July 4, 2023

Damn, She Was Good.

I have a favorite coffee mug. This mug came into my life one summer when I was working at camp. This is the same camp where, a year or two later, I would meet and fall in love with Chrissy. My camp staff friends and I would always pop by the thrift store on our days off, and one glorious day, I spotted this mug and knew I had to have it:

It's a great mug. Perfect size, good weight, and the kitschy 1970s blocky "DAMN I'M GOOD" can work either as an uplifting morning affirmation or as charming mock bravado. It's my mug and it sparks joy every time I use it. 

Chrissy hated it. Or, rather, she pretended to hate it. Or, actually rather, she probably hated it a little bit but also found my relationship with it endearing. For probably over a decade, our Saturday mornings around our house would find me pouring coffee into my mug, catching Chrissy's eye, nodding towards the mug, and then giving her the eyebrows and a wink. She would give an exaggerated eye roll and maybe make some sarcastic comment, but always have a little smirk playing at the corner of her mouth. And so it continued for years, this little flirtatious domestic dance. Until Chrissy up and changed the game. 

Let me just say this: we are fortunate as a planet that Chrissy Hardy chose to use her powers of planning and execution for Good. Because when she chose to use them for evil, she was just as unstoppable. 

One Christmas morning, probably seven or eight years ago, Chrissy got me good. We'd finished all of the family Christmas rituals; we'd opened presents, eaten breakfast, and dumped out stockings. I'm sure I was on my third or fourth cup of coffee of the day, most certainly out of my Damn I'm Good mug. Everyone was starting to retreat to admire their new gifts, when Chrissy announced, rather dramatically and with excellent projection, "Oh, wait! It looks like we missed a present!"

As heads around the living room and kitchen turned towards her, Chrissy reached behind the couch and pulled out a smallish, exquisitely wrapped box. She started to really lay it on thick: "My GOODNESS, how could we have MISSED this? WHO on earth could it possibly be FOR?  Why...It looks like...Why yes! The tag says it's to ME! Well, who could it be FROM? Oh, I think it says...Why yes! It's a gift to me from my loving husband ROBERT!!"

I had never seen this box in my life. I certainly hadn't wrapped it. Something was afoot, and I immediately didn't like it. 

She went through a big, obnoxious show of unwrapping it. "No, I want to keep the paper for later, your Daddy took such care with the giftwrap!" This went on for a while. Finally, at long last, she pulled out the box. She snipped the scotch tape, opened the top flap, and produced... this:

The sheer psychological torture she inflicted on me! Not only one-upping my prized possession, but the libelous claim that I myself would have given her this sacrilegious vessel! I spent the rest of Christmas being a little bitter and a lot in awe over how thoroughly she'd mug-shamed me. And she spent the rest of the day with a little evil grin and a twinkle in her eye. And I loved her a little more that night than I thought possible that morning. 

Her mug was accurate. There was truly nobody better.


  1. What a fantastically fabulous Chrissy story! I can see the eye rolls and hear the sarcasm and love it all! If you can PM on FB your email, I can ensure you have received the two memories I sent (and will continue to send). Memories…so wonderful!

  2. Devilishly clever. And of course, dramatic in front of a captivated audience.

  3. Not a Chrissy story, but a Clements story on a similar vein. Every year on Thanksgiving Pat would complain about our cheap and insufficient knife set. One year, after hearing the complaint again, I thought "Aha, I know what to give him for Christmas!' I went to a knife store and picked out a set--not the best in the store, but right up there with the best ones because he prefers quality to quantity. I saved his present til last. But right before I was ready to have one of our 4 boys present it to him, he said, "Boys, there's a big present under the tree for the family. Give it to Mom." I opened it and, yep you guessed it, it was the exact same knife set replete with the exact same butcher block holder (and there were many choices). I, with a similar evil smile that Chrissy had with you, said "Boys, please go get the big present under the tree for Dad." When he opened it, he knew he was busted. From then on the rule was NO BUYING GIFTS YOU WANT AFTER THANKSGIVING! I thought that was the best story until I just read yours. She GOTCHA!!!

  4. That is so hilarious, and I can totally see the smirking and the overacting. Pure perfection.

  5. A great story! ❤️

  6. I like the story of when you and Chrissy gave each other identical kitchen trash cans. Who gives their beloved a trash can for Christmas??
    Mama K

  7. So Chrissy. So you! Thanks for sharing!!❤️❤️. EB


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