Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Ridiculous Gift

Apparently Buzz Lightyear works out at my gym. How else would you explain these sitting next to the coats? Seriously, I'm sorry, but who wears ridiculously giant snow shoes with MOON BOOT written in equally giant letters and then skins a poor defenseless Muppet to trick out the top? WHO??? (In case my carefully researched Internet picture does not do them justice, they are just massively huge shoes. I almost pulled them out just to take a picture of them next to my legs. They come up over my knees.)

I also seriously considered awkwardly staking out the coat rack area until the owner showed up just to see who this deranged fashion victim was, but I thought better of it. What would I do when he/she showed up?

"Aha! You are wearing crazy shoes," I could yell. With which they could then kick me a full 89 feet.

The thing that really gets me about these ridiculous boots, which I understand have been around since 1971 and should have gone out of style when consumers stopped doing acid, is that they retail for around $135. Here are the things I could do with $135:

1. Pay my electric bill.
2. Pay my cell phone bill AND my gas bill.
3. Buy at least seven gifts for assorted friends and family.
4. Buy half of a plane ticket to see my brother.
5. Buy two pairs of NORMAL boots.

Even if I weren't underemployed I wouldn't pay $135 to look like a goon. I can do that all by myself. I do not need the help of neon green fur to make me look unqualified for anything other than jumping. Not that I haven't spent money on needless things in better times. Here are the top five ridiculous purchases I have made in the past few years:

1. A piece of green fabric from American Apparel that promised to be versatile-y shaped and twisted into strapless shirts, beach-ready skirts and wraps. I have not been able to do anything with it other than use it as a belt. All other combinations slide and unravel and generally expose more of me than necessary.

2. A pair of purple Steve Madden peep-toe heels with a jeweled accent that are a full size and a half too small, but that I bought because they were on sale for $30 and I could get them on my feet. I have worn them exactly 1.25 times. (I may have hurled them across the room after the second attempt.)

3. A bottle of rose-scented lotion, which smelled perfectly fine in the store, but which makes me smell like a musty weed.

4. A bright blue wallet, which fell apart exactly 10 days after purchase. It also did not accommodate regular money, requiring me to fold my dollars just at the ends to make them fit, like it was made for die-hard Monopoly players.

5. A pair of fire-engine red linen dress pants. Don't even ask. I have no idea.

Even still, these five purchases add up to about $100, which is STILL LESS THAN THE MOON BOOTS.

Anyway, in addition to decking myself out in tasteless gear, I'm sure I have given many ridiculous gifts, too. (I just remembered the gold hair-mascara I gave to a friend in high school. *cringe.*) But sometimes, ridiculosity is exactly the perfect gift.

A couple of years ago, my very best friend K went through the very worst-kind-of-break-up. The kind where you have to stop wearing a very sparkly type of ring. (It is important to note that K is absolutely the sweetest person ever and the worst thing I have ever heard her say about anyone is that they are mean. Everything about this situation was unfair and horribly, terrifyingly mean. And yet, she retained every ounce of her own personality. Teaching made me impatient and bitter, and this ordeal made K braver and better.) As her several months of awfulness were transitioning into the first few months of recovery, she giggled that the worst part of all of it was that she had to stop wearing that sparkly jewelry.

So for Christmas, I got her a ridiculous assortment of sparkly rings to "replace" it. At the paper store down the street from me, they have a beautiful array of what you might call "costume jewelry." Or what I might call "awesome." I picked out a few that I though K might like and told her to dress up her ring finger as much as she wanted. At least now she could match it to her outfit.

It is ridiculous to assume that anyone would confuse awesome costume jewelry with crazy-expensive diamonds, but they are not for other people. It is those awesome pieces that represent liberation and happiness in a time of ridiculous confusion. So sometimes an over-the-top look is perfectly in style and not ridiculous at all. And sometimes it makes you look like a cartoon astronaut. Ridiculousness is a fine line not to be walked in MOON BOOTS.

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