When I was a kid, I never looked for my Christmas presents. I discovered years later that, when I was small, my parents would store my presents at my grandparents house, so looking would have been futile anyway. I didn't really get started on becoming a Christmas Present Snooper until I was past the Santa stage.

That year, there was only one thing I wanted; a Fender electric guitar. I didn't care if I didn't get anything else; I wanted that guitar about as much as I ever wanted anything. I had an old beat-up acoustic guitar that had belonged to my Grandfather and that certainly was not Beatlesque in the least.

I must take a step back at this point to inform you that, If I still had that "old beat-up acoustic guitar", I could retire, but that's another story; never mind.

Now where was I? Ah, yes the Christmas of the electric guitar. I don't remember now what sent me into my parents room that day. My parents room was off limits, it was just boring. At any rate, I must have been searching for something. I decided at one point to look under the bed and surprise of surprises there was something under there. I changed my position a bit so I could focus a bit better. In the dark there under the bed it was just a black shape, but it was the unmistakable shape of a guitar case!

To say that I was excited would be to deny the obvious. I was shaking! I couldn't have been happier. It was then that the thought hit me, "Can a guy get in trouble for finding a Christmas present?" I turned it over in my head for a moment and then realized that snooping for presents is a kids job at Christmas time. Hey, if they didn't want me to find it, they should have hid it better!

At that point I was torn between two decisions. Do I leave it alone or take it from its hiding place and jam out a few tunes? My inexperience at finding my Christmas presents told me to not disturb it. Just leave it alone and act real surprised on Christmas morning. I honed my acting skills on acting like I didn't know anything. Well, that resolution didn't last long.

Like a junkie, I was no longer getting my guitar high just by looking at the darn thing. I decided I would kick it up a notch. I summoned all my courage, took the guitar out of its case and actually held it. What a beauty it was. At that point I was lost to any resolutions about proper gift etiquette, that guitar was getting played right then and there!

I had hit a personal low. I succumbed to guitar fever. I got more bold with my playing. Now, instead of waiting until my folks were safely away at work, I would play my future guitar anytime they weren't in the house! My self loathing knew no bounds. I had become just another Christmas snooper.

The big day came and, sure enough there was a rather large package in the corner by the tree! They had obviously put it in a box to wrap it, but I knew from the size that that was the prize I wanted.  desperately wanted to rip it open, put on the "big surprise" act and staying playing it legally.

Finally, I was down to one gift. I didn't know anything about method acting at the time, but I began psyching myself up for the big moment. I wanted to give it a real good reaction, but I didn't want to overplay my hand either least they detect a trace of phoniness in my performance.

I ripped the paper from the box with total abandon! the end of the box had been stapled shut, but I just ripped right through that meager obstacle and went right for the kill! I tilted the box up just a bit to get the contents to slide out and sure enough; It was a table top hockey game. Well, that didn't call for acting at all. I was genuinely surprised. No. I was shocked.

About that time, our phone rang. On the other end was my best friend, Pat. Pat, as it turns out was quite excited. It seems he got an electric guitar for Christmas. My folks and Pat's folks outfoxed us. My gifts were hidden at his house and his at mine.

When Pat kept going on about what a cool guitar it was, I just couldn't take anymore. I interrupted him and asked him, "Is it a black and white six string like Carl Wilson (Beach Boys) plays?" He sounded kind of surprised at the question, but still answered, "yes." "It's USED!" I shouted into the phone and hung up.



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