Wednesday, December 24, 2008

White elephant gift exchange

(How did it come to be called that, anyway?)

Well, our lab Christmas party included such an exchange and I came away with a tiny LED light that plugs into a USB port. That may seem like just the sort of unitasker this site warns against, but I like it. It's perfect for laptopping with the lights off, because I can't see the keyboard very well in such conditions. And when do I ever use my laptop with the lights off? Why, when I want to enjoy the Christmas lights on my balcony! Here's my new toy in action:




So these gift exchanges can turn out well. But at Rachel's party the specific instructions were, "Bring something that nobody would ever want, ever." And I noticed that one of the packages was huge, very tall and wide.

I have this problem at restaurants sometimes where I order the weirdest thing on the menu just because I'm curious. It nearly always turns out to be bad. Well, my turn to open a present came, and I was curious. I wanted to know what was in the huge package, and I was afraid it might not get chosen (there were more presents than players.) So I picked it. And it was...



A broken fan!

How am I even going to fit that thing in my car? I wondered.

So watch yourself at those white elephant gift exchanges. Few know the horror that innocent-sounding game can produce.

2 comments:

JimAroo said...

white elephant 1851, from supposed custom of the King of Siam in showing his disfavor of a courtier by giving him care of one of the sacred albino elephants, a high honor, but ruinously expensive

From my favorite etymology site:

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?l=w&p=6

Rachel Gray said...

Cool! I want to check out that website now.