My birthday is coming up this weekend, and I have no idea what I’m getting for a present.

The problem is, neither does my wife.

I’m not very good at getting her a list of my wants, or even at dropping hints.

In her words, I’m just a pain in the tush to buy for, as she told me this week.

It’s not that I’m really that hard to please; I’m not. But I just never see anything that makes me stop and say to myself, “Wow, I could really use that,” or “I would love to have that.”

So I never have a clear idea of what would make a good gift. Consequently, I find myself scouring online sites and paging through advertising supplements to see if anything sets off any bells or whistles.

But once again, it’s pretty much just crickets.

My wife, on the other hand, will be walking through a store with me, stop near a display, point to an item for sale and say, “Just something to keep in mind for my birthday.”

Of course, I dutifully take careful note of which store and where it is on display. I’ve even been known to take a photo with my phone, just to be sure.

My wife will also pull up a website on her phone and show me items that she would like, always giving me plenty of options, so whatever I get her will still be somewhat of a surprise.

I know which perfumes she likes, and she always lets me know when she’s running low on one of her favorites, or when a new scent comes along that she’d like to wear.

In short, my wife is easy to please and easy to shop for. For husbands, that’s a real blessing.

I wish I could be that helpful.

As it gets closer to my birthday, Christmas or our anniversary, my wife finds herself pressing me for gift ideas. And I usually can’t come up with any, much to her frustration.

That doesn’t mean my wife doesn’t know me well, or know what I like. It’s just that she can’t always find something in my size or something that fits my style. Or if she does find something online, it’s out of stock, and it won’t be available for several weeks.

I’m always thinking that I’ll be walking through a store and see it — that one perfect gift, something I just have to have. But that “hallelujah” moment hasn’t struck me in quite some time.

When I was in fifth grade, I saw a tape recorder that I just had to have. I rode my bike to that store practically every weekend to look at it on the shelf.

It was a reel-to-reel model with a lapel microphone that you could clip on (this was 1966, so that was really state of the art). And it was only $20. Of course, 20 bucks back then was like $175 in today’s money ( I actually looked this up), but I was confident my folks could swing it. So when it came time to tell my parents what I wanted for my 11th birthday, I had no doubts.

I was counting down the days until my birthday, obsessing about my gift.

But the day before the big day, my dad told me that bills were a little tight at the end of the month, and would I mind waiting until Monday to get my present.

Needless to say, I was disappointed, but I tried not to show it.

And when Monday evening came and we all went out to Kresgee’s — the forerunner of Kmart — to pick up my gift, I was super excited.

When I got home with the new recorder, I started practicing using it. I even started recording songs off the radio, making my own playlist.

After I got a bunch of songs, I would go down to our basement and play DJ. I would introduce the songs and play the tape recorder into my hand-held walkie talkie while my younger brother listened to the other walkie talkie upstairs.

He tired of that game after a couple of days, but I still enjoyed myself.

However, that tape recorder was run by a belt system, and it didn’t always pull at a steady rate. So any music I recorded tended to come off a little warbly.

Still, I was a happy camper.

Fifty-plus years later, I’m married to a woman who also likes to play DJ, in a sense. We can be out to eat and hear a song from the ’70s or ’80s and she’ll know what year it came out, what time of year and sometimes even who is singing backup on it. We Shazam the song on our phones, and she’s usually right. She’s pretty amazing.

So I don’t know if I’ll find that one great gift for myself this year, though I’ll keep on searching.

But maybe I’ve already got the perfect birthday present in my music trivia-loving wife.

And her singing isn’t the least bit warbly.

Dave Miller is deputy managing editor for Opinion for the Killeen Daily Herald and editor of the Harker Heights Herald. | 254-501-7543


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