The Curse Of The Pocket Diary

Every Christmas, my family and I all struggle to respond to people who ask us what we want. Sooner or later we do come up with our own answers, but for my brother it’s a lot clearer what he doesn’t want than what he does. The title pretty much explains what that is – to him, a pocket diary is the most dreaded gift of all.

He turned 16 in July, and for many this is a milestone birthday, surely deserving of whatever present he or she wants. Perhaps it’s a state-of-the-art gadget, or a fashion item that’s so in this season? When it comes to asking for presents, I tend to let my imagination run wild even if I know I have no chance of getting some things. Louis, however, was being altogether more modest on this occasion (and that’s unusual, believe me). Quite simply, all he really wanted for his birthday was socks for his own drawer. Totally reasonable, don’t you think? Unfortunately, present purchase panic can set in all too easily, and so even these did not materialise come his big day. As he sat up in bed, tearing at the wrapping paper, his eyes all prepared to light up…a pocket diary was revealed before him, from Mum with love.

In a response to this gift that was oh-so 21st Century, he said – according to Mum herself – “why do I need a pocket diary when I’ve got an iPhone?” Part of me thinks he had a point, but upon seeing the diary I was a little jealous of it, because it obviously meant that he had a better social life than me and therefore a need for one. Nevertheless, Louis was not impressed and he hasn’t let us forget it. It’s clear that in future “pocket” and “diary” will become bywords in our house for any future present failure, and most certainly for Louis. As outraged as he was to be denied socks on his birthday, however, I should add that we don’t really ridicule Mum that much for it. If we do, it’s all completely in jest, thanks to her brilliant sense of humour (even if the jokes are at her expense, she’s never offended). I think she knows, though, that the pressure is on for all of us to up our game with what we give to each other this Christmas – I just need to buy Louis another pocket diary first! I’m sure he’ll get the joke, right?


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