Michael seized the gift and tore at it with youthful anticipation. Scraps of red wrapping paper flurried about like sparks on a grindstone. There was only one possible gift that was the same size and weight as the package he held. And in the deepest fiber of his being he knew with absolute certainty that he held a millennium falcon replica. But as the last bits of paper wafted to the ground he found himself staring at a birdhouse kit. He managed a weak, insincere smile to his mother, even as the sci-fi nerd inside him squeaked weakly, curled into a little ball and died with a hollow sigh. How, he thought, could ‘millennium falcon’ be interpreted as ‘birdhouse kit’?
And so Christmas passed, and New Year dashed into the headlights and was plowed over in an instant. And still the birdhouse kit sat on Michael’s desk, untouched. And with every day that passed, the boy’s wicked disdain for the gift increased, until he finally thought to construct a fake letter, addressed to Santa Claus, but aimed at his mother. He didn’t believe in Santa, of course, but that was the point; his mother had no inkling of that.
In anger he scribbled; with contempt he signed; until, at last, he (mock) sweetly and (mock) innocently asked his mother to proofread the letter. It read: “Dear Santa,
I am grateful beyond words for this birdhouse kit which I didn’t even deign to ask for. What hubris for me to dismiss it as too childish. Too elementary. Sure, the millennium falcon would have occupied my attention for hours keeping me from television and unsavory characters and such. But a birdhouse! What fun to construct! What warmth of heart for those poor homeless birds! Why should my concerns be any higher than theirs? I admit, I was a bit thrown by the Dollar General sticker on the bottom of the box, but I’m sure you can’t account for every decision your elves make. Thank them for me, will you?”