The summer before my junior year of college my parents had a giant garage sale and a bunch of people brought over stuff for us to sell. One of the things that didn’t end up selling was a lamp that was shaped like a calla lily. It looked kind of like this except uglier and more plastic and only one lily:
Anyway, we didn’t know what to do with it because it didn’t work particularly well and was kind of ugly. And then I got an idea.
My college roommate is kind of particular about decor, so when we first moved in I let her make everything in our dorm room match and coordinate and look nice. I’m not particular at all. I could live my whole life without matching silverware and never be bothered.
We had had matching lamps (from Target) for the first two years of school.
I knew it would kill her if I suddenly had a new, completely ugly lamp that didn’t match any of our other furniture. BUT, she would be too nice to say anything about it. (Sometimes I actually do have awful taste and she has always kindly refrained from pointing it out.)
When we moved in, I nonchalantly put the lily lamp on my desk where my old lamp should have been. I then spent the next two weeks gushing about how much I loved my new lamp.
I even got several of our friends in on the joke, and had them stop by to gush about how adorable my new lamp was.
I could see my roommate starting to twitch. But she didn’t say anything because she didn’t want to hurt my feelings. (I actually found out later that the whole process legitimately stressed her out. Oops.)
I finally told her it was a joke, but then I just started leaving the lamp on her side of the room. Usually with a post it note that said “love me!” It would inevitably end up back on my bed with a note saying something like “I want to smash this”. Sometimes the lamp would go to visit our hallmates to bring messages (“lamp-o-grams”), but it always came back to stay with us.
Finally, I decided to let it go for a while, so she would think it was gone forever.
Then I wrapped it up and gave it to her as a Christmas present. She gave it back.
Then I disguised it (like with a mustache and sunglasses and everything) and gave it to her for her birthday. She gave it back.
We kept giving it back and forth for a few years. Then, when I moved away from where we grew up she sneakily left it in my apartment before going home.
(…”and some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth. And for two and a half thousand years, the ring [lamp] passed out of all knowledge…”)
Okay. So maybe it wasn’t two and a half thousand years. But it was definitely a year. I kept it in my closet for a year and said nothing at all about it.
And then, the perfect opportunity presented itself. My roommate got married.
I disguised the lamp as a really well-wrapped wedding gift. I also bought her & her husband each a hammer, and left a note inside explaining that my gift was my permission to finally destroy the lamp. You know, they could smash it together. Super romantic, if you ask me.
Turns out she actually was too attached to the joke to smash it though. To my knowledge the lamp is still in their basement. I’m sure it will come back to haunt me someday.
***UPDATE: August 2016 – I got her sister to steal the lamp out of her basement. Then I took it with us on vacation and hid it in her bed with a note that said “Miss me?” VICTORY IS MINE.