Pettiness is one of the driving forces of humans as a species, meaning that we’re all petty as can be—yes, even you (ESPECIALLY YOU). But with that in mind, few of us have the petty stamina to keep it going for almost half of a century.
But even the pettiest hearts melt.
Enter Adrian Pearce, a 65-year-old Edmonton man who has reached previously uncharted levels of pettiness—a level of pettiness that has somehow, someway been around so long it’s kinda become sweet. Pearce, you see, got a present in 1970—a rectangular purple wrapped present–when he was 17 from Vikki, his then 15-year-old girlfriend who immediately turned on her heels and dumped his ass.
“I had a long walk home and I was all upset and angry, and all the things you feel when somebody breaks up with you," Pearce told the Canadian Press last year about his decades-old broken heart. "And so I fired the present under the Christmas tree. After my family opened their gifts at Christmas, there was still one Christmas gift left and it's the gift this girl Vicki had given me.”
“I told my family I'm never going to open that present."
At first, it was a way to get back together with the woman who stole his heart, he told CBC’s Edmonton AM, but when that didn’t go as planned he still kept the gift. Even through all the turmoils of life—moving, getting married, having kids, everything that comes with living—he kept that gift.
Furthermore, while he kept it he never did open that present but, year in, year out, he would take it out and put it under the tree during the holidays. Nothing was going to stop Pearce from putting the reminder of an almost half a century old breakup under the tree for some ungodly reason—well it seemed that way until his wife (who must have just loved this tradition) told him to stop and he relented.
“For about 20 years I put it under the Christmas tree and then [my wife and I] had children and one year my daughter, she was about five, just couldn’t understand why this one gift wasn’t being opened,” said Pearce on Edmonton AM. “That’s when my wife put her foot down and said ‘you can keep that gift, but I don’t want it under the tree anymore.’”
While the gift wasn’t under the tree he still had an attachment to it and, according to CP, would pull out the gift which is still featured Vikki’s original wrapping paper and just kinda look at it before putting it away.
Pearce posted about the gift on Facebook last year writing “the yellowed Cellotape (that’s what it was called then) will loosen a bit more, the corners will fray yet again and I will drag it out next season to enjoy the mystery of what lies inside.” This story struck a chord with folks last Christmas and it went viral leading Pearce to do a myriad of international interviews and news hits. The man has since written a soon to be self-published book about (platonically) reuniting with his ex-girlfriend called The 47-Year-Old Present.
Yup, through all the media attention, Vikki was able to get in touch with Pearce and he found out why, oh why, she dumped his ass so many years ago—she simply found someone she liked more. It wasn’t easy to find her as imposters posing as Pearce’s ex came forward after his story went viral for a taste of that sweet spotlight.
Well, now 48 years removed from initially getting the gift and his first taste of heartbreak Pearce is going to open up that bad boy! He said the reason he's going to be opening it is that he’s had some health issues and has come to realize “life can be changed in just a moment” so since both he and that woman are in good health they should open it “when everyone still can.” He’s actually selling tickets to the event (money is going to the Christmas Bureau) which is taking place in early December.
The thing is he’s still not going to be opening it.
"I vowed that I would never open it," he told the CBC. "So, to keep my word, I'm not going to open it."
Pearce said it might be his wife who opens it but excitedly followed it up by saying he invited his ex to come and open the gift—she says she gave it to him so long ago, she’s forgotten what it is.
I’m sure his wife is just pleased as punch over this.
Sign up for the VICE Canada Newsletter to get the best of VICE Canada delivered to your inbox.
Follow Mack Lamoureux on Twitter.