December 4, 1997

Students who wish they made Santa's naughty list

Jason L. Ables
Staff writer

Dear Santa,

I'm writing to ask if you would take me off your 'good' Christmas list this year. Really.

You see I have been talking to my fellow SF State students and after listening to some of their Yule-time tales I really think getting a big, fat lump of coal would be OK. After all, one of my classmates actually got a toilet seat for Christmas (and that was only one of the perplexing entries in the 'What Were You Thinking?' column).

Take sophomore Nicole Lockhart's experience for example. She said the worst gift she ever got was a soap-on-a-rope, a big red heart-shaped soap-on-a-rope.

"Is she crazy? Delirious?" Lockhart said. She remembered thinking about the relative who gave it to her. The woman told her she could wear it in the shower.

Elena Desantis did not even get something as practical as soap. She once got a box of African Violet flower food from her best friend's mom. The 19-year-old sophomore thought that was "pretty weird" since she did not own any African Violets.

"It was funny because we opened all of our presents and then we were like, 'Oh yeah there was one last thing,' " Desantis said. "It is still sitting on our counter from five years ago."

But Desantis and Lockhart's tales were just the start of the revelations.

I know that Mark Twain said the coldest winter he ever lived through was a summer in San Francisco, but 11 years ago psychology major Brandee Woleslagle wasn't even living here, she was still in Los Angeles -- you know where it is a bone-chilling 78 degrees all year.

She is still trying to figure out what her mom was thinking by giving her that pair of giant neon-yellow earmuffs. She never wore them you know.

"Why in god's name would I need earmuffs in the first place?" Woleslagle said.

What's up with the colored clothes anyway? Darren Middlesworth, a 29-year-old graduate student in kinesiology said the worst gift he ever got was a big ugly green sweater that his grandmother gave him a few years ago.

"It was loud, extremely loud," he said, "I still have not worn it."

But at least he kept it. Phaedra Harris-Merrell once had a southern aunt send her some underwear for Christmas. But the woman must have skipped a few issues of Vogue because she sent Harris-Merrell some high-topped support underwear -- you know like old folks wear. Do you think the junior psychology major ever wore them?

"Hell no, I threw them in the trash," laughed Harris-Merrell. "It was like buying me a box of Depends."

Besides aunts, there must be something about cousins and Christmas too because Amy Terhar said that the worst gift she ever got was from hers. Luckily it was not support briefs, but still, for a creative writing major like Terhar it may have well as been.

"(It was) a framed picture of my stupid cousins, and the frame was even broken. I could not even use that again," Terhar said.

Needless to say she never put it out for display.

Unfortunately for Jessica (last name withheld) one of her gifts did get displayed. About a decade ago the 21-year-old had her uncle grab a training bra out of a giftbox that had been given to her. Pantomiming an animal with it, he started pretending like it was alive and jumping over a stick.

"He picked up the training bra and (said), 'Why is it called a training bra?' And he got a baton, and started making it jump over the baton. 'Look it is doing tricks. I'm training it.'"

She was so embarrassed she had to leave the room.

Mike Fisher, a junior, could probably relate to that.

"When I was 14-years old my cousin gave me a tube of acne medication," he said. "That is a hard one to forget."

But even if cousins could be excused from giving strange gifts at Christmas, you'd think immediate family would know better, but from what I have been told they don't.

One year Theresa Fox, a 19-year-old majoring in criminal justice, found a really bizarre gift under the tree. It was a cushioned toilet seat that her dad was giving to the family. After Fox and her family managed to stop laughing they did what they had to do.

"We just put it on our toilet," Fox said laughing. "We still use it."

Well at least at the time it made the family laugh too.

So Santa, like I said before, a lump of coal. I'm cool with it. Really.