Christmas Booze & Other Insane Gifts

December, 2003

Why is it that everybody who comes to my house during the holiday season feels obliged to bring me a bottle of wine or some other more potent intoxicant as a 'holiday treat'?  I am not against occasionally sampling the
stuff with a good dinner or such-- but by New Year's Day each year my refrigerator amasses such a collection of various alcohol based fluids that I could either start a fraternity or finish a board meeting with the Kennedys. On top of that, most of us around my family can't drink the stuff anyway-- because it will interfere with our medications.   Maybe my friends think that a bottle of  white zinfandel is the price of admission to the Maloney ranch-- either that or they think that they are going to need it just to stick around. As you probably know, alcohol is a great preservative; it is well known to be able to preserve everything except secrets --or relationships.

In a couple of weeks, the jolly, fat, red pagan greases himself down your chimney. Are you ready?  Just in case you haven't finished your Christmas shoplifting, here are a few last minute gift ideas for those hard to buy for
on your list.

I was looking at a drug store ad and I saw the perfect example of really, really bad marketing:  Swiss Army cologne. Yes, the same brand name of those little pocket knives -- now available in a fragrance. I don't know about you, but I certainly wouldn't want anybody I know to smell like any army, Swiss or otherwise. Barracks bouquet.  A whole new meaning to the term 'eau du toilette'. I saw that the fragrance called 'Eternity' comes with a free wristwatch-- why? They offer the same free wristwatch with 'Obsession'-- that make some sense- if you are obsessed with time.
(A quick aside about fragrance ads that come in the newspaper-- you are supposed to be able to pop open a flap on the ad and smell the scent of the cologne, perfume or whatever. It never works for me-- I snap open the little flap, take a sniff-- and the wafting aroma gives me a vision of a lovely woman, provocatively dressed and smiling at me she is while operating a printing press at the newspaper plant. No matter what they do, it still
smells like ink to me.)

This year's award for the most tiny plastic pieces ever put inside a box under a tree goes to the LEGO Star Wars Imperial Star Destroyer set.  3,104 little Lego pieces for the bargain price of $299.  If you are a bachelor
uncle, this is the perfect present to send any nephew into sensory overload, and irritate his parents at the same time. It's a great double-edged strategy.

Some selected treadmills sold at Sears come with a free heart rate monitor. I guess that this is OK, but a better idea would be to install them into telephones. Anybody can tell that their heart rate will jump while hobbling
down a treadmill, but who knows what your heart will do while you are on the phone with your suppliers, coworkers and customers. Maybe when your heart rate tops 400 it will call for an ambulance. I know any number of people (including myself) who could benefit from this.  Maybe next year.

Canine and feline breath mints are a holiday idea whose time has come. Most large dog's exhalations lead you the nearly inescapable conclusion that they have swallowed whole carcasses of dead raccoons. Cats are not much different- they make up for their small size with incredible potency. Once a cat yawned while sitting on my lap, and I was sure that a nearby sewer had just backed up. If you are having a holiday party, it might be nice to sweeten Fido or Fluffy's breath a little before you let them loose around the guests. Otherwise there might be a bit of unnecessary swooning around the buffet table. Pet breath fresheners make a great gift, but if I were you
I'd give them anonymously. You may live longer that way.

I've been married long enough to know what women want, and it is not a talking bathroom scale. Nor is it a health club membership, ab/thigh/buttmaster, epilator or Botox. Neither snow, nor rain nor gloom of night will stay the courier of the wrath of Biblical proportion that will be imparted unto you -- if you are stupid enough to give the woman in your life one of these. Even the Hope diamond won't buy off the plagues that will descend on you- if you make a present of anything that carried the ghost of a hint that you suspect that her physical properties are less than absolutely perfect. Don't be a martyr.

This year's most obnoxious gift idea is a Kleenex tissue dispenser that is shaped like the a Tiki statue head-- with the individual tissues being drawn forth from under the Tiki's nose. If they came out with a Tiki toilet paper
dispenser-- I wouldn't buy it either.

Maybe a bottle of wine isn't such a bad gift after all.

Merry Christmas to all!


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