Someone once told me that there is a difference between giving a PRESENT and giving a GIFT. A present, they said, was something YOU wanted the other person to have whereas a gift was simply something the other person wanted. I believe this distinction applies in regard to the choice Cory made about what to give me for Christmas last year. I received three envelopes on our snowy, Christmas morning – one marked “February”, another marked “May”, and the final one was labeled “September”. Hoping for the best (airfare to a warm beach!) but preparing for the worst (coupons for a date night to watch all of Star Wars on DVD) I lifted the top of February’s envelope and pulled out the folded papers. I was delighted to find something completely unexpected, as a pair of tickets to Broadway’s Jekyll & Hyde was revealed. Now, even more curious about May’s envelope I opened that one up and found two passes to the ever popular Les Miserables. Amazing! Finally, I landed on September which produced a final set of tickets to the musical rendition of Sister Act. In a matter of seconds I went from having nothing to do in 2013 to having a year’s worth of musical theater to look forward to.
Present or gift? I swear on the grave of my grandmother these tickets were positively, absolutely, unequivocally a GIFT. For starters, aside from a short middle school stint with a trombone Cory’s musical appreciation pretty much started with Van Halen and ended with Guns ‘N’ Roses. Throw in a little Kenny G we both tolerated on our honeymoon and you’ve got Cory’s musical background. My next clue: Early in our relationship when I attempted to explain my love affair with Les Miserables his response was, “The key word there is ‘LAME’.” And as for that time he was kicked out of the 4th grade choir – I think he still harbors a little resentment. In short, musicals are not Cory’s thing in the way that jockeying is not Shaq’s thing.
Jekyll & Hyde in February was rough. Maybe it was the bone chilling walk from the parking garage to the theater that set a poor tone, or maybe it was because the main character of the show starts out nice until he drinks a potion and then he kills everyone and it ends with him committing suicide that it was kind of a downer, but we didn’t love it.
In preparation for Les Miserables we bought the movie and I told Cory how important it was that we watch it before we saw the live version so he could follow the story. I just didn’t think he would do it with Drew while Samantha and I were gone and I couldn’t tell him which parts to fast forward. Samantha and I arrived home mid-movie; we heard the music as we came in from the garage, turned the corner from down the hall and spotted Drew and Cory sitting on the couch. Cory paused the show as he saw us appear and yelled, “What’s up with the Anne Hathaway character dying? Didn’t she get an academy award for that part? How can she get an award when she’s only in half the movie?” At which point Drew raised his voice, “What?! This is only half over?!” Groaning, he threw his head back against the couch and slapped the palm of his hand against his eyes.
Meanwhile, I put on my pajamas and sat down with them to watch the rest. I made them rewind “Do You Hear The People Sing” and proclaimed that this was the first time our surround sound had ever been put to good use. They objected vehemently, something about Lord of the Rings Indiana Jones Harry Potter Crappity Crap and I had to shush them as Jean Valjean dragged Marius through the sewers to try and save his life.
“Is he dead?”
“If he dies I’m turning it off.”
“Is that poo they’re walking through?”
“Who’s that guy stealing the teeth?”
“How long are those tunnels?”
“Why do they have to sing ALL the lines?”
Finally, Javert comes face to face with his demons once and for all in the film and as he bellows his struggle in song my tone deaf accountant spoke up once more and said, “Russell Crowe is terrible,” and for the first time in 38 minutes I wanted to kiss my husband on the lips. I agreed whole heartedly but he didn’t stop there. “I mean like, Pierce Brosnan in Mama Mia terrible.” Again, I concurred. Then, “Who would you rather hear sing, Russell Crowe or Pierce Brosnan?”
When it was finally over Drew appeared violated, Cory looked mortified and while steeping in bewilderment he asked, "Wait, so then who won the war?" I hung my head in defeat and told him that if he hated it so much I could find someone else to go with me on Friday.
“Wait, what? Friday?!” Drew said. “But that’s when Fast & The Furious 6 is coming out!” Cory made plans with Drew on Saturday and kept his date with me on Friday. I rather enjoyed it – I think he would have rather shoved bamboo splinters up his fingernails and soaked them in lime juice, but he got through it. After all, he had F&F 6 to look forward to the next day.
September’s show should be good; we’re looking forward to it. As for Christmas in December, I can’t wait to see what he gets me this year. Except this time it might be best if he got me a present.