As far back as I can remember, my Uncle David has always sent me a box of trash on my birthday.
To be fair, it’s not so much “trash” as it is items that might be leftover from a garage sale. You might then take these items to a charity, where they’d kindly be denied. They’d become trash when you stop by a dumpster on the way home.
Last year’s box contained a genie lamp, an ‘88 class ring, and inflatable globe. The box from the year before that contained a Hustler DVD, self-tanner, and cake knife. And the box from the year before that contained a CD of Timeless Jewish Songs, and my favorite, a masturbating monkey pin.
Basically, it works like this – throughout the year, anything Uncle David has handpicked, hoarded, or considered throwing into the trash ends up in the box. Mostly the last one.
This past week, two overpacked cardboard boxes arrived at my doorstep, both addressed to “Alex Mann, Esq.” (I’m not a lawyer.) My birthday is soon, so I knew what they were. I drag the boxes into my apartment, tear them open, and lay out the items.
The first thing I notice is there are considerably more items than previous years – almost 100, compared to the usual 20-30. This took some serious scavenging and packing. With all that free time, I consider telling Uncle David he needs to find a hobby, but then realize he already has one.
The second thing I notice is the item on the top left. It’s the biggest, heaviest thing Uncle David has ever sent me. The note on it reads, “I can honestly say this is the most unique and unexpected gift of all time.”
I decide to save it for last.
Where do I start? The item with a Canadian two dollar coin taped to it seems like a good enough choice.
“This has a theime.” I’m intrigued by what this “theime” might be. I tear off the wrapping paper and find…
A rawhide drum with a penis drawn on it! I figured out the “thieme.” I think.
Next, I open the package that reads, “vintage sweet!!”
An old Hershey’s chocolate bar, perhaps?
Almost. It’s a broken 4th generation iPod. Man, I wanted one of these like ten Hanukkahs ago.
The next item has an Elvis reference on it.
I open it and find…
Three packs of Elvis Presley trading cards, and one Uncle David trading card.
Next, I go for the item that promises “lots o sac’s,” which seems on “theime.”
I tear off the wrapping paper and find…
Lots ‘o sacks, literally, inside a Dave & Buster’s mug. I wonder how many games of Big Buck Hunter Uncle David had to win to get it.
The next item promises to be useful for my dating life.
I open it and find…
Anchor earrings! Cool. Thanks, Uncle David. Really thoughtful. I’d say more but I’m too busy having sex with the girl I gave them to.
Uncle David was feeling generous with the next one.
Thank you for making my friends a part of this journey.
Three American flag dog tags?! Wow. I’m definitely keeping all three for myself. Sorry, friends.
I’m ready for this box to pay off, so I decide to open the item that promises to be not just “collectable,” but “very collectable.”
I tear it open and find…
Not one, but several “Class of 97” pins. I’m going to start wearing one to commemorate the year I graduated third grade.
The next item hints at Uncle David’s nostalgia.
I open it and find…
A container that says “hey buddy” with a picture of a random bald guy. He seems chill.
Other highlights from this year’s box include:
A can of Captain Kim’s tuna that I definitely won’t eat.
A “Merry Christmas Grandma” card, perfect for the grandma who celebrates Christmas that I don’t have.
A Christmas card for me, too.
Virginia “Ginny” Hronek’s real estate calendar, which Uncle David uses to remember my birthday.
Motivational temporary tattoos. !emosewA
A collectable Indiana Jones spoon.
In case you’re wondering – yes, it lights up.
The severed head of Austin Powers.
The non-severed head of Austin Powers.
Another pack of Elvis Presley trading cards, stickers, and a Bill Clinton audiobook, read by the author.
By the time I opened everything, my trash can was filled with tape and wrapping paper. But there was one item left. The last item, which in Uncle David’s words, promised to be “the most unique and unexpected gift of all time.”
I hesitate to open it. Doing so will mark the end of another year, the end of another birthday, the end of another Uncle David’s box of trash.
I consider not unwrapping it, and leaving the item somewhere in my apartment as a reminder of my unique bond with Uncle David and the mystery that comes with each year’s box.
Okay, I don’t actually consider doing this. I tear off the wrapping paper and find…
A giant ear! This is great. The next time an ear doctor tries to explain something to me, I’ll just be like, “Dude, I know.”
Uncle David’s box of trash is the best part of my birthday, and proof that things that belong in a dumpster can be the most meaningful of all.
Thank you, Uncle David. Thank you very much.