My mother called me today to give me her Christmas wish list, which I greatly appreciate. She really doesn't need another piece of cookware shaped like a hen or perfumes that will go unused so many years that they turn into "Stale-limar." This was the best part of the conversation:

Mom: I would like something that plays songs.

Me: Songs?

Mom: Yes, songs on tape and CD that I can bring with me from room to room.

Me: Oh, you want a boombox?

Mom: Oh no, just something very small that plays songs. Something that would fit in my purse.

Me: But you want speakers, right?

Mom: How would I hear it otherwise?

Me: With headphones or earbuds.

Mom: Oh no no no no...I don't want anything in my ears. No. I want speakers.

Me: Well, there isn't anything that has speakers and plays cassettes and CDs that would fit in your purse. I could get you something small with a handle, though. I think. Most people are buying digital files for music now and use tiny little iPods.

Mom: Do the iPods also play cassettes and CDs?

Me: No.

Mom: Well, I don't want to be a bother...

Me: No no! I can find you something for sure. What made you think about this now anyway?

Mom: I'd like to have some music in the background because TV is shitty.

Me: (giant laughter)