The World’s Greatest Gift-Wrapper

That’s ME – But You Can Do Okay, Too. Maybe

By John Connor

Yeah, I know this is the Jan/Feb 2017 issue, but you’re gettin’ it now, right? And you’ll find my “2016 Gift Guide” in it. That should help you fill in those blanks on your gift list. But there’s still something else haunting you about Christmas, isn’t there? A dark, nasty secret over which you’ve wept into your soppin’ pillow on so many December nights since you were a clumsy, gawky child: You suck at gift-wrapping. And you don’t just suck at it; you suck muddy canal water with a five-horse Briggs & Stratton motor through a 2″ intake at it. We know it.

You know it. Your family and friends have been shamed by it all these years, telling timid little lies to soothe your tattered ego, like, “Oh, this package is so … interesting,” while they quietly murmured amongst themselves, “What is wrong with him? He can tie his own shoes, but …” and sadly shook their heads.

Remember the time you put a 6″x8″ gift box in the center of four yards of wrapping paper, and when you were finished, it looked like there was a big desert tortoise trapped under wadded paper on one side and a 3″x6″ bald spot on the opposite side, with the cardboard showing through? Yes, we all saw it. It was posted online and went viral. Millions laughed at you. But buck up, little buckaroo. There is hope, and its name is Connor.

Stand By For Brilliance

Tough to imagine, I know, but I sucked at gift-wrapping worse than you. I sucked at it like suckin’ curdled buttermilk through a battleship bilge pump at it. Everything I tried to gift-wrap came out looking like either a shopping cart smashed by a semi and draped with hot wet gift-wrap, or, like somebody tried to wrap a live, angry badger by spraying him with glue and then throwing scraps of colored paper at him. No kidding. Then — as often happens with me — I had a flash of brilliance; an epiphany which shook the heavens.

I heard the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi saying “Use the force, Luke!” No, wait. That was something else. It was the voice of James Earl Jones rumbling “Dude … Embrace the SUCK! EMBRACE IT!” I did. I embraced it, reveled in it, steeped like a teabag in it, went giddy-mad with it and developed ConnorWrappery into an art form. Well, whattaya gonna do when James Earl Jones speaks to you from an old combat boot? Brush it off as just more PTSD? No! Now, when people glance at a Himalayan-sized stack of presents across a wide room they can point unerringly at mine and happily declare, “That one’s from Connor! Get that other stuff outta the way an’ lemme get a photo!”

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Gift wrapping essentials: Bricks, tape gun, paper, T-shirt scraps.

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Pro Tip: Never cut gift wrap with sharp scissors. Slash it with a rusty
WW II-issue Marine Corps bolo machete. And remember, slash with panache!

Tips & Techniques

Use some traditional Christmas wrap, but liberally fill in gaps with used, wrinkled My Pretty Pony and The Hulk birthday paper. Ragged swatches cut from old T-shirts, aluminum foil, and scraps of cereal boxes work too. Never attempt neatly folded seams and ends! Smash ’em down and tape ’em into submission! Forget carefully applying teensy strips of clear cellophane tape: Load your industrial tape-gun with 2″ wide shipping tape and wield it like a Viking berserker’s sword! Make ’em work to unwrap your gifts!

For a festive appearance, augment shipping tape with duct tape, electrical tape and Band-Aids. Pro Tip: Anoint Band-Aids with smears of ketchup or red food color and a coupla drops of dirty motor oil daubed from your dipstick. Rub it in. Band-Aids that look used lend an endearing personal touch.

Never use conventional gift-box ribbon. A 1,000-foot roll of bright yellow and black plastic CRIME SCENE — DO NOT CROSS tape costs under 20 bucks on Amazon.com. It’s stretchy, makes cool big flouncy bows, and of course it’s fabulously tres chic! Big musty rolls of old kite string are cheap at garage sales too. It breaks easily, so take a dozen turns or more in each direction and tie it off with granny knots. Save your busted shoestrings too.

I like giving gift certificates from outfits like Cabela’s, The Kansas City Steak Company and BePrepared.com. Put ’em in little gifty-envelopes, tape them to a brick, or between two bricks, and commence wrapping! The hollow cavities in standard concrete cinder blocks can hold cool stocking-stuffers like Gun-Tips and Bore-Tips by Super-Brush, folding knives and other goodies. Bricks and cinder blocks give an exciting “mystery heft” to your gifts.

Throughout the year, be alert to unique gift containers like old, dented Hello Kitty and Buck Rogers kids’ lunchboxes with sprung hinges; discarded mailboxes, damaged bird houses and more!

One example: If you’re giving a range buddy a roll of Paul Clean .22- to .50-cal. patches (see the “2016 Gift Guide” in this issue), try winding the Rollpatch around the inside of a bald, worn-out go-cart tire, then wrap that. Deflated ancient basketballs can hold lots of gifts too.

See? Even if you don’t have your own flashes of brilliance or inspiration from the disembodied voice of James Earl Jones, you too can be a gift-wrapping superstar! Connor OUT

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