Secret Santa– WHO ARE YOU?!!
Today I received a cheery mystery package with a return address of “Santa, North Pole.” It came in Saturday but I was unable to retrieve it until today.
Because I wasn’t expecting a package, I wasn’t sure how to respond. Initially I was excited. When I saw the package, my profiling training kicked in and I was hesitant to open it even though most normal people would tear into it with glee. Given my background and experience, it would be impossible not to regard an anonymous package with at least some suspicion.
The box was new and appeared to have had the computer-generated postage, applicable stickers, and tracking number professionally affixed. I immediately noted the zip code and began considering who I know in that area (which happens to be a lot of people and also a convenient stop for people in a neighboring biome). I considered that they might have shipped it from that zip code to cast off suspicion. There were no oil stains, extruding wires, or sounds emanating from the box (yes, I used to sort the mail at the police department, and there were oddities at times).
The bright red and yellow label had been handwritten by a presumably right-handed person who had purposely disguised their handwriting with an elderly citizen-like shakiness. The last line appeared to be written more deliberately as if added later, the letters formed in a Gothic script style similar to what Germans used in the early 20th century. Overall it reminded me of a Christmas card my grandpa had signed late in life.
The zip code was the exception to the carefully constructed letters on the last line; like the mailing address it had been written in a slightly darker blue as if a different pen were used once they learned where the package would be accepted. It should be noted that the writing in the center line was not so incognito and could have been written by a female while the other letters appeared more masculine.
Santa? Stalker? Silly family member? Indiscriminate admirer who assumed I was available? It didn’t add up. I’d just seen a bunch of people for Christmas this weekend. Noting the date this was mailed and the method, it was clear that someone wanted me to get this in time for Christmas.
Well, I decided silently as I conversed with the counter attendant, if I’m going to lose an arm to a bomb blast I might as well do it with gusto. Grabbing a pair of scissors, I began to open it on the spot until the attendant jumped in with a much safer bladed implement actually intended for such use, a box knife. Inside were some very nicely wrapped packages with a brisk holiday scent and a gift card with my name on it. Hmm. Again, they knew my name.
I opened the gift card and was floored at the amount as well as the appropriateness of the gift. This was especially meaningful given some challenges this month. I told counter guy that I was going to open the others right there (carelessly endangering someone besides myself) and found more gifts that spoke directly to my likes and sense of style.
WHO DID THIS?!!! I’m not sure I buy into the theory that a hot billionaire named Raul likes my blog and thinks I deserve better.
This event evoked the old Gilbert and Sullivan song:
Things are seldom what they seem,
Skim milk masquerades as cream;
Highlows pass as patent leathers;
Jackdaws strut in peacock’s feathers…
Black sheep dwell in every fold;
All that glitters is not gold;
Storks turn out to be but logs;
Bulls are but inflated frogs.
Keeping the box as evidence, I returned to my vehicle and tried to call the first person I suspected. No answer. I called the second person I suspected. They insisted they didn’t do it. While we were talking, something beeped loudly three times and I jumped. I had no idea what it was. Was something in the box beeping? Was I on a hidden video show? Was that crazy Steve-O guy going to jump out and say, “HA HA HA!!!” as my grinning friends emerged from behind the building?
Once off the phone (which I haven’t had that long, mind you) I realized that a text had come in from first person while I was talking to second person. Evidently my jungle dance-type text alert tone transforms into a bone-jarring smoke detector low battery-like beep if you’re already on the line. First person said they were not Secret Santa and began throwing out suggestions, including that I could have an admirer at work. What?
While I considered that their other suggestions were evasion tactics, they did make the point that most family and friends know I would be highly analytical about such a package based on past occasions of legitimate concern. That made me less suspicious of them personally, but I’d still made the following observations about the package:
-The person or people could properly package the contents and correctly size the box (or pay someone to do so).
-The person or people had impeccable wrapping skills. The scotch tape was perfectly placed.
-The person or people chose happy snowman wrapping paper that I would have picked.
-The person or people could spell my name correctly although I viewed the nickname in quotes on the label, “Good Girl,” with some guilt after my salty tirade directed at my computer mouse yesterday (among other things).
-The mystery person or people had classy taste.
-They had intimate knowledge of my likes and dislikes– talk about hitting the mark.
-They are far more generous than I am; I don’t gift at this level.
-They were able to determine an appropriate address at which such a thing would be received.
-They knew I would probably discuss such a thing publicly but without going into certain specifics.
-They either know me well enough to get this specific with the gifts or did their homework (is the armchair profiler being profiled?).
The analysis did not end once I became familiar with the contents. Now things got funny. Was the smelly gift laced with a hallucinogenic substance? Was the gift card outfitted with a GPS tracking device? Was a singing telegram to follow or was someone hiding in the bushes with binoculars watching me with glee? Yeah, now I should go apply a layer of tinfoil to my head and stand in the bathtub with rubber socks and a cellophane cape on so no alien tractor beams can find me!
This is what happens when you’re sleep-deprived on Christmas Eve. Things get bigger and sillier and more dramatic– not only do visions of sugar plums dance in your head, but in this case, visions of who on earth this might be responsible are going to tickle me for the rest of the day. I still have a primary suspect and some angles to follow up on which shall be discussed with other analytical types in turn.
For now, given that the enclosed boxes contain brand new material that their packaging says they were intended to hold, green slime hasn’t burst out of the box in a geyser of radio-controlled mirth, and nothing else has beeped, to Secret Santa (S-S-S-SANTAAAAA!!!) I offer a quizzical but heartfelt thanks. Not only is the gift itself flattering, but the suggestions as to why this was done and who did it just keep getting more hilarious.
Like my brother just said, “Is Santa real? I knew it!“
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