Writing, WordPress, Worship Of Popularity

‘Cause this was the proverbial “burr under the saddle” – here’s a link to a piece from a writer who deserves way more attention:

A Farewell To WordPress: https://alienorajt.wordpress.com/2014/09/06/different-blogsites-a-farewell/

~~~~~

I agree with the points that Ali has made so strongly I had to reblog her piece. Share! I’ve shared it. Gotta get those terms right.

(I’m not a big “reblogger”, it always seemed somewhat sycophantic to me)

There have been a few occasions since my return to WordPress last September when I’ve felt much the same as she. My set up and introduction scant months before exit, were too short and consumed with the whirlwind of staged drama of Peter the Poetic Predator trying to get me right back off to have an informed opinion.

(in those days, I didn’t follow much. I thought that having some sort of relationship to the blog author should exist before a “follow” was given and I didn’t want to look like a self-serving “like monkey”)

I don’t feel attacked for my opinions, thank goodness! My blog simply doesn’t generate enough interest that way. It is true though, I tailor what is written for “The Eclectic Poet”. I’ve noticed trends of likes and follows, how they drop off after publication of certain pieces and what falls absolutely flat here. Case in point: I have a decent number of followers but on posting that I’d just published a new ebook, only ten people liked the post. I am grateful for that but not one person offered a comment, not even of congratulations. Is WordPress not a writing forum?

(having to set up a separate blog in order to not be judged… I hate chopping off bits of myself but… there you are)

I do observe as Ali has pointed out, the popularity contest aspect of WordPress. I am less hurt by that than I am by the High School actions of some people here. The writing truly has become secondary and recently, I feel like it’s just a waste of time for me. I am painfully aware that the gossip of others has cost me likes, follows and worse; the potential respect and mentoring of writers that I admire on WordPress. Simply by virtue of a disingenuous person having bent their ear first.

(never mind that he orchestrated and manufactured my making my blog private for a year and browbeat me for having any writing available to the public eye!)

I’ve sometimes posted an apology for not getting round to visit and read. This is because I notice that if I don’t, my readership drops off. It would follow then, the content I produce is not the draw but merely the reciprocal “likes”. I don’t have much of an ego but I do know that I’m a good writer. Not great. Good. I was published at twenty. I love what I do and I love to share it. Of course, I want validation from fellow writers. The fact is, writing can only ever be a hobby for me. WordPress (and associated social media) is a full time job for which I do not have the cycles.

(I often write on sticky notes or meeting minutes whilst at the job that feeds me)

I want my writing respected because I make the effort from a very busy real world and what I put here has a lot of thought and care in it. I don’t post everything I write because some of it IS wretched shite! Therein lays the rub…

(of course there’s a rub, I’m always whinging lately it seems)

Here’s what it is:
I work full-time for the Federal Government. In health care; for the most disadvantaged segment of Canadian society – my people. We are something of an “essential service”. Only dismemberment might be adequate reason to call in absent and even then, you might be told to gather up your severed limb and get your arse to work! I will be taking a part-time job to make ends meet. This to better facilitate having Yule / Christmas with my children. The last two of those having been hijacked and decimated by Peter the Poetic Predator. I have a home with a garden to look after. A joy but also work. I have parents, grandparents and other extended family to spend time with. I have a home business to design, write and publish for and once in a blue moon, if PTSD will allow, I may go out with my best friend to musical events. When I am not doing those things, I knit, crochet and write for my hobbies. WordPress fits in there. I barely have time to write let alone be on here reading and liking, chatting and following. I make the effort to do so because I care. If I miss someone’s last week’s worth of posts, it’s likely because I’ve not got on to my Reader. I do all of this with M.E. – myalgic encephalomyelitis, the lesser-known, ugly autoimmune stepsister of Lupus and M.S. I don’t post about that much because I don’t want it to define me or my writing. I will say it is chronic, progressive and I will die of complications from it. It should also be known that this disease does not lead to me shooting off my mouth in public, expecting special treatment or exemption from being a decent human. No disease does.

(if you thought I was “wordy” before…)

It’s disheartening to notice that after even a brief absence, some people no longer swing by with even a like, let alone a comment but in truth, I’ve become accustomed to that. It irks me but I know to expect it. For me, the worst part of WordPress are those visits that are purely from “Ambulance Chasers”, that subset of WP users who (possibly, probably even talented) are here as much for the social – the shit end of social – as they are for reading and writing. The gossip, the innuendo, the sniping and backbiting.

(calling you out right now – y’all suck – and you probably read The Enquirer)

I write. I write some not bad stuff that goes virtually ignored and yet, let someone mention me or my location in a snipey poem, post or “behind the wall” communication and my stats explode! It doesn’t take a statistician or a Private Eye to see the paths, trends and poop. I know. Peter the Poetic Predator, left a poetical calling card on your blog or a beautifully worded comment on your “About”. That didn’t make him a poet; it made him popular. Popular folk seem to be able to drive the sheepy masses with this type of post and it speaks volumes to the integrity of some folk and to the pointlessness of using WordPress as a legitimate writer. Popular people are not nicer, smarter, more talented or honest. They are popular.

(Invitation still stands, questions don’t frighten me. Ignorance does)

Popular bloggers seem able to say and do whatever they want and with that they gain and maintain followers and momentum. PP once laughed and said to me he could write a poem about “taking a shit” and the women who followed him would fall all over it.  I laughed and agreed – he wrote some wretchedly putrid crap. Good thing he had that opposable thumb for copy and pasting non-shit. Meanwhile, decent writers are ignored. It’s utterly nonsensical and as I said way back at the top there, so high school. I know who the Mean Girls are. I know why you ignore my writing but slither over here any time you think you’ll see a train wreck. FYI: I don’t indulge in public sniping. I do present facts that are intended to correct a wrong. If you aren’t going to read what I say, then stay the hell away. I’m not afraid of stats anymore. I had a “human” decimate my life and humans and their lunacy is the only thing I fear. I don’t care about public temper tantrums or immature individuals who have the ability to type. I don’t care about people who are willfully blind and too stupid to ask questions before judging a complete stranger.

I’m here to write poetry, tell stories of the fictional and non-fictional variety and that is it. I have the love and respect of real people in the 3D world. If you won’t like or follow me because of someone else’ gossip, it’s your loss. I have something worthwhile to say and I agree wholeheartedly with what Ali has said in her post regarding the current state of the WP community.

(Much better written, a few different points and in fewer words than I. So go read her post!)

A Farewell To WordPress: https://alienorajt.wordpress.com/2014/09/06/different-blogsites-a-farewell/

~ kei
6 September 20

So, Here’s The Funny

When one of my best friends, Roz says that, we all lean in a little closer. It’s usually the cue for a hysterically funny end to a long and involved story that she’s been telling.

My long and involved story is of course, my life and times with The Poetic Predator. A “man” – and I use that term grudgingly and with no intended insult to functional, adult males of the human species – that targeted me with the express purpose of stealing from me every human emotion that he could to shore up his puny, dysfunctional, Narcissist ego.

There are so many anecdotes from the almost two-year long “relationship” that make for a good story. In the early days, one of the best is how he would often tell me about his dream for us. How he wanted to leave the “backward” town he lived in and move here to continue with his writing and to share that with me. We were going to open a bookstore / coffee shop / knitting store .

I guess some might say that me believing him is one of the funniest bits but then, a lot of people still believe he’s a writer and a great guy. They were never exposed to his rage and endless stream of abusive emails, texts and telephone calls. They never saw the fake profiles that he used on Tumblr, WordPress and Facebook – including those he created to pretend to be his own children –  to shore up his stories to me. They never saw / choose not to see, his blatant stealing of other writer’s work.

I did believe for a long time. I initially ignored the niggles of doubt and I ignored the concerns of my best friend and even when I finally began to ask questions; there was always an excuse that he made palatable, if not believable. If that didn’t work, he’d begin an endless stream of abuse, create a fake surgery, or some other drama to draw attention away from the question at hand.

Back to the coffee shop.

At the time, I had no reason to doubt most of what he said. There’d been the first introduction into my world of female stalkers on the internet and I’d been enlisted (Gaslighted) to help him with that. One in particular (we’ll call her “The Other Woman” or TOW because this is the role he cast her in), kept showing up but after several episodes of her stalking, defaming and slandering – his words – he’d initiated a lawsuit against her and two others. He’d had me block her from my social media and from his Facebook poetry page, he’d blocked her from his Facebook profile – the one I knew about. His “daughter”, and “the teachers”: “Natasha” and “Sharon” were all sufficiently chastised for keeping his Facebook Page alive behind his back. We had one of those four to six days of calm in between dramas that eventually showed up as a pattern and were in a brief “Honeymoon” stage again.

And so… the coffee shop.

I used to draw a lot and paint a little. I wanted to give The Poetic Predator (PP for the rest of this story) something to encourage him, a tangible of his dream to hang onto and mark a new beginning for us. He’d been so put upon with recent events and don’t lets forget, his horrible late wife who was unfaithful when he was overseas fighting for his country, moved another man into his home to do so. She was spoiled, wouldn’t work, spent to point of bankruptcy and didn’t want their second child and wouldn’t feed said child when he made his appearance. None of this is true incidentally, except for the part about me. There is no record of PP having ever served with the army and apparently, his spouse was still alive and kicking at this point, though where remains a mystery to this day.

As a gift to buoy his spirits I designed, sketched then commissioned, a painting for him. I pulled in the elements that he and I had often talked about, his pets, his clothing style, even his dog tags (you can get those on Ebay, by the by). I added a catchy little name for our some day coffee shop / book store venture and then sent the works off to a friend and wonderful artist for the painting bit. It’s not an accident that it’s painted in the same style as the banner for my other blog. That work is a caricature of me that Cynthia painted for me several years ago. She brought this new piece to life so well, even to the shop front. I’d sent pictures of downtown Muncie to her so she could capture that flavour.

Poetic Painting v one

I KNOW, right?!

When it was done, I was happy and excited, Cynthia too, as she’d heard the reasons for the commission and she posted it to him. The day it arrived, he was so thrilled. He called me on the collar (err, phone) that he’d given me as I was coming home from work. He wanted to open it with me – so cute – ahem, barf. He was so touched, he was crying (he could turn on tears at the drop of pants). “you,,,make me cry..Karin this means more than anything..I love you baby..Karin I’m so moved by this” (sic)
He went on with how no one had ever done anything like this for him and “Baby, it’s beautiful, our dream”. He sent a photo of himself with the painting, apologizing for the tears. He was so overcome with emotion. The painting went on his living room wall and can be seen in many of the photos that he sent to me (and god knows who else subsequently). I was so happy that he was happy. I’d poured so much effort into this gift, one that I believed to be so thoughtful and meaningful. Little did I know that the only thing that ever moved him are his bowels.

I can hear the bated breath! 😉

A short time later, I used the picture of PP with the painting in a post to mark the publication of his first non-digital book. It went up on my Facebook page with a poem and a slightly mushy blurb about dreams coming true, tra-la, tra-la, to my co-Admin, PP. (Why yes! Yes he did have access to post at will there once upon a time.) What a shit storm that caused! The post was reported – ostensibly by one of the crazy female stalkers and there were so many at this point, I could have thrown said book and hit two of them! Kidding. Only a little – reported not once but twice and precipitously removed by the FB drones. I could not understand how anyone could take an exception to the post and put it up one last time with reference to my rights to it and took a screenshot of the last (I’m tenacious!) one in the event that it was reported again. I note the date: the 2nd report was on my wedding anniversary. Narc liked to jack special events like Grandmother’s birthdays, holidays, pretty much anything that’d take the spotlight off of him (even though I’d been separated over a year at this point, he liked to rub it in when he was raging).


Fuckhead Reported Painting 2014-03-23 at 12.59.47 PM

Fast forward to January of 2014. TOW contacted me. Bless her for her bravery. For as it turns out, she’d been sold a similar bill-of-goods about me and my actions. She and I established a truce that eventually became a friendship. Both of us have found peace and some solace in being able to fill in the blanks of the worlds that the Narc created for us. One of those was about “The Painting”. Here’s what was happening on the other side of the wall.

Within days of having received my gift, he contact TOW and told her that he’d commissioned this lovely painting of himself to represent the dream that THEY had of someday living and working together!!! Imagine her shock and hurt to see the same photo appear on MY Facebook page along with my deeply personal, though professional message of encouragement!!

We two girls damn near fell out!

She conveyed to me how she had often been hurt by some of the more personal things that myself AND my co-Admin had shared there and this time, she had torn a large strip off his arse, wondering what chicanery I was up to now and why did he allow me to post these terrible lies?! He responded predictably with blowing smoke up her arse and blaming me, as TOW had threatened to leave him. It was at this time that the post was mysteriously reported and yanked by Facebook.

TOW and I put the missing bits together and concur that Narc most likely reported the post HIMSELF to shore up his flimsy story to her. This must have killed him, considering the huge volume of comments and compliments that were placed there. Conversely, when I was understandably very upset about the reports (and the loss of my poem, which didn’t exist anywhere else) he attributed the report to one of the crazy women who was stalking him and jealous of me. Neat trick right? Poetic Predator was a whiz at orchestrating “twofers”. Make one look crazy and placate / enlist the other..

Where the hell is the funny? Right?!

My painting. My copyrights. My wonderfully talented friend redoing the image to reflect the current state of affairs. Narc-hole and I wrote three books together. Wait for it – not one, not two but three! – I like that phrasing. One of many other things that I’ve discovered along the way is evidence of his lack of concern regarding posting work as his own that other people have written. Thankfully, I had control over the online versions and removed them from publication. As mentioned in a previous post, I’ve edited those to remove the Arse-issist’s work and am now happy to let you know that:

KB Book Cover

“Remains Of The Prey” by Karin Bole Tupper is available for purchase at Smashwords, Amazon and other fine ebook retailers. The hardcopy edition will follow shortly.

One of my favourite quotes is “The best revenge is living well”.
Personally, I never wanted revenge, I leave that to Karma.
Justice though would be epic.

I’m A Mocker

Daily Prompt: New Sensation

From “A Hard Day’s Night” with The Beatles, 1964
Reporter: Are you a mod or a rocker? Ringo: Um, no. I’m a mocker.

I’m all over that! Jump on that bandwagon! Gotta get me some of that! I LOVE your hair, where do you go?
Fads, trends, we all subscribe or fall victim, as the case may be, to some form of them at some point in our life.
Fashion fads are easy for people around us to attack, they’re right there for anyone to see and judge. Does anyone else feel the irony of the blatant disregard for the golden rule of “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? We all of us do just that every day though, don’t we? I’m often tempted, when a stranger offers their opinion on my appearance to ask, “Are you this rude and judgemental with every stranger you meet or am I a special case?”
Trends serve a useful purpose. Yes. Yes, they do. In our teen years, in particular, when we are striving to find a place for ourselves outside the safe boundaries of family and close community. Being part of an identifiable group – usually identifiable by the clothes they wear – is a safe way to push those boundaries a little, while still feeling as part of a whole.
I’ve always believed that it’s important to respect the choices about appearance that others make. We don’t judge a person’s intellect, ambition or dependability based upon their choice of vehicle. Why do that based upon their outward appearance? This is not to say that certain professions and industries should not be allowed to establish their own dress codes. I don’t expect the world to bend for me. I do expect to not be marginalized or disrespected because I wear my hair differently than the majority.
The world can’t spend so much time nurturing and developing individuality in its children, only to quash it at the moment that our kid comes home with a blue Mohawk. Talk about a mixed message! See reference to “the golden rule” above. What is the worst that can happen? Your son has his nosed pierced at his high school graduation? If that’s the focus, you’ve missed the point. Your child is graduating! As a parent, I drew the line for certain types of fashion and adornment. I explained my position and was open to discussion and debate, as it came up. For the most part, this was respected and worked very well.
My own trend following actually is part of who I am. Like my taste in music, it hasn’t altered much over the years. I grew and matured, have held highly professional jobs. At the same time, I was able to preserve the uniqueness – fad, if you will – of me. I’ve grown to call this “playing the game” and it helps me to maintain a definition of myself that I like and yet to fit in amongst folk who are inclined to forget that they too, have and do follow fads. I don’t see anyone still wearing culottes or fedoras and so…
The most denigrated fads and trends these days are still tattooing and piercing. It should be pointed out that tattooing, with its lengthy history among many cultures and eras, can hardly be called a fad. In the Twenties, many (many) respectable women were having tattoos done. Like other “Power Periods” for women, the Forties, the Eighties; fashion extremes reflected a power shift. The Twenties is the time where colourful nail polish was born. There are countless examples of how fashion, body adornment, music, even makeup styles have been created and recreated. You’ve seen the eyebrows of the mid-two thousands, right?
The real question posed by today’s prompt was what trends did you follow? I grew up in a very fluid time for these things and as an adult, I embrace many still. If you ask me the name of my social tribe, I am a “Punk Rocker”. The grandmother of Romantic, Goth, Emo, et al. I’m pretty sure that my high top Cons and Ramones tee shirts were a little disconcerting to the rest of the PTA but I “played the game”. I no longer sport all the outward accoutrements but much of it, like the music is still very much a part of who I am.
Fad? Don’t think so. We’re going on thirty years with this particular style. We gather likeminded people, there are no “Posers”. Am I a poser because I like my Dad’s Led Zeppelin or my Mum’s Queen? Not even a little bit. Fads are pokemon cards and crazy bones. Style; whatever that may be for you, is simply a nod to one small piece of many that can connect us to each other.
~ kei
20 February 2014 (Oops! I wrote an essay)

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/daily-prompt-new-sensation/

Cons and Pointes

tatoos-and-the-workplace

The Gift Of The Magi

My favourite Christmas story. Unconditional, unselfish love…

Della sells her hair.

Della sells her hair.

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.

While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.

In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name “Mr. James Dillingham Young.”

The “Dillingham” had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called “Jim” and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.

Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn’t go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling–something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.

There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art.

Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.

Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim’s gold watch that had been his father’s and his grandfather’s. The other was Della’s hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty’s jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.

So now Della’s beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.

On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.

Where she stopped the sign read: “Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds.” One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the “Sofronie.”

“Will you buy my hair?” asked Della.

“I buy hair,” said Madame. “Take yer hat off and let’s have a sight at the looks of it.”

Down rippled the brown cascade.

“Twenty dollars,” said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.

“Give it to me quick,” said Della.

Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim’s present.

She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation–as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim’s. It was like him. Quietness and value–the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.

When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends–a mammoth task.

Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.

“If Jim doesn’t kill me,” she said to herself, “before he takes a second look at me, he’ll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do–oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty- seven cents?”

At 7 o’clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.

Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: “Please God, make him think I am still pretty.”

The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two–and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.

Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.

Della wriggled off the table and went for him.

“Jim, darling,” she cried, “don’t look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn’t have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It’ll grow out again–you won’t mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say `Merry Christmas!’ Jim, and let’s be happy. You don’t know what a nice– what a beautiful, nice gift I’ve got for you.”

“You’ve cut off your hair?” asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.

“Cut it off and sold it,” said Della. “Don’t you like me just as well, anyhow? I’m me without my hair, ain’t I?”

Jim looked about the room curiously.

“You say your hair is gone?” he said, with an air almost of idiocy.

“You needn’t look for it,” said Della. “It’s sold, I tell you–sold and gone, too. It’s Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered,” she went on with sudden serious sweetness, “but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?”

Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year–what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.

Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.

“Don’t make any mistake, Dell,” he said, “about me. I don’t think there’s anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you’ll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first.”

White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.

For there lay The Combs–the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims–just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.

But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: “My hair grows so fast, Jim!”

And them Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, “Oh, oh!”

Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.

“Isn’t it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You’ll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it.”

Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled.

“Dell,” said he, “let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep ’em a while. They’re too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on.”

~ The magi, as you know, were wise men–wonderfully wise men–who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi. ~

~ O. Henry