One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.
There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.
Then Jim came home and she gave him the $1.87. He then gave her $0.94, being $1.87 divided in two, with Della receiving the odd penny because Jim was nothing if not a gentleman.
"This seems practical," Jim said.
"Yes," Della said. "I am pleased that we submitted this situation to rigorous economic analysis and arrived at an outcome that maximizes efficiency while minimizing uncertainty."
The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication.
And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two very sensible children in a flat who through cold, calculated analysis, did not sacrifice anything and proceeded according to the light of pure logic.
But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts, these two were just the absolute fucking worst.
O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are the absolute worst. Everywhere they are the absolute worst.
They are not the magi.
They are robotic dipshits.
On December 27, they broke up.
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