Prior to finding the best husband in the world, I had the misfortune of dating a lot of other musicians who I now prefer to call “Ewwww!!!!”
In years past, I wrote often about the experiences, because I was light on time and those guys make for some easy comedy fodder. As a person who is now older and wiser, I hesitate to share more stories because it just feels almost too easy. It’s like pie-ing someone in the face for laughs, or trick-or-treating for herpes on the set of Saturday Night Fever. There’s no challenge in it. I mean, it’s practically slapstick.
But, alas, here we are.
Welcome to the jungle. We’ve got hobo gifts.
I came home one day from work about 23 years ago, to find a “gift” left for me on my porch, leaned against my front door. It was a bright blue, broken Cookie Monster bicycle baby-seat. You know, the kind you attach to the back of your bicycle and strap a baby into it? The fact that it was clearly pulled from someone’s trash, wasn’t functional, and that I had neither a baby nor a bicycle and therefore had no use for it, made me bite my lower lip, nod my head knowingly, and say, “Well my, my, my. Some musician must have a crush on little ol’ Maggie!”
Later on, as I received a call from my secret trash admirer from the payphone near the motel he was living in with his parents, I blushed. I mean, it wasn’t even a collect call! This guy cared. We made a date for him to “see me around sometime or whatever”, because he didn’t know what he was doing later. With a commitment like that, I knew he was clearly smitten.
Musicians have a special kind of anti-knack for gift-giving, in that (a) they have no money because they refuse to get a real job, and (b) they are so self-absorbed that they could not care less what your likes and dislikes are. You’re lucky they remember your name half the time and don’t just call you what you really are to them: “Car Payment”. They set the bar so low for themselves that it’s a wonder that they don’t wake you up on Christmas morning with a turd in their hands whispering, “I made you a dook for Christmas!”
It reminds me of the time I was gifted with a toilet seat for Christmas.
While it was, in fact, a new toilet seat, which meant he actually walked into a store to purchase it instead of pulling it off a trash pile down the street, most ladies are expecting something a little more, I don’t know, romantic? Than a toilet seat? Pretty much any other item that can be found in a bathroom is more romantic than a toilet seat. A toothbrush cup, a new rug, even a can of Lysol Scrubbing Bubbles – because those little cartoon guys on the label are kinda cute, right?
Granted, I had only spent $300 on a custom gift for him that he later sold for gas money, but that’s neither here nor there.
I think the best part, though, was that along with the toilet seat came a solid promise to install it. Many years later, as I pitched the toilet seat into the trash after our breakup, still in its original, unopened clamshell packaging, I wondered if he was still planning on getting around to that.
Now, this is all fine and good, and I’m sure you’re probably thinking it doesn’t get worse than an old Cookie Monster bicycle baby-seat or a new toilet seat, but that’s where you’d be dead wrong, Hoss.
The best-worst hobo gift I ever received from a musician was a rock.
I can assure you that is not a euphemism for a diamond, by the way. It was an actual rock. And not a pretty rock from the desert, or one of those smooth river stones that someone painted to look like a sea turtle. It was a strictly utilitarian rock. Like the kind of rock I would have later thrown through his window when I found out he was routinely stealing money from my purse, that is, if he had actually had a home.
And it wasn’t like he had forgotten it was Christmas and just picked a rock up off the ground and handed it directly to me on Christmas morning, thinking I’d be none the wiser. He had wrapped this rock up and taped the package shut – so it was a totally planned gift.
Now, for my gift to him, I had commissioned from a silversmith a large, custom-designed sterling silver charm for his black leather cord necklace (because 1990s) that took me weeks of planning and about half my paycheck but, again, that’s neither here nor there.
He, on the other hand, gave me a rock, wrapped in newspaper from my own recycling bin. Now, I know you’re thinking that there’s nothing worse than receiving a rock wrapped in your own garbage newspaper as a gift, but that’s where you’d be dead wrong again, Hoss.
As he gave me the rock and I unwrapped it, he told me, in complete earnest, that it was a rock that had been given to him by his favorite ex-girlfriend, and now he was “entrusting” it to me to take care of it.
That’s right. This was no ordinary rock.
This motherfucker gave me a secondhand rock.
He re-gifted me a rock.
He re-gifted me a rock from his ex-girlfriend and then said, out loud, to my face, “This is a rock my favorite ex-girlfriend gave to me and now I’m entrusting its care to you.” As a gift!
I’ve gotta say, though, whoever this ex-girlfriend was? She was waaaaay more experienced at dating musicians than I was, because by giving him this rock, she had clearly been aiming to give him a taste of his own medicine. I assume it was her response to previously being given one of his other ex-girlfriend’s used maxi pads as a gift for Valentine’s Day.
I mean, she gave him a rock? That’s some seriously next-level shit right there. That’s the kind of shit Grace Slick or Stevie Nicks would pull.
Truth be told, I wish I actually could have met this ex-girlfriend, because I would have side-eyed her as I shook her hand and said, “Well played, ex-girlfriend. Well played.” Then I would have sang “Wind Beneath My Wings” to her, because how else could she know she was my hero?
Seriously, she gave him a rock? That woman should be goddamned President.