A brick-sized bar of birthday soap

birthday present

Wow, what a wonderful-looking birthday present, Hannah! It’s the size and shape of a brick. I wonder what it could possibly be?

Dear Hannah,

Thank you for the gargantuan bar of soap you bought me for my birthday. It’s the size of a brick. Literally — it’s the size and shape of a brick!

Actually, I thought it was a brick before I unwrapped it. I was trying to figure out why you’d buy me a brick for my birthday, seeing that we’ve been co-workers for eight months, and we seem to get along OK.

What gives? I remember thinking to myself at the time. Does this chick hate my guts? 

Imagine my relief when I unwrapped what I thought was a brick to discover that it was, in fact, a brick-sized bar of soap. Talk about an unexpected birthday surprise! (A gift card would have been better, but no matter. You’ve worked with me for only eight months, after all, so how would you know?)

I like the soap. I do. I wouldn’t be writing you such a heartfelt thank-you note if I truly didn’t like it. It smells like pine, which fits my commanding portrait of rugged masculinity. I think women are attracted to men who smell like a forest. It must make them think of shirtless lumberjacks wielding axes, their chiseled muscles glistening with dew-like beads of sweat as they trudge through the thick overgrowth of nature.

Now that I’m washing with the soap, it hasn’t escaped my attention that more women are giving me discrete glimpses. They try to be subtle, but I notice them noticing. Women tend to have a better sense of smell than men, so I imagine they catch my scent only a moment before I enter the room. And they can’t help but to react like wild, savage felines on the prowl for meaty, succulent prey. Meow, indeed! Mmm, mmm.

No doubt the soap is emboldening my already-considerable sexual presence. Let’s face it: I’m a good-looking guy anyway, but the rich pine scent adds an intriguing layer of mystery to my masculine demeanor. And I don’t mean to sound all haughty when I’m talking about my looks, but we work together, so you know it’s true.

In fact, I think I’ve even caught you looking at me once or twice. Am I right, sweetheart? Don’t try to deny it. I’m a sponge for female attention. I soak up and savor every discrete (and not-so-discrete) glance they shoot my way.

My dog doesn’t much care for the soap, though. It makes him sneeze. And although I love the smell, the soap’s not exactly good for my skin. I’ve noticed some flakiness on my arms, as well as some cracks on my hands that weren’t there before. It’s not the most moisturizing soap I’ve ever used.

Sometimes scented soaps can have a dehydrating effect. I’ve seen it before. I just hope it doesn’t clog the pores on my face and make me break out. I’m no fan of adult acne. I thought I left all the pus-filled boils behind in high school. No way I want a repeat of that now. If I have to show up to work with a constellation of zits dotting my forehead, I’m not sure what I’ll do. I might have to throw out the soap and go back to my Lever 2000. (Not to be confused with 2000 Flushes. Talk about irritating your skin!)

If that happens, no offense. That’s why I’m writing you this letter of gratitude — not only to show my appreciation, but also to cover my bases in case I get tired of the soap. You work with me, babe, so you know I’m thorough.

So I do like the soap, but still … I wish it had a moisturizing effect. Sometimes it makes my privates itch, and I have to squirm and shuffle and rub the insides of my thighs together to get relief.

Clearly, I can’t scratch there while I’m at work. What would the boss think? She’d wonder if I have lice, and then she’d worry that I might spread it around the office, since I have such a strong rapport with women.

Besides, HR frowns upon the public scratching of genitals. It says so in the employee handbook. And I’m nothing if not a diligent employee. I’d rather grimace and try to tough it out, or maybe rub my crotch against the bottom of the desk when no one’s looking. I’m sometimes tempted to stick a ruler down my pants, but doing so might cross the bounds of propriety.

And again, I have the boss to think about. She’s pretty lenient, but I imagine she’d draw a line at me rubbing my junk with a ruler. Her threshold runs only so high, and I don’t want to paint an unflattering picture by jamming a piece of company property down the front of my pants. I endeavor to treat company equipment with the upmost respect.

And besides, the ruler has a sharp corner, and though it’s useful for scratching itches, the unintended consequences could prove disastrous if I wielded such an implement with a freewheeling hand. Nobody wants a mishap in the workplace —- especially one of such an epic magnitude. Can you imagine if I accidentally tore open my scrotum? How would I explain that on my workers’ compensation claim? Talk about embarrassing!

I apologize if I’m wandering, but I just want to convey how much I appreciate the soap. I can tell it came from a specialty shop. You don’t often see brick-sized soap, and so when one drops into your possession (like a ton of bricks, LOL!), it’s not an occasion I take for granted.

However, I certainly don’t want to give you the impression that it’s the best gift I’ve ever received. I assure you, it’s not.

Thoughtful? Yes. But amazing? Nah. More mediocre, if anything. Run-of-the-mill. Ordinary.

My profuse thank-you note is not intended to bolster your self-perception as a gift-giving guru. And if I gave you the impression that your gift is the most awesome thing in the world, then I deeply apologize. We work together, so your feelings matter greatly to me. I certainly wouldn’t want to lead you on.

The soap has some flaws. We’ve discussed in length already its tendency to dry out my skin. But a particularly annoying trait is its monstrous size.

Like I said, it’s a brick. Have you ever tried to lather with a brick? Or have you ever dropped a brick on your toe in the shower?

Yeah! Not fun. I still can’t bend my big toe. The soap landed so hard, it crushed the nail. Where I should have a toe, now all I have is a bloody stump with a mangled nail.

So thanks a lot. I appreciate that.

Plus, the soap has sharp corners — much like a regular brick. I can’t scrub with sharp corners, and it’s next to impossible to work up a lather. Specialty soap clearly hasn’t gone through the refinement process of most supermarket soaps. I doubt they’ve tested with focus groups or looked to see what the competition is doing. The soap market is competitive, and if you’re not going to refine your product, then you best drop out of the race so the master cleaners — like Lever 2000 — can reign.

Sometimes the soap will slip from my hand in the shower, and when it lands it sounds like a rock dropping on sheetmetal. It’s a sharp, painful noise, and it’s most nettling to my eardrums. And then I’ll pick up the soap, only to fumble and drop it again.

I don’t like to drop the soap in the shower. What if I were in a public setting, like the gym? The social awkwardness would be intolerable — especially with my hemorrhoids. Nobody but me knows I have them. And now you. Please use that knowledge with discretion.

How would you feel washing with a brick? Did you bother to try a bar of this soap beforehand?

Or when you were on your little gift-buying excursion, did you just throw it in your cart and hope for the best?

What I’m asking is, did you put any thought at all into your gift? Your card didn’t say “Hallmark” on the back, so that right there suggests you didn’t. You gave me some cheap knockoff brand that costs $2. The price was on the back, so I know exactly how much you paid. I notice things like that — again, because I’m thorough.

Just for the record, a real birthday card should cost at least $5. That’s a rule.

The worst part is, with soap this size, it’s going to take forever for it to dissolve. I’ll be scrubbing with this damn thing for a month before it finally wastes away to a hockey puck-sized speck.

And by then, everyone at the office will probably be sick of the overpowering pine-forest smell, and all the women who used to fawn over me will start avoiding me in the hall.

You know what? I should just toss the damn thing in the trash and go back to my Lever 2000.

So Hannah, here’s thing thing: While I deeply appreciate the thought, please don’t buy me gifts anymore. I tell you this only because we work together, and I know you value my opinion. Your gesture was sweet, but in the future, I’d much prefer cash and a card. (And remember my rule:  be sure the card costs at least $5.)

Thank you again for trying to make my birthday special. Better luck next year!

16 comments on “A brick-sized bar of birthday soap

  1. That is a rather odd gift. Whatever possessed you and where did you get such a thing? I’m trying to think of a use for it, but all I can come up with is a scented doorstop. I guess sometimes you have to appreciate the thought instead of the gift.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now that I think about it, it’s a little offensive that she bought me soap. What was she trying to say, exactly? In a way, buying someone a bar of soap is almost like giving them laundry detergent, or toothpaste. We’re supposed to be celebrating my birthday, people; not impugning my personal hygiene!

      It’s the thought that counts … but based on her gift, it’s clear that she thinks I smell! 😟

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Uh, yes, I think her thoughts are quite clear.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a way you have with the ladies. It clearly comes through in every line of this post. I was particularly touched by your generosity in forgiving your coworker for buying you a gift that had so many flaws and came with too cheap a birthday card.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Have a happy and safe Fourth up there, Allen! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hmmm…what to give Hannah on her birthday? I’m think of an Adam’s family type of gift. Roses with the flowers cut off, perhaps?

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a terrific idea! Very fitting. And maybe I can give her a box of melted chocolates to go with it. I can out them both in a paper shopping bag and make a bow out of twine.

      In related news, I understand the office is considering prohibiting gift exchanges for birthdays. I can’t imagine why.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. […] me a set of wooden-handled kitchen knives for my birthday. (This is the same friend who bought me a brick-sized bar of soap for my last […]


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