'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
CHRISTMAS GIFT-GIVING ADVICE FOR THE GUYS
OK, fellas, wake up. It is now December 22nd, which means Christmas Day is right around the corner. It seems like December 1st was just a couple of days ago, doesn’t it? You thought you had all the time in the world to get the perfect Christmas gift for your wife, didn’t you? You said this year would be different, and you wouldn’t race around in a last-minute panic like last year, right?
But then what happened? You got distracted. You sincerely planned to go to shopping weeks ago, but something urgent came up, namely a crucial football game. (“Crucial” being defined as any game whatsoever that is broadcast on TV.)
Now you’re starting to panic, aren’t you? You’re beginning to have frightening visions of the “Ghosts of Lousy Christmas Gifts Past,” horrible specters that Dickens originally planned to include in his classic story, but removed at the last minute because he only wanted to scare people, not traumatize them for life.
Well, get real, men. After all, we’re guys. The odds of us doing Christmas shopping early—this year or any year—are the same odds that Osama bin Laden will be named the next pope. You see, as men, we were born without the “gift-giving” gene. This does not mean we have no desire to buy something very lovely and expensive for our wives. It just mean we have no clue what will make her truly happy.
Since I have almost three decades of experience of how NOT to do it, as a public service I will share some of my horrific “Ghosts of Lousy Christmas Gifts Past.” If you simply buy your wife something that is NOT on my list, you have a great chance of making her happy.
There are two common traits of bad Christmas gifts. The first is functionality. The more functional an item is, the less “special” it is. (I put the word special in quotes because, frankly, I have no idea what it means. I just know from trial-and-error experience the more practical and useful a gift is, the less likely it will make her happy.)
So this means the following items, which I bought as gifts for my wife over the years, are not good choices, despite the fact they are all very functional and very necessary products: washing machine, toaster oven, vacuum cleaner, mop & bucket, spackle, frying pan, leaf blower, motor oil, ice scraper, snow tires, and the 10-disc DVD boxed set “History of the Boston Red Sox.”
The other trait of bad Christmas gifts is whether it’s a multi-user item. In other words, can someone else besides your wife enjoy it? If so, its “specialness” is diluted. (Again, in quotes. I don’t get it, but it’s true.)
A big-screen TV is a great gift, right? Wrong! Even though your wife will watch it sometimes, be honest. Over 80-percent of the time the TV will be tuned to crucial football games. So it’s really more of a gift for you than for her. The same goes for computers, concert tickets, restaurant gift cards, cruises, and most especially, negligees.
So it really boils down to a simple formula. The perfect Christmas gift must have no discernable function and must be enjoyed ONLY by your wife. One item fits the bill perfectly: jewelry.
So, men, get out there in the next two days and find a jewelry store. And remember, it’s your patriotic duty during this recession to stimulate the economy. The bigger and shinier the better.
Or, if you’re on a budget, buy her something else that is equally as functionless and for her only: a tattoo.
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