December 6, 2006

The True Test of Love

Put your affection up to auction. I've been doing some Christmas shopping online and have had some epic battles between my head and my heart. Here's a sample scenario:

You find the perfect present for your sweet little brother on eBay, a signed first edition of his favorite childhood book you used to read to him. Nobody has bid on it yet and the opening bid is at $4.99. Of course, you aren't buying this book because it's inexpensive, but simply because this truly is the most thoughtful gift you could possibly give. Putting in the opening bid is simple and your heart swells with the sweet fruits of selflessness.

Like most eBay auctions, this one lasts for seven days and two days later you are still the only bidder on the item. By this time, you've already imagined all the cozy nights your brother will spend reading this book to his own children and the fond remembrances of you it will elicit as he fingers your charming inscription on the title page. You have a real knack for gifts! Then it happens - someone else bids on the book. The auction is now at $5.99 and you consider their entrance into this transaction nothing less than sacrilege. This is your book. You bid again for $6.99 but are instantly outbid. Your outrage is insuppressible.

You let the auction simmer for another few days to give your opposing bidder a false sense of security. However, you can't help but think about possible alternative presents that might replace this lovely book. The shipping price of $15.99 is rather high...

Nevertheless, with one day to go before the auction ends you bid again. This one is for Little Brother! You place an aggressive bid of $10.99 hoping this will shut out any competition. That boy is worth it. Remember that time he spent all night in your room listening to your relationship troubles and nodding? And that day when he sent an unexpected letter to you at college expressing his appreciation for your stellar example as an older sibling?

But your efforts are again thwarted. Your mystery competitor automatically outbids you. You are unsure just how high he is willing to go but determined to win this auction on principle. The perfect present only comes along once in a lifetime. Again and again you enter frantic bids but with no luck. Outbid. Outbid. Outbid. The price is now at $35.99 and you pause before bidding again. There was that one time when you were trying to talk to your Main Squeeze on the phone and your brother picked up and started belching...but regardless of these insignificant bad habits, you bid again. Outbid. And you never can quite forget how he forgot to send you a wedding present six years ago...your fingers quiver, but finally bang in another bid for $45.01. Outbid. He would probably just lose this book anyway - he's such a slob with that apartment of his! And maybe your mystery competitor for the book really really wants it. You wouldn't want to ruin their Christmas over a little book.

To bid or not to bid? After everything you've invested emotionally in this rare book, a few little faults of your brother shouldn't get in the way of a gift of the heart. You type in one final vetoing bid for $60.99 and are about to hit Submit to seal the deal when a memory sears your brain. You were 17 and your brother had finally surpassed you in size and strength. The memory is fuzzy, but you can't forget the awful sensation of a warm loogie slowly dripping into your ear as your sweet little brother held you down and laughed.

Come to think of it, he would probably appreciate a $20 gift card to Target more than a silly, old, tattered book. It would be the perfect present!

Any similarities to actual family members are coincidental and unintentional. The loogies, unfortuantely, are not.


Adrienne said...

AuctionSniper. Atleast, I think that's what it's called. Francis has a nice little program that watches auctions and bids for you. You tell it what auction, how much you're willing to spend and then it waits until 60 seconds before it closes and places a winning bid (provided it's not outside your spending limit.)

It has gotten us A LOT of cheap stuff.

Someone who knows you well said...

I remember him holding you down. I remember how you had taunted and tortured him for months (or years) with whatever you wanted to inflict upon him, telling him that he should NEVER fight against a girl. Not gentlemanly. And I remember when he finally got you back that I walked by and heard your shrill, angry cries, "MOM, HELP me!"

I thought of all the times he'd cried out that same plea, how he'd struggled to 'be a gentleman' while being so cruelly tortured by his big sister. Thinking of this, and remembering a similar rite of passage I'd had with my own little brother who finally convinced me he was a human being, not a punching bag. I remembered the day he got me back, established himself as someone to be respected. After that, I saw him in a whole new light, stopped teasing him and that was the beginning of a lifelong friendship!

Remembering this, I coolly walked by the little pile of my shrieking, wrestling children on the floor, looked down, and said, "GET her, son!"

I'll be you never messed with him again.

What is it with brothers and loogies? They all do it. Mine did it to me too. Yuck. Don't worry, I was monitoring the fun from the next room. I would never have let him really HURT you, Baby.

Any similarities between this comment and real life are coincidental and unintentional? Right.

You are my darling. I am your mommy.

Sarah said...

Uh, Mom - maybe you didn't catch the part about this scenario being pretend. I do remember something about big brother Bill and loogies but this post was not a personal remembrance of my past with little brother Johnny. But thanks for the disturbing flashback.

Suzie Petunia said...

I've never had much luck on eBay. I'm too cheap. That would have been a lovely gift. Target is lovely, too.

Yer mudder in law said...

My pleasure!

ruined breakfast said...

This was such an engaging essay I really enjoyed it until I got to the end and then it was so gross I wish I hadn't read it. Please don't do that to me anymore.

Lianne said...

I am an eBayaholic. I am right now wearing shoes from eBay, a purse from eBay, and my closet is full of eBay deals.

I have even given eBay lessons to members of my ward... much to their husband's chagrine.

Anonymous said...

Isn't eBay addicting? One time, a co-worker of mine bought a car on eBay (while at work -- yes, it was just as addicting to watch). We were all totally sucked in as he talked with his wife on the phone and watched as each bid he made was outbid by some other wacky person. Turned out, though, that the other bidder was actually the seller who was just bidding to get the price to go up. After the auction closed, he called my co-worker and offered him the car for his last bid, if he wanted it. He wanted it.

So, I guess all that to say, maybe your bidding nemesis was actually the seller trying to get a higher price. ...So maybe, if you are One Who Is Above eBay Scams, it's better you settled for a Target gift card.

Lisa M. said...


You're so right.

Anonymous said...

You and I must have the same uh, "pretend/hypothetical" brother. Mine tortured me with loogies and other things I've buried with years of therapy. Ugh! Yeah, gift cards rock! BTW, did you ever sell off all of your Peeps stuff via eBay?