The deal on the floor where I work was that on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week, the Secret Santas were to sneak a gift worth $5 or less onto the desk of their designated recipient. Then, on Friday, during the big reveal, the Santas would present a final gift worth around $10, and after that we’d all have a potluck. (Oooh... potluck...)
I drew the name of a guy I don’t know very well, but thanks to some suggestions from his administrative assistant, managed to come up with some items that I thought couldn’t go wrong—some dark chocolate, an electronic game keychain, a video rental gift card, and for Friday, a remote-controlled model BMW. With batteries, of course.
And here’s what my Secret Santa left me:
Tuesday—$5 worth of scratch-off lottery tickets. I won $5. Free money! Nice!
Wednesday—Five Joe Mauer baseball cards in plastic sleeves (three from the minor leagues, two in Twins uniforms). Very nice!
Thursday—An 8″x10″ glossy color photo of Johan Santana, also in a plastic sleeve. EXCELLENT!
At this point I’m pretty sure my Secret Santa is a guy, not because of the baseball stuff, but because of the lottery tickets. A chick would never give another chick lottery tickets. It just doesn’t happen.
And I’m pretty sure it’s a guy who knows a little bit about baseball, because the progression from Joe Mauer to Johan Santana clearly implies that my Secret Santa understands the hierarchy of Minnesota Twin deliciousness. Plus, the fact that the items were in plastic sleeves indicates that my Secret Santa knew to go somewhere like the ProShop to purchase them.
Sure enough, a little while later, an executive who has talked ball with me on occasion, and who has even been known to pass some very choice game tickets my way every once in a while, stopped by my desk and confessed to being my Secret Santa. He said that he was going to be out of the office on Friday, so he was giving me my final gift right then, and then he handed me a yellowing copy of the StarTribune newspaper from October 28, 1991, the day after the Twins’ last World Series win.
The front page has a huge four-color photo of Dan Gladden being mobbed by teammates as he touches home plate in the 10th inning, and the giant red and blue headline says “Twincredible!” The sports section has another huge color photo of Kent Hrbek hugging Jack Morris.
I was speechless for a moment, and finally managed to say, “Are you sure you want to give this away?” “Yeah,” he said, “I’ve still got the Pioneer Press.” Then I remembered something.
“Oh! Hey!” I said, “You know who’s in here?” I began paging through the sports section, searching for it.
“My sweetie!” I said. “He used to cover the Twins for the Strib. Why can’t I find his name?”
I closed the sports section and then picked up the front page again. And there, right under the headline on the lead story (Oh, what an ending! Larkin’s big hit turns agonizing into ecstasy), I found him.