Six years ago, Josh bought me a wonderful birthday present. Such was my excitement that I wrote an excessively long blog entry about it. While the whole essay was really just an excuse to show off my vintage gumball machine, the frame story was about how some people are excellent gift-givers, and the gumball machine indicated that Josh was among that proud group. I bragged that I had years of excellent gifts to look forward to. Apparently, rather than be pleased that I enjoyed my gift so much, he took it as a challenge that every single gift he bought me had to be to up to the standard set by the beautiful, vintage, cherry red gumball machine.

A few days before Christmas, he announced that he had bought my present. I asked for clues, and he told me that it was blue.

"Is it a puppet?" I asked, because there was no way in the world I was going to be able to guess based on the fact that the thing was blue.

"Yes. And no." He answered, which was not as helpful as I'd hoped. That lead to a discussion of all the things that could be puppets, such as purses or tea kettles, basically anything that you can make talk. In fact, a day or two later, I told him that I'd bought his present, and that it was not and yet was a puppet (it was a book).

It turned out that he was lying. My present was blue, and it was definitely a puppet. It was in no way not a puppet. More specifically, it was a Muppet.

Actually, to be excruciatingly specific, it was an Anything Muppet, or a Whatnot. These are blank Muppets that you can stick features onto to create multiple characters. They are generally used as extras or one-off characters, because of their versatility.

And now I have one, because the world is an amazing place.

Not only can you switch out the nose, eyes, and hairpieces, you can position the features to change the expression, too. The kit also comes with a rod to attach to the hands so that the Muppet can make dramatic arm movements.

As I was gleefully playing around with the different faces, Josh said that he had finally topped the gumball machine, and I found out about all his gift anxiety caused by a silly old blog entry. Then I realized what a great frame story that anxiety would make for me to tell you about the most fantastic Christmas present I got this year. It's blue, and it's a puppet.

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