Why do I do a men's gift guide every year? Because I am, so they tell me, a man, so I should know, right?
If you're not familiar, HomeGoods (an offshoot store of TJ Maxx), is a store both of our moms are obsessed with because they can buy mass-produced, "unique" decor on the cheap.
They love cutesy things, animal themes and things that are new but look old and quaint, and so this store is basically their mecca. Need a paper-towel holder with a rooster on it? Desperately seeking another nautically themed clock for the living room that no one is allowed to sit in? Puzzled as to where everyone else is getting all those cute wooden frames with laser-engraved phrases such as: "You are the sparkle in my snowflake"? You can find it all at HomeGoods.
If you aren't sure where your Aunt Linda bought you that earring holder shaped like a tree with an engraved trunk that says "Tend your garden," she probably got it at HomeGoods, where no tchotchke is complete without an inspirational quote, after all.We've become quite familiar with the inventory over the years, and so we've developed this short quiz to test YOUR knowledge! The answer key is at the bottom, but like my pleather photo album from Homegoods says, "The road to knowledge is paved with patience...." Or something.
In other words, Don't cheat!
1. Live. Laugh. Love.2. Every butterfly begins without wings.3. Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and your friends will call you a pussy.4. Growing, growing, gone.5. Margarita Zone: either take a swim or salt the rim!6. Open your heartspace, walk into the light.7. CRABS FOR SALE!8. Fly to the moon, but don’t tell anyone.9. Hippies use the back door.10. Horizons are forever.11. Always kiss me goodnight.
Answer key:1. Jackie: True, and it’s a gigantic wooden structure over the living room entrance. Every time Eliot visits my mom, he says it “in Oprah’s voice,” which is the BEST and I wish I could put an audio clip into this article.2. Eliot: False, but, like everything else on this list, I love to whisper these words from my gut, and also to imagine that scene in "Ever After" when someone (Drew Barrymore?) says “Just breathe,” which might be the single-most obnoxious, vapid statement to ever go from being mass-produced by The Nature Company’s “inspirational rock collection” to a big-screen fairy tale.3. Jackie: False, but my homemade Christmas present for my Dad next year is going to be awesome now. He can put it in his “office,” which looks like the unibomber’s headquarters with angel wallpaper border.4. Eliot: True-ish. My mom doesn’t remember where she got it (so...not Home Goods), but it is stitched into a little frame, which is cute. But, also, is it about dementia? Gardening?5. Jackie: False, but I am starting to think I should be working for Home Goods, because my mom would eat that shit up! Also something about Cosmopolitans, maybe a painted sign with stars and moons, and in Papyrus: “The only cosmos I like are the ones with cherries at the bottom!”6. Eliot: False. But those are two things that Oprah says. I mean, I think Oprah is brilliant, but I also think she suffers from such a steep Messiah Complex that allows her to believe we’re all supposed to replace the ideas of confidence with ridiculous buzzwords like “the light” and “heartspace.” “Be yourself” works just fine, O!7. Jackie: True! Outside hanging on the fence near the pool, along with about 78 starfish, buoys, and at least three peeing boys with their backs to you, looking mischievous. I get that this is supposed to be cute, like “Awww, we’re selling crabs because we’re a cute little ocean family just trying to make a buck in this crazy, two-horse New Jersey town.” However, it has also been the source of ENDLESS bad jokes from my dad, involving pulling fake microscopic crabs from inside of his bathing suit, to the horror of many a new friend/boyfriend.8. Eliot: False, but now you know how to finish that collage you were making for your pediatrician’s office.9. Jackie: Technically false, because it was my ex’s mom, but when I found out that these were REAL signs in the 60’s, my mind was blown. Not just because that seems unfair and illegal and mean even though I don’t exactly love hippies, but also because I am 14 years old, emotionally, and I like to read it as if it is a sentence from a Sexual Anthropology textbook and snort softly to myself. Or maybe it’s another one of those bumper stickers, like “Chefs do it HOT” or “Garbagemen like it DIRTY” or something. “Hippies use the back door.” You know how much hippies love anal penetration. (Is that garbage man one real?)10. Eliot: True. On the living room table.11. Jackie: True. Located directly above the toilet in my parent’s bathroom.