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Karma Cleanser

What's so bad about re-gifting my tacky holiday spoils?

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Every December my husband and I make the long and inconvenient trip to Connecticut to visit his family. I do get along with my in-laws but they are small-town, uneducated people who just happened to make a lot of money a few years back. They always spend a lot on us at the holidays. But most of the gifts they give are items we would never use, or presents that we find gaudy and, to be honest, a little laughable. We bite our lips and pretend to be thrilled with this stuff, knowing that we're going to laugh about it once we're alone later.

Last year I had a good idea of what to do with these tchotchkes. Rather than donating them to Goodwill, I wrapped up the least offensive items and gave them out as presents to our friends. My husband says I'm cheap for doing this and that it's disrespectful to his folks. He also says I'm playing with bad karma and that it will come back to haunt me when I least expect it. I say it's worth the risk and makes our yearly trip almost worthwhile. What do you think?

-- Frugal Elf

Re-gifting is a holiday tradition almost as old as eggnog, and one that can be just as intoxicating. Since the in-laws live several states away, you don't have to worry about the re-gift being spotted by the original giver, which is always a risk. Instead of worrying over bad karma, though, you'd best pay attention to your husband's feelings. He may chuckle with you in private, but even good-natured pokes at the family's pedigree may leave lasting marks.

Karma Cleanser:
My ex-boyfriend is a big loser who cheated on me for the last year of our relationship. Once I found out, I didn't break up with him. Instead, I borrowed my best friend's digital camera and took pictures of the big loser while he was sleeping. Did I mention he sleeps naked?

After we broke up, I asked my friend to post these photos on her website. Of course word got back to my ex, and he immediately called me up and cussed me out. My friend, meanwhile, wants to remove the photos because she says I'm overreacting. Am I overreacting? Will keeping those photos online prevent me from finding happiness in my next relationship?

-- Furious Flasher

The Karma Cleanser marvels at the ethical issues we face in this digital age; surely our grandparents never had to deal with online dick shots and such. Revenge, however, is a timeless concept. You've made your point, now trash the photos and get on with your life.

Send confessions and questions about how to avoid karmic retribution to karma@creativeloafing.com, or to Karma Cleanser, Creative Loafing, 750 Willoughby Way, Atlanta, Ga. 30312. All entries are anonymous, of course.

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