Wagner Writer

I was talking with a friend the other day about the Scorpion Underwear incident. If you’re scratching your head, check out another blog post dedicated to the experience.

As we were chatting, he said, “That’s gotta be the weirdest thing you ever got.”

Now that gave me pause (look at me writing all fancy). We spend tons of time thinking about the amazing gifts we receive (Hellooooo E-Z Bake Oven!). Well, I thought it was time to dedicated some time to share the worst things I’ve been given:

1. Scorpion undies!

I’m not going to go into this one as there’s an entire post dedicated to the scorpion undies, but it has to be on the list. Even if it wasn’t a Christmas present. No “bizarre gift” list will ever be complete without scorpion-iron-on-the-crotch underwear.

Scorpion Undies

2. A container to hold weed…

I took acting lessons several years back from an amazing woman who was also a bit…well, if there’s a real-life version of Phoebe from Friends, it was this woman. She was zany and wacky and just kind of out there.

One day, just before Christmas, we were practicing a monologue when she stopped. “Before I forget, I got you a gift!”

I looked around as if she was talking to someone else. When I realized it was me, I then did the thing where I stared at my shoes all sheepish, thinking, Well this is awkward cuz I got you squat.

As I was mentally rummaging through my car to see if there might be a passable present inside (maybe an oil change receipt or windshield wiper blades?), she pulled out a small gift and handed it to me. I smiled graciously at her and tore it open.

Inside was a teensy tiny ceramic container with a lid. Let me tell you, this thing was small. I opened the lid and looked inside, thinking, I couldn’t even put cough drops in here. Why cough drops? I have no idea. My mind just went there.

Anyway, after many confused seconds, I realized I was being rude. Blushing, I looked back at my teacher. “This is…really…yeah. This is neat! Sorry, I’m just trying to think of all the things I can store in here!”

She smiled. “I just figured, knowing you, you’d really use it.”

I had zero idea what she meant but said, “Totally!” Then we got back to work.

Later, I was showing the container to a more worldly friend. The second he saw it, he busted out laughing. “Dude, you store pot in that!”


“Yes. It’s for pot.”

That immediately made me think back to her saying, Knowing you, you’d really use it. For some reason, my acting teacher thought I was a pot head???

I have absolutely NO idea where she got that from. I don’t judge pot smokers at all. But, other than a time in college, I’ve never smoked. Hell, I’ve never even smoked cigarettes.

Like I said, she was definitely a Phoebe. Or maybe a Phoebo. Or a Regina Phalange.

3. A used (and broken) candle in a used (and torn) gift bag.

I threw a Christmas party several years ago. There was a “no gifts, please” rule to the party (it was for getting together, not receiving gifts). However, a few people brought stuff, anyway. I didn’t want to make the party about gifts, so I was going to put them away until everyone left. Then people started insisting that I open them in front of everyone.

Obliging, I sat down and pulled the gifts closer. Most of them escape my memory, but I think I received a t-shirt and some wine. Finally, I reached the last package, a gift bag, and lifted it up. Suddenly, the item inside dumped out onto the table. I chirped in surprise, thinking I’d done something wrong. A few people snickered. Confused, I turned the bag over. The thing had a huge tear in the bottom. Not only that, someone’s name had been written and scratched out – right on the side of the bag!

Not wanting to embarrass anyone, I mumbled, “Sorry! I accidentally ripped it!” Then, trying to divert everyone’s attention from the shredded bag, I grabbed for the present. It was a candle. Much better! Smiling, I said, “Yum!” and leaned forward to smell it. That’s when I noticed the wick was black! Someone had already burned it! Tilting it back, I also saw a crack in the glass.

In hindsight, I’m trying to think what went through the giver’s head putting that together. Was he like, “He’ll never notice the torn bag or the half-used product!”

4. A plastic pigeon.

My brother-in-law is a game warden and hunter. I’m not sure which part (wardening or hunting) this had to do with, but I opened the following one Christmas:


5. A half-eaten box of Frosted Mini-Wheats.

Our Grandmother always sent us massive boxes for Christmas. They were filled with random delights: clothes, toys she thought we’d like, and things for Mom. We soon realized she also used the box to get rid of items she didn’t want anymore.

One year when “The Box” arrived, we all gathered around, excited. Mom sliced the tape and threw open the lid. A couple of Mr. Potato Heads sat on top. Cool! Around them were shoe boxes. Cool! And under that were some boxes of cereal.

Less cool…

Mom frowned and pulled one out. Frosted Mini-Wheats.

“Grammy got us cereal?” I asked, grabbing for the box.

Mom stifled a laugh. “Well, she knows you kids eat a ton.”

“Oh.” I turned the box around to see the back when it turned over. Cereal fell out all over the floor.

My sister jumped back, shrieking. “It’s already open!”

Yep, it had been opened. We’d received a box of used cereal.

And not only was it open, it was full of boll weevils. We didn’t realize that until they infested our cupboards and we had to throw everything away.

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