For three weeks my sister dangled her bare wrist under her husband's eyes as she hinted for a diamond tennis bracelet for her upcoming birthday. "I don't have the foggiest notion what that is," Dan finally told her. He hadn't been near a jewelry counter since buying that fob for his pocket watch in 1963.
"Oh, for heaven's sake," Winnie said, "just do a little research. You're always on the Internet anyway."
As anyone who surfs the Web knows, you don't do "just a little" research. One site leads to another as you follow the trail of something interesting and, three days later, you've meandered miles from base camp and are hopelessly lost.
Dan typed "diamond tennis bracelet" into the search engine and up popped a 12-carat description of the dazzling $29,000 Harry Winston bracelet worn by Serena Williams at the US Open.
"I wouldn't pay that for a whole tennis court," he sputtered. Walmart.com appeared next on the screen and offered its "always low prices always" version for $93.66.
If he had stopped there and clicked on the shopping cart, then Winnie might be sporting a faux-diamond tennis bracelet today, but it was too late. He'd already closed that screen and become fascinated by another site featuring a "diamond" tennis bracelet pattern woven from seeds and beads in an ancient Potawatomi weave.
Always a history nut, he ventured into the Potawatomi Nation's site and learned more about bingo and slot machines than anyone needs to know. Next up was Potawatomi State Park in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., with notices about ice fishing for walleye and skiing by candlelight.
The "facts about wild turkeys" caught his attention, and he educated himself about where to look for a turkey's snood, wattle, and caruncle. If he'd even stopped right there, my sister might be wearing a sparkly bracelet today. The description of the turkey's bronze wings might have reminded him of his wife's bronzed - and naked - wrist.
Too late. He sidled his cursor over and clicked on the description of the park's campsites because he might find himself in Sturgeon Bay in the middle of the night without money for a motel because he'd just lost it all at bingo. Besides, he hadn't camped out in years and longed for an outing.
But first, Dan needed a tent. Who would have dreamed that tents now come with inflatable poles? He whiled away two hours researching trendy tents and virtually shopping for poles that could be inflated in under 60 seconds and in the dark. The self-installing tent was a beaut. Just what he needed.
Even better, his wife's birthday was nearly here and he needed to buy her a little surprise. She kept sticking her arm in his face and asking for something, but he couldn't remember what. Maybe she was waving goodbye. She needed a little getaway.
"Surprise!" he told her. "I did some research, just as you said, and found it." He handed her the tent with inflatable poles.
Some men just can't take a hint. Or if they take it, they forget where they put it.