Despite the difficulty I have had in the past finding acceptable gifts for various occasions, I was given the task of purchasing a shower gift for a close family friend who is having her first baby.
I went to a place called, I believe, “Babies Is Here” or something like that. Apparently grammar is not a strong point in the prenatal mercantile trade.
My wife had thoughtfully provided me with a list of acceptable items. "I learned my lesson with 'The Skinner'", she'd said as she made out the list, referring to the hunting knife I had once sought to bestow upon a friend as a Bon Voyage present.
Holding my list I approached the young lady behind the counter and said, “I’m looking for a baby shower gift.”
“Is it for a boy or girl?” she asked.
“Well”, I smiled indulgently, “how would I know that? It hasn’t been born yet.”
“Oh”, she smiled even more indulgently, “they can tell”.
“Ah, yes”, I pontificated. “The wise and powerful gift of a women’s intuition…”
“Not intuition.” – the unexpressed epithet “stupid” hung in the air – “Sonogram.”
“Of course”, I said, as it were something I had known all along but only briefly forgotten. I repeated the word, as if savoring it's significance. “Sonogram." It sounded scientific, so I tried to cover my ignorance by adding, "I don't think they believe in that. They’re…” I tried to recall who it was that probably wouldn’t believe in science. “They’re Republicans.”
She warily bent down to study her computer terminal. "Is the mother-to-be registered?"
"Oh, she and the father-to-be both vote in every election." She paused and a heavy silence descended upon us. Finally I spoke up. "Primary and general," I explained.
"I mean is she registered for baby gifts?"
Clearly I was out of my league, now. I understood registering your car or registering your gun, even possibly registering your hunting knife if you were allowed to have one, but registering your baby gifts seemed like a pretty blatant invasion of privacy.
But as I saw her hand begin to edge ever so slightly toward the red security phone on the edge of the counter I determined that this was not the right time to get into that discussion.
I handed her my list. "Just anything on there will be fine," I said.
I ended up with a baby bottle warmer, a couple of hooded bath towels - one pink and one blue - and a monitoring device which would allow the parents to listen in on any private conversations their baby might have with other members of its cadre.
Might as well get used to it, kid. They've already registered your gifts.