Six-ish years ago, my parents took my husband and I out for dinner to celebrate my birthday. At the restaurant, they surprised me with a brightly wrapped gift about the size of a microwave.
As I took the box from my mother, I noted it was heavy. Very heavy.
I hoped it wasn’t actually a microwave.
Most of my dream gifts would be quite light (e.g. an invitation to Jennie Garth and Luke Perry’s wedding, one-way plane tickets to London Heathrow for me and my family) but a big box of CASH would be heavy.
WAS THIS A BIG BOX OF CASH????
As I peeled back the paper, I saw a ratty old cardboard box, and as I pulled open the flaps of the cardboard box, I saw this:
It was a box of every Archie comic I had ever owned as a kid.
I made this face:
(Side note: That’s obviously not me. That’s my kid around the age of three, but the resemblance between his expression and the one I made is uncanny.)
I don’t want to sound ungrateful, especially since watching the gamut of emotions play across my face during the whole gift unwrapping fiasco was endlessly entertaining for my parents.
And I like to bring my parents joy.
They are really nice people.
But, at the time, this was not my favourite birthday gift I had ever received. In retrospect, I’d put it in my top two. I mean, nostalgia in a box? SIGN ME UP. Riverdale was a big part of my childhood. I’d even like to propose we have a national holiday called, “Talk Like an Archie Comic” day. Come on, there’s a Pancake Day for crying out loud! And Talk Like a Pirate Day! Egad! It’s a keen idea! And don’t you go bagging on my bag, Frecklesnoot! (Admit it. Talk Like an Archie Comic Day is genius.)
In honour of that birthday gift, allow me to present:
THINGS BETTY & VERONICA TAUGHT ME
1. The term “women’s lib.”
2. The proper way to play a tambourine. (Please, please, please click on that link. You will thank me.)
3. The value of friendship. Even if you’re both interested in dating the same dreamboat. And you and your best friend are mean to each other a good 50-75% of the time. And you are both constantly scheming to humiliate each other in public. Hmmm. Maybe Betty & Veronica actually taught me that I don’t want to treat other women the same way they treat each other.
4. The appeal of Archie. Guys. I once had an amorous dream about him. Yes. About THIS GUY:
He’s as surprised as I am.
5. If you really put your mind to it, you can go to the Spring Fling dance with both of those people who asked you without either one of them finding out. Just make sure you keep them on opposite sides of the room and continually ask one of them to refresh your cup of punch and the other one to get your coat from the closet because you’re cold, no wait–take the coat back to the closet, you’re too hot. In other words, you can do anything as long as you’re clever and ambitious.
So thanks, Mom and Dad, for wrapping up my memories, laughter, and life lessons. I mean, I don’t really need a microwave OR a box of cash (although the box of cash would be nice).