“Do you know what my kid asked me for the other day?” Ian said to his office mate, Saul.
“An iPad. A freakin’ iPad! He’s four years old! Why would a four year old need an iPad?!”
Saul had a good laugh over that, and then reminded Ian that they were kids once and asked for all sorts of things themselves.”
“Yeah, but it was normal stuff; like a hockey stick or toy cars or a copy of an animated movie we loved. We didn’t start asking for expensive stuff until we were at least ten.”
“Do you know what I always wanted as a kid but never got?” Saul then said to Ian. “A Mr. Potato Head. My best friend, Scott got one for Christmas the year we turned eight and I thought it was the coolest thing. I asked for one every Christmas for the next ten years after that, and for my birthday, but never got one. I used to think Scott had everything going for him.”
Five weeks later when Saul’s birthday rolled around, he came into his office to find a beautifully wrapped box on his desk. It was addressed to him from Ian.
“You got me a birthday present?” he said genuinely surprised.
“Yup! Open it.”
Saul tore away at the paper, curious to see what it could be. Of course it was the only present Ian could have given him: a Mr. Potato Head.
“Oh my God, you didn’t! Thanks Ian!” Saul said.
“Now you have everything going for you,” Ian said.
“Huh?” Saul said before remembering what he had said about his friend Scott. “Oh yeah, right. Ha!”
What Saul had failed to tell Ian was that ten years after getting that coveted toy, Scott took his own life. His reason for doing so, his note said, was because he felt he had nothing going for him. Nothing at all. Saul couldn’t tell Ian that, of course. It would have ruined the moment. So he put his Mr. Potato Head on his desk and once a week he and Ian took turns rearranging the pieces.
Saul found the whole thing depressing but, being in the dark, Ian thought it was the funniest thing ever. Saul let him have his fun, all the while remembering his friend’s sad fate.