THE GREAT LIES of Life often are summarized as "The check is in the mail," "I gave at the office" and . . . the one I can't print here. (It references oral sex. Ask any random guy.)
At gift-giving times such as now - you have finished shopping, haven't you? - there's another Great Lie: It doesn't matter how much you spend, it's the thought that counts. I'm thinking that's questionable, but I'll get back to it in a bit.
You can always get an argument about what the Greatest Lies are, but that's not the point of this traditional holiday column. Rather than argue about them, I'm just going to present them, here at the Stu-niversity.
A sampling of other Great Lies:
"But officer, I only had one beer." "Don't be afraid, my dog has never bitten anyone." "Go ahead and tell me. I promise I won't get mad." "You look like you lost some weight."
Also: "I'll do it in a minute." "Let me check my calendar and I'll get back to you." "It's a good thing you came in today. We have only one more in stock." "It's a very small spot; nobody will notice." "It's supposed to make that noise." "One size fits all."
And: "Yes, there is a tooth fairy." "If you like your insurance policy, you can keep it." "Read my lips: No new taxes." "I didn't inhale." "Looks don't matter - it's personality that counts." "Size doesn't matter."
Not to forget: "Sorry my work didn't get done, the computer froze." "The new ownership won't change anything" (special to the Inquirer). "Then take a right and you can't miss it." "You get this one; I'll pay next time." "We'll keep your name on file."
And now we return to "It's the thought that counts."
What a wonderful world it would be if that were true, but, sorry, usually it isn't. An exception is my girlfriend, let's call her Half Pint, who is a True Believer in heartfelt thoughts weighing heavily on the Scale of Life. (As long as my waking thoughts revolve around her, she is happy, but she is in some ways inscrutable, because she is a woman and men can never really be sure of what's going on in there.)
My BFF (Female Division) here at the office tells me: "The girls will all want to know: What did I get? They will call on Christmas Day to find out."
Yes, really - for some people, maybe a majority, maybe not. They really want to know.
To control the alms race, some sensible couples set limits. They agree on an amount and promise not to exceed it. They usually exceed it anyway - isn't that what giving and love are all about? - but they would have spent less, had there been no limits.
That's one way to go. There are others.
I have employed different strategies to protect myself from excess - when it comes to women, anyway. I mean, aside from my penchant for marrying them.
Furs are out because I am an animal activist. Sorry, not even "ranch-raised."
Diamonds? Nope, they could be "conflict diamonds" that ruin the lives of the miners and fuel rebels and terrorists. There are no such things as "conflict zirconiums."
See how it works?
Some people have suggested that I'm only doing this because I am cheap. That is very hurtful, because it is true.
Or maybe not. Those who know, know. Those who don't, don't.
I wish you find everything you need, and maybe even what you want, under the tree.
This wish from me to you costs me nothing, but I hope it has value to you.
Merry Christmas to you and yours.
On Twitter: @StuBykofsky