Edited by Russell W. Belk
Chapter 33: Autobiography
Stephen Brown It’s a gift! Call me an old-fashioned romantic, but I always take great care when buying gifts for people. The item has to be ‘just right’, simply perfect for the person in question. I go to enormous lengths to ensure that the gift and the giftee are compatible at some primal level. Even the most trivial oﬀering gets this treatment, though I wish it didn’t, since I’ve spent many an unhappy hour in gift stores agonizing over the appropriateness of the purchase I’m about to make. I keep telling myself to make do – grab something, anything, Stephen! – but my conscience won’t let me leave until I’ve done the right thing by acquiring the right thing. My much put-upon wife, as you might expect, is top of my list of recipients. She’s a remarkable woman in innumerable respects, not least with regard to home improvement. Unlike your humble scribe, she has a way with hammers, drills, chisels, screwdrivers, spirit levels and all the redoubtable rest. When it comes to putting up shelves, laying wooden ﬂoors, making curtain rails and generally painting and decorating, she’s in her element. Naturally, I do my bit – bleeding radiators, changing lightbulbs, washing cars, wrestling with recalcitrant lawnmowers – but all things considered I believe such things should be left to the experts, like Linda. Don’t you? Given my wife’s natural gifts and given my gift-giving propensities, it is inevitable that the two traits should converge. And, lovestruck sap that I am, I have plied...
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