It's hard to believe, but our one-year wedding anniversary is only about two months away. Fortunately for me and many other guys in my position, the economy still is in the tank.
In the bad old days when there was money to be had, our significant others expected significant gifts.
By significant, she meant something in which we invested a lot of thought, sensitivity and shopping time. A nice-sized price tag seemed to help, too.
While some very thoughtful and sensitive men lurk out there, jacking up the grading curve - we normal guys call them ''jerks'' - most of us despise having to work up either thought or sensitivity for something so crass as shopping.
We're the ones the significant others call ''jerks'' whenever we try to present them with something we desperately hoped would at least lean enough toward thoughtful and sensitive to get us off the hook. Usually, it doesn't.
Honest, we really thought the flashy new Makita driver-drill with a bonus set of bits and extra power pack DID say that we care. Very deeply. We'd sure feel that way if you gave one of those bad boys to us instead of those clown-colored shirts you claim would look so exquisite on us on nights out.
So a year ago while Terry still was quivering beneath the fuss and muss of last-minute wedding details, that wasn't why I was breaking out into cold sweats. No. I already was filling with dread knowing that I had only about 400 more days in which to come up with a thoughtful and sensitive anniversary gift. It gave me nightmares.
Then, blissfully, a recession was declared.
Thanks to our faltering economy, we have a lower gross national product of faltering husbands and boyfriends. The new heroes are the guys who can pinch pennies the most.
Forget trying to figure out if it's supposed to be diamonds, opals or silver on your first anniversary. By now, she'd probably fly into a tizzy if you spend more than $5.12.
I'm thinking a roll of duct tape might be the perfect anniversary gift.
At this point, guys, picking your socks up off the floor might be the most thoughtful and sensitive - and economic - gift you can present to your beloved.
Those knick-knack shelves you built two years ago, the ones on which you had to add string and wire to keep things from falling off because they came out kinda cockeyed - THIS would be the year to shower her with sensitive thoughts like that.
Remember the macaroni roosters you made with pasta and Elmer's glue at summer camp? Dig it out of the attic and dust it off. Not only is both a personal and economical gift, it also might be the only lunch the family has the day before payday.
Act fast. Someday soon, the economy will blossom, jobs will return and money will flow once again. Before such a disaster happens, guys, let's give all the gifts we can while the odds are in our favor.
It might be our only chance to be deemed thoughtful and sensitive for doing what we do best - avoiding shopping for gifts.
----- Pity the cheapskate in October. Until then, send coupons to firstname.lastname@example.org.