Alden Boon

How to Buy Presents for People You’re Only Pretending to Like


Christmas is upon us, and that means it is time to make nice with people that have royally pissed us off. Or at least we should pretend to do so, if we want to get more presents. While we cannot weasel our way out of buying gifts for people we are only pretending to like — because the office’s party committee says so  — we can still make their lives miserable.

For the fashionista, go for the Achilles’ heel

Whereas most of us go for whatever is off the rack, fashionistas have their outfits tailor-made. That means they know their vital statistics better than they know their idiosyncrasies and annoying habits. Their vital statistics are their lottery numbers. They are consumed with their vital statistics, and when they gain half an inch they go into a downward spiral. Make a bespoke suit or blouse, and have it be a size bigger, so that they will forever question the disparity between how they think they look and how others actually think they look.

Bluff the fitness buff

Each and every one of us knows someone who is a fitness snob. He or she humble-brags on Facebook about completing a ten-kilometre run but taking twenty minutes longer than usual, only because he was toughing it out with plantar fasciitis. Gift the fitness rat with a cheap fitness smartband. He will get erratic Big Data — he thinks he has walked one hundred thousand steps a day but the number actually includes mileage clocked while driving, or the number of times he raised his hand.

Ground the traveller

The traveller seems to have all the money in the world to see, well, the world. The single greatest fear of the traveller is the fear of missing out. Yes, getting to visit 40 countries in a financial year is impressive, having a boyfriend in every airport even more so, but how much is she absorbing? One or two days of sojourning in a city does not a cultured person make. Get the traveller a city guide or a foreign-language dictionary to let her know just how much she is missing out and how little she really knows of the country she claims to love so much.

Spoil the magic for movie lovers

Movie lovers live in their own bubbles. They spend their days fantasising about slaying dragons or saving the world. Do not get me started on vanilla Disney fans. “Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon?” The answer would be no; the true story of Pocahontas is tragic, one of sexual assault, kidnap and murder. Whittle the movie lovers’ passion by getting them behind-the-scenes film books so they can see how the mythical scaly dragon they are so in awe of is actually fashioned out of a green-screen broom; how Darth Vader requires the use of a lint remover; how Jack and Rose were drowning in an inflatable pool; and Voldemort with a nose bridge. For the Disney fans, get them the collection of unvarnished stories as written by the authors. Childhood destroyed.

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Alden Boon
Alden Boon is a Quarter-finalist in PAGE International Screenwriting Awards. When he's not busy writing, he pretends he is Gandalf.

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