought me clothes. I didn’t give a flying leap about clothes and she couldn’t care less about my lovey dovey notes.

In 1987, my sister came over for Christmas. I gave her as a present a book I wanted to read — Days of Rage by Todd Gitlin. She saw right through my gift and didn’t even bother to take it back to Australia with her.

It’s a cold cruel world out there, lover.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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