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Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Birdhouse Stick Thing

A couple of years ago, I left a job, and some farewell drinks were organised for me in the boardroom.
My boss had also, bless 'er, passed a hat 'round to gather funds for a farewell present, and popped out in the afternoon to purchase a token of her respect and appreciation.

At 5pm on my last day, we all gathered for many, many drinks, and my boss presented me with my parting gift.

I don't want to sound ungrateful, but… but… bloody hell. As I was receiving the gift, I looked around the room, and everyone's face had an "I gave you money for THIS?!" expression on it.

The gift, made from rough-hewn sticks, seemingly from the seconds department of a discount store in a third-world country, was – well, a big stick on a stand. The stick had three 'branches', at the end of which were little 'nests', inside which were little potted succulent plants.

Okay – I do really enjoy succulent plants. Tick. However, the bit that I really, REALLY didn't understand was that at the top of the branched rough-hewn stick thing was a little birdhouse. A birdhouse.

As the gift was quite bulky and I was heading out for more drinks, my boss, who in the course of her business dealings would be visiting my new place of work on a weekly basis, promised to bring the Birdhouse Stick Thing to my new office. Because making friends at a new job is hard enough.

SIX MONTHS LATER the Birdhouse Stick Thing arrived. All the plants were dead. One was rotting, and another one had a spiderweb on it. My new boss walked past my desk, stopped, did a double-take, and said in her sweet Scottish accent "No. No. That's wrong". Everyone else who walked past my desk said "What. The Fuck. Is That?"

I didn't want to throw it out or burn it (well, I did, but it would be impolite), and I certainly didn't want it in my house, so I was a bit stuck. I ended up following the only option available to me – I threw the plants in the bin, bought some stuffed-toy birds for the nests and birdhouse, and decided to seasonally decorate the Birdhouse Stick Thing for my workmates to enjoy.

My favourites are below. Because, when it really comes down to it, it was a shit, shit present.

Commemorating Anzac Day:

Commemorating Easter:

Commemorating my holiday to Fiji:

Commemorating Christmas:

And my favourite, commemorating the Michael Jackson verdict:


redcap said...

Wow. And I thought the life-size resin eagle my other half's father bought him for a birthday present was the shitest present in the history of shit presents.

The Michael Jackson verdict commemoration cracked me up, though. I love the fact that he's dangling the baby from one of the nests >:)

shellity said...

A life-sized resin eagle sounds just as bad as the small plaster statue of Bruce Lee that my hubby got for Christmas from his brother and sister-in-law, otherwise known as the Worst Present Buyers in Sydney. They were kind enough to buy me a plastic drink tray with pictures of naked men on it last year. Mmmm. Classy.

But about the Birdhouse Stick Thing: the tasteless yet beautifully presented 'bird on the cross' representing Easter will always be my favourite, I think. And yes, I am greasing the slippery-dip to Hell...

nick cetacean said...

Is it a bird on the cross? Or a troll? Either way I hope they managed to redeem humanity...

I especially like the three wise orange chickens who have brought gifts to the birth of the christ-child-thing...

My worst present is any present I've received my wife's sydney relatives. While they're happy to lavish a reasonable amount of money on the kids, they choose my present according to the following criteria:

(1) Must not plan ahead or attend the sales of kind (ie, must be purchased one or two days before Xmas)
(2) Must not cost more than $1.37
(3) Must be purchased with flagrant disregared for what little they know about me.

I feel like begging them not to buy me a gift -- but really, it's christmas...

Jo said...

Redcap - any present preceded by the words "life-size" and "resin" is always going to be shit. In like, a glorious, life-affirming way.

Shellity - you've been holding out on the naked tray. I must be shown.

Nick - as IF a troll would redeem humanity. FAR more likely to be a stuffed yellow bird. As you know all too well, trolls are only good for letting billy-goats across bridges. Sometimes.

PetStarr said...


redcap said...

Ha! I've had more shite presents from the outlaws than you guys have had hot dinners! I bring forth exhibits A through zedettyzedzedzed:

* Resin tortoise with tortoise-child on its back.
* "Lord of the Canyon" Franklin Mint plate.
* "Praying Jesus" Franklin Mint plate (I'm an aethesist and they know it).
* Snowman tealight holder/Christmas decoration (Christmas present, clearly bought at post-Christmas sales).
* Mini photo album decorated with Russian mythological figures.
* Fondue set.
* Box of 24 Reject Shop mugs.
* (2X) towelling thing with a piece of elastic that was "a susprise" and "an apron" at the same time.
* Etched glass zodiac paperweights - one for him on his birthday, one for me on mine. Just $2.99 each!
* Embroidered, sequinny, satiny, cordedy, cream cushions.
* More Hawaiian/bad taste/Ed Harry shits - sorry, shirts - than you could poke a shit - sorry, stick - at.

I could go on, but the life-size resin eagle really did take the proverbial biscuit. My bestie was present when the box was opened and five years later, she's still dining out on the look on my face.

Jo said...

Redcap, I mean this in the nicest, nicest way, but - you appear to be the High Priestess of Crap Accumulation.
What message are you sending to these people?

redcap said...

Hey man - I'm not saying I've kept this crap! Most of it got the ol' heave-ho as soon as we got home. But the eagle, for some cunting reason, has proved more difficult to remove from the premises...

As for signals, when The Tasteless Ones are out purchasing "gifts", do you really think signals make a crap-crumb of difference? Sweet Ford, no. How many times do you think I've said, "No, no, no - don't buy us presents. We don't need anything!" or "Alcohol. Buy us alcohol." Many, many times. But. None. Of. It. Works. X-0

Marcheline said...

For a wedding present, I received a small box of tiny porcelain Santa Claus heads. It was a September wedding.

That notwithstanding, I think I love you. Will you marry me too?

- M

Jo said...

Only if one of the presents is a small box of tiny Santa Clause bodies.