In December of 2004, You Learned:
HOW TO GET YOURS ACROSS IN THE ELEVENTH HOUR.
To tremble readers, my sincerest wishes for a very happy new year. Please, don't mess it up like you did last year.
HOW TO STAY BEHIND IN POTTERSVILLE.
Many American children whiled away Christmas Eve dreaming of sugar plums, or at least wondering what sugar plums are. And then perhaps wondering why they didn't have some sugar plums right now, and questioning whether their parents really loved them because, if they did love them, wouldn't sugar plums be the first order of business for Christmas? Or any other day? The kids in that poem were dreaming of sugar plums – were they rich? I can't remember. The point is, sugar plums weren't some kind of impossible, or surreal vision. Those kids had likely eaten some sugar plums before, probably recently. OK, yes, sugar plums don't really dance so in that respect the dream had an element of surrealism to it but that's just the nature of dreams. Images drag themselves from your subconscious and take unusual shapes or shift context but the fact is we don't dream of anything we can't conceive. So if these kids were dreaming of sugar plums, surely a big bowl of fresh sugar plums weren't totally out of the picture. Or they would have drawn the distinction between "dreaming of" sugar plums – suggesting a priori knowledge – and "fantasizing about" sugar plums, which is what some kids probably did on Christmas eve, because their parents are simply awful. Awful and selfish, and maybe they'd benefit from spending just a little less time hanging stockings with care, and a little more time getting their shit together vis a vis sugar plums.
So, while those other kids were dreaming of sugar plums or dying on the inside, I was reeling from the carb-shock of too much pizza. Pizza was eaten because I found myself too depressed to cook and the burrito place had the good sense to close on Christmas Eve. My day laid itself out as such: After returning some hideous pants that had been impulsively purchased as an extension of some far-fetched fantasy that I might successfully play the role of Caucasian – being white is my personal sugar plum, and knowing how ridiculous I look in tartan plaids and broken-in chinos is my personal Vietnam – I dropped in to see a 5pm screening of the new film, Closer. Closer is a strange movie. At one point, Natalie Portman's character is asked to comment on an exhibit of tremendous Avedon-esque portraits of strangers. (Portman is out of her depth in this film, by the way. She plays the giddy moments wonderfully, but she plays coy and vicious like a seven year-old girl clomping around in her mommy's shoes.) She believes the show is a lie – it's a collection of images of sad, lonely, broken people, made beautiful through the photographer's process so the viewers can feel something uplifting regardless of the subjects' misery. I found this comment very telling since Closer is essentially a film about exquisitely beautiful, desirable people acting sad, lonely, and broken. Jude Law, don’t cry! Finish up this scene and several hungry mouths will be waiting for you in your trailer, ready to kiss your skin. The only true moment in the film – which is a somewhat excellent and devastating film in a lot of respects – is when Julia Roberts says, "I'm disgusting." Faced! Julia Roberts, you are now feeling the shockwaves of the "OH SHIT EFFECT™!"
Spending Christmas Eve amongst last-minute shoppers, and then to creep into the dark to see a movie about hurt, deceit, and the unfortunate and necessary compromises of love, only to follow that up with a one-man pizza party is kind of like embarking on a spiritual quest to vacuum all of the joy from one's life. The only activity missing from my holiday celebration was watching a baby freeze to death in the snow.
[A few words on eating pizza on Christmas Eve. I've possibly written about this before, and I've certainly spoken about it, but when I'm feeling sluggish and depressed I have a funny (and some would say counter-intuitive) method for comforting myself. I order a whole pizza. This is not an act of gluttony; I'm not one of those saddies who swallow their pain down with a tub of frosting. Actually, my motives are even more depressing. I regard the act of someone making a pizza especially for me like it's an act of genuine love. I somehow believe it means someone cares enough about me to do something unique and special, like make a pizza to order. There's really no other take-out cuisine like it. Chinese food is a handful of ingredients from a bunch of buckets and, on your plate, it has no beginning or end. Hamburgers are sort of the same, and a bit effortless. But pizza is as close as you can get to having something made from scratch. The dough needs to rise. It emerges from the oven whole – all yours. You open the box and you fool yourself into believing someone loves you enough to bake for you. I never finish the pie, even over several days, but being a little wasteful helps to perpetuate my necessary cycle of existential malaise and indulgence. ("You're just here, making more garbage. You make me sick. Now finish your root beer.") And, apropos of not much apart from a small bit of coincidence, I'd like to take this moment to point out that, as I'm typing this, my computer is serenading me with the old Philly soul song, "Lost The Will To Live." Subtle.]
As I walked into the pizza place I noticed the counter was bare, and one of the employees was Windexing the empty display cases. I already felt like a tremendous imposition, asking for pizza on Christmas Eve, so I turned to leave. One of the employees shouted to my back, "No, we open. We open. Whatchoo want, boss?" I decided this gave me permission to order, but I made sure to do so with a tremendous amount of lowered glances and prostrate apology swirled in for holiday cheer.
The pie guy (my optometrist says it doesn't matter how many times a pizza place changes management, as long as they have a good pie guy) seemed very frazzled, no doubt anxious to get home to his vast collection of illegal pornography. He was wearing a felt Santa Claus cap, and its colors appeared darker, and more intense, from having been soaked through with his head sweat. One of my favorite Christmas details – and by "favorite details," I mean it only in the Diane Arbus sense of the word – is seeing funny-shaped, awkward, and miserable people decked out in holiday accessories. Like homeless guys in Santa Caps. (a team of homeless guys in my neighborhood went caroling in those hats last weekend. It was clearly a spontaneous plan, and the results were hysterical. They used the holiday as a chance to walk along a crowded thoroughfare, screaming made-up Christmas songs at the top of their lungs, and asking for money from the very people whose peace they were disturbing. I think it was a pretty inspired form of revenge.) Or the thick-waisted, vaguely masculine Amtrak train conductor who decided today was a nice day to wear dainty little hanging earrings with red ornaments hanging from them. And, of course, the chubby, sweating, mustached pie guy who rushed my whole, fresh pizza into the oven while a Mexican teenager mopped the pizzeria floor around me.
[P.S. Apropos of nothing and everything, I hope you won't find this overbearing and preachy but I think it would be nice if you'd donate some money to relief for the impossibly large numbers of flood victims in Southeast Asia. This is a good place to start, if you want to see which relief organizations operate with the lowest overhead.]
HOW TO ATTEMPT AN AWKARD ASSIMILATION.
Happy Holidays, from my optometrist and me:
I'll be spending Christmas with my parents, wondering what to do. If you'd like, you can read about the Christmas Day I spent with my optometrist and his mother.
Here are the complete optometrist adventures, brought to you by tremble:
"Vision Obfuscated by Pork"
"How to Honor Your Country"
"How to Poison Yourself"
"How to Pick the Ponies"
HOW TO FIND YOUR POWER MOVE™.
This morning I woke up older than ever, but full of hope. I sat up in bed, fresh from a cookie-and-cheese-abetted dream and five hours of sleep, and decided I wanted to learn how to edit video, and create digital effects. (I can’t possibly know the source of this impulse.) I had all of these thoughts without the typical accompanying thought that often goes something like, “I just need to purchase this unreasonably expensive piece of equipment/software/fountain pen/jeans jacket, to make it all happen.”
I grew excited about writing again, and the prospect of reclaiming several languishing projects. I thought about unfinished jokes, and looked forward to pursuing comedy more aggressively as soon as possible. I decided that everything I’d once considered an adorable post on this site was now a TV SKETCH™ or a COMEDY ACT™ or a BOOK PROPOSAL™ or OTHER AWESOME AND POTENTIALLY PROFITABLE THING THAT MORE THAN TWO DOZEN GIRLS AT TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY WILL SEE™®©. I pointed to one of my cats and said, “This time next year, you’ll be eating steak au poivre and flourless Belgian chocolate cake! And we’ll have our own hot tub and genie.” I pumped my fists in the air, did twelve push-ups right on my mattress – and not the girl kind, leapt out of bed, slipped on a small pile of vomit (not mine), hit my head on the bed frame, and died – a winner, and a martyr.
HOW TO EAT RIGHT.
Last night I regressed, if mildly. After skipping dinner to catch a show (successfully, enjoyably) and purchase hair products (unsuccessfully, regrettably), I found myself puttering around my kitchen at 11:34pm, looking for things to press against or stir into or spread across other things in order to end up with something like a meal.
This search commenced after I dismissed my initial idea of walking 10 blocks for pizza. (I swear, if I thought it wouldn't result in exhaustion and distended bowels I would make every single day a pizza-party day. I love that stuff so much, even when it's the warmed-over kind with cheese that was never once chewy, and tastes like you ordered it at a roller-rink.) I am trying to be more frugal these days, as I have a way of making sure my future is uncertain. Plus, a friend of mine has been making me feel guilty for having too much stuff. I want to be more like Walt Whitman, but I think even Whitman would agree that TiVo is a pretty good idea in that it leaves more time for daylight constitutionals and gently poking at marvelous caterpillars with a hickory stick and such.
So, left with only the contents of my kitchen to guide me, I pulled some cheese (Iberico, because daddy doesn't roll with that pepper jack shit), hummus (fresh once, now a little tahini-stinky), olives, crackers, and eggs. Seeing all of these items spread out before me, it made me realize I have given up on preparing home-cooked meals in my apartment so completely that when I go grocery shopping I merely stock up on appetizers.
I chewed on a couple of things but the food, like so much of my life, felt very incomplete as a meal. It was a series of poorly focused scraps and momentary distractions without any real sense of commitment or follow-through.
Then I remembered that I'm a big boy and I can eat big boy food, so I made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, with a glass of chocolate milk. (Soy milk because big boys have big boy difficulties digesting cow milk. Please also note, in the photograph link, the suspicious background presence of a bottle of bubbles. I was just thinking about how great it would be to answer that "what did you do this weekend?" question with, "I was really tired from work, so I just stayed in and blew bubbles. It was fun. I popped a bunch of them and, on Saturday, I made a bubble inside a bubble. I forgot to take a picture of it, though, and it popped when it landed on my lollipop.") Here's the thing about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches: for an adult, they can be very centering. It's the dietary equivalent of finishing a difficult yoga class in child's pose. Maybe it's a generational thing, but preparing and eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as an adult makes me feel both accomplished – no one needed to make this for me, and I paid for all the ingredients, and could use a knife without supervision – and allows me to see my entire life stretched out, and realize that even with all the small bumps of existential crises, the landscape is still pretty smooth. I've probably changed a lot since I was a kid. I've become more jaded, of course, and more saggy and hairy and measured and self-conscious and taller and deviant and observant and my spelling has improved considerably. But it's nice to know I haven't lost my taste for certain things.
HOW TO SET A TENDER TRAP.
Two boxes of doughnuts are sitting in my building's foyer. The doughnuts have that inexperienced, cost-cutting glaze common to off-brand doughnuts – the kind that leaves the doughnuts looking like they've been left out in a rain for a few days, even though the seal on the box has never been broken.
I know it sounds crazy, but I want to eat those fucking doughnuts. Why can't I eat those fucking doughnuts?
Every time I walk by them – they've been resting in the foyer, those two boxes cuddled next to each other inside a plastic shopping bag, for two full days now, maybe more – I feel like Alex from A Clockwork Orange, painfully attempting to re-orient himself into society and resist his natural appetites. Except, my appetite is for doughnuts instead of raping and hitting old people with sticks.
Maybe that's a poor analogy. Imagine if, in A Clockwork Orange, instead of being a ultra-violent droog, Alex was a black bear and a forest ranger caught him eating garbage from a campsite and then shackled the bear into a chair with his eyelids forced open. Then, while a PA system thundered with the sound of the bear's favorite song – maybe the theme from Yogi the Bear or that song where the bears are tricked into picking up garbage in the park by performing the task to a catchy tune ("then you take the stick, put it in the bag – boom! boom!") – the forest ranger plays the bear continuous footage of black bears eating garbage and tearing apart picnic baskets while victimized campers cry.
I feel a lot like that bear/droog, released back into society, and those two boxes of doughnuts are a clever snare. I want to bite through the cardboard and eat those (24!) free doughnuts, but I won't. I can't. So, instead, I just slouch toward my apartment and eat the two boxes of doughnuts I went out of my way to buy at 3 in the morning, as a way of taking my mind off the free doughnuts in my lobby. And I feel like a productive member of society, even though at night I dream of having a bit of the old "in-out" – in this case, "in" being "doughnuts in my mouth" and "out" being "hot, glazed tears of joy streaming out of my morbidly obese eyes."
[post-script: someone ate some of the doughnuts. the bag is still there. i wish i could be that free.]
HOW TO DISPEL THE MYTHS OF HANUKKAH.
[This post was originally published in issue #2 of Jest Magazine. I think it's time to post it here.]
The holidays are upon us!
Like most Catholics, I am looking forward to Christmas with the limb-twitching anticipation of a small child. Unlike most Catholics, I am Jewish. That means I won’t be celebrating Christmas. Instead, I’ll be celebrating a less “mainstream,” but nonetheless magically mysterious holiday called “Hanukkah.”
Like it or not, there exists a great many misconceptions about the holiday Burl Ives once called “Christmas, minus joy.” As a service to non-Jews, I would like to answer some of the more common questions surrounding the great festival of lights. I hope this will serve as an invaluable reference guide to those wishing to better understand their dentists or moneylenders.
QUESTION #1: HOW DO YOU SPELL IT?
This question reminds me of a great trick I used to play in summer camp: I would approach the smartest kid in camp and say, “I’ve got a spelling challenge for you!” Then, once a crowd gathered, I would say, “Chrysanthemum is a tricky word. Well, I’ll bet you can’t spell it.”
I’d let him give it his best shot, take a dramatic pause, and say, “Ooh, I’m so sorry. The correct spelling is ‘I-T’. It. If you’d listened to my challenge carefully, you would have known I said, “I’ll bet you can’t spell ‘it’.” Then snatch the “World’s Smartest Camper” sash from him, place it around you, and run around in a circle shouting, “I AM SMARTER THAN MOSES!!”
What does this have to do with Hanukkah? How about everything? You see, there is no single correct spelling of the holiday. That’s one of its many mystical qualities. “Hanukkah” is perfectly acceptable when addressing gift cards. Alternately, any of the following spellings are also acceptable:
Star Trek II: Wrath of Khanukkah
QUESTION #2: WHAT DO THE HOLIDAY’S MANY SYMBOLS REPRESENT?
Hanukkah, like many Jewish holidays, is ripe with symbols. These symbols are inextricably bound to a rich Jewish history. Unfortunately, I don’t know any of it because I spent most of my time in Sunday school drawing pictures of the Incredible Hulk and Garfield. However, since even my patchwork knowledge of Jewish history far surpasses the information you non-Jews have gleaned from watching Friars’ Club roasts, I will do my best to illuminate your dark ignorance about the symbols of the Jewish faith.
The Menorah: This is the most commonly known symbol of Hanukkah. A menorah looks a bit like one of the tasteful candelabras Liberace kept perched atop his piano during intimate performances. Liberace was not Jewish. I cannot stress that enough.
There were 12 tribes in ancient Israel, six on the National team and another six on the American team. The menorah holds nine candles, with each flame representing one of the nine tribes that anyone cared about. Sincere apologies to the tribes of Levi, Dan and Expos. Maybe you should have worked harder on your bullpens.
The Dreidel: The dreidel symbolizes the Jewish people’s love of gambling. Dreidels have four sides, with each face marked by a Hebrew character. Children spin the dreidel and pray that it lands on the side that symbolizes “take everyone’s pennies and, as you slide them all to your pile, laugh maniacally to rub it in.”
The Chalice of Immortality: In my family, we would traditionally bring this out on the first night of Hanukkah. My father would recite a prayer as we passed the chalice around, taking turns drinking the blood of Christians from it. Every Jewish family I know has one of these but for some reason they are not as commonly associated with Hanukkah as the menorah or those chocolate coins, which, if I’m not mistaken, also contain the blood of Christians. For confirmation on that last part, I’d suggest consulting a rabbi or chocolatier.
QUESTION #3: WHY IS HANUKKAH CELEBRATED OVER EIGHT DAYS?
This question finds its answer in the Old Testament. If you do not have a copy handy, you can also consult Stan Lee’s book, How To Draw Comics the Old Testament Way. The Maccabees, who were later known as The Anheuser-Busch Maccabees, were everyone’s favorite tribe and were charged with protecting the temple. According to the Old Testament, they fucked up. The temple was destroyed by trolls, and the Maccabees were left in the rubble. One of the Maccabees had the idea that they should re-build the temple before God showed up, or they would all get in huge trouble. It was decided that the work required to erect a temple—even a lousy one—was nothing compared to the guilt they would feel when they saw God’s disappointed face, so they got to work.
There was only enough lamp oil to light them for a single day, but by some miracle that oil lasted a full eight days. That still wasn’t enough time to build a whole temple and God smote the Maccabees upon his return, but you have to admit that eight days is still nothing to sneeze at. Some say the nine candleholders represent each of the eight days the lamp oil stayed lit, and the ninth candle represents the day God killed all the Maccabees and arranged their slaughtered bodies to spell out the words “HAPPY HANUKKAH (OR CHANUKKAH – WHATEVER YOU LIKE).”
QUESTION #4: DO JEWISH PEOPLE REALLY JUST WISH THEY CELEBRATED CHRISTMAS?
No, but Jewish people do wish they celebrated Easter instead of Passover. Consider the contrast between chocolate bunnies and unsalted matzo, and try to convince an eight-year-old child that he’s one of the chosen people.
QUESTION #5: DO YOU REALLY GET GIFTS FOR EIGHT DAYS IN A ROW? IF SO, THAT KICKS CHRISTMAS’ ASS.
Yes and no. Let me explain. Getting gifts for eight days in a row may sound fantastic but try to imagine how you’d feel staring at a pile of gifts, opening one, and discovering it contains only the left partner of a pair of slippers. Add to that the following night’s anxiety of trying to avoid opening what you know will be nothing but the other slipper.
This prolonged cycle of stress and disappointment may be the single most Jewish tradition of them all.
QUESTION #6: SO, LET ME REITERATE MY PREVIOUS QUESTION. DO JEWISH PEOPLE REALLY JUST WISH THEY CELEBRATED CHRISTMAS?
*Sigh.* Yes. (sound of pistol being cocked.)
HOW TO MAKE SURE YOUR GREATEST MOMENTS DO NOT GO UNNOTICED.
I am on fire today. As I was preparing my entry into a coffee shop, and holding the door for a slow-moving convoy of moms and strollers, one of the mothers (I know she was a mom, and not a nanny, because she was white) asked me how the rain was. Surprise small talk – my greatest weakness. However, I rallied myself and replied, "Well, that depends on how you feel about rain." We both laughed and laughed and laughed and embraced and our eyes held each other, hers regarding an old soul and mine cradling a student with so much to learn, and our twin brains nodding in unison, agreeing that I had conjured up the greatest of all possible responses to her banal, weather-related inquiry. If I had a lariat and syphillis you would have sworn I was Will G-Damn Rogers.
Moments later, I was waiting in line for a latte with a shot of vanilla (wink!), and one of the coffee shop's resident mothers ahead of me in line perched her baby-man upon the counter where he would enjoy a more fortuitous view of the glassed-in walls of Muffin Town. The mother pointed to several different residents of Muffin Town, and chose the muffin that elicited the loudest coo from her baby-man. (I should explain. I'm only calling him a baby-man because he was a baby dressed like an architect. I find this strange, and I guess Baby Gap started this trend in dressing babies like gainfully employed men and women, when everyone knows babies should be dressed crazy, in frog outfits and superman capes and gum wrappers, simply because they are too young to assume the responsibilities of, say, a Gap night manager.)
Next, the mother paid for said muffin and the coffee shop employee (dressed exactly like this woman's baby-man!) placed said muffin on a ceramic muffin resting-plate. Then the mother, clearly mistaking her own perched baby-man for a real man with fully developed motor skills (Nice one, Baby Gap!), decided to let the baby-man hold the muffin resting-plate upon which a blueberry muffin was precariously (from the perspective of a baby) balanced. Naturally, as soon as the mom scooped up her baby-man, he tipped his muffin resting-plate and the muffin tipped away. That's when I, with senses sharpened from my previous witty rejoinder* (*see Paragraph one of Tremble's True Tales of Spectacular Small Talk, Issue #137), snapped a hand out and caught the muffin on a single bounce, from the plate to the counter, just before it was about to embark on a second bounce, ON THE FILTHY, RAT FECES-COATED COFFEE SHOP FLOOR. I don't even remember my arm darting out, it happened so fast. Then I placed the muffin back on its resting-plate, and received an indifferent "thanks" from the mother and a "good show, dear chap," from the baby-man.
I was electrified by this moment, and the coffee shop employee informed me that what he just witnessed was akin to "The Immaculate Reception." I couldn't have agreed more, honestly. In fact, I was glad someone saw it all happen, and appreciated for what it was: The Single Greatest Moment Of My Entire Life.
[Post-Script: I pushed it. Feeling a bit self-important after my conversation-action combo, I instigated small talk with a couple of strangers sitting next to me at the coffee shop. The circumstances were such: a small child on the other side of the lounge had found something hard and wooden and discovered, if one were to take this hard and wooden thing and smash it with all his might against a larger hard and wooden thing, it would make a very loud sound. And then, if those two hard and wooden objects were smashed against each other repeatedly, with no discernible rhythm, it would be Awesome™. So, the people sitting to my left, who up until this point were exchanging phrases such as "we want to know ourselves" and "it's part of the whole internal energetic patterns of zzzzzz," became very annoyed by the baby and his racket, and made many baby-hating jokes about why people should never breed. All of these jokes made them laugh very loudly. Thinking I could do no wrong here, I turned to them and said, "Don't be so hard on the baby. He's building book shelves." They both looked at me for a moment, and their blinks of indifference were almost audible. Then they went back to talking about "the winds of shiva" and why everyone should see that movie, What the BLEEP Do We Know and zzzzzzz.]
HOW TO CORRUPT A MINOR.
HOW TO SEE AMERICA'S GLORIOUS GLORY THROUGH A GLORY-HOLE.
For my parents, Thanksgiving dinner is a minor footnote to a weekend of indiscriminate bargain-priced holiday consumption. Thanksgiving's main course is Black Friday – the cruelest shopping day in the calendar year, and one area in which our country can still confidently call itself the world's leading superpower.
As soon as my parents picked me up from the train station last Wednesday night and loaded me into their Subaru Forrester – rated number one in safety in its class, my mother repeatedly reminds me – they outlined this year's most important shopping mission very clearly. They had their sights set on Wal-Mart (they would have to choose from one of two Wal-Marts in their area) where, for a limited time, between the hours of 6am and 9am on Friday morning, they would be offering a DVD player on sale for seventeen dollars and seventy-eight cents.
Seventeen dollar and seventy-eight cents. For a DVD player. The mind reels. There aren't enough international child labor law loopholes to exploit in order to make a seventeen dollar DVD player profitable. You would actually have to invent new child labor laws, and violate those, just to break even. And, though my parents often accuse me of being a bit of a consumer elitist (see previous post), you don't have to have Bang & Olufsen on speeddial to expect that, as a general rule, a DVD player should cost more than a DVD. That's simple economics. A toaster should cost more than a piece of toast. A toilet should cost more than a glass of urine. And, it would follow, a DVD player should definitely cost more than a DVD of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days – even the widescreen director's cut.
But my parents kept assuring me the seventeen dollar DVD player was a name brand. Unfortunately, that brand name was "Tupperware." But my mother already owned several Tupperware serving bowls, and one of their desktop computers, and was very happy with those, so this was an argument I could not win.
For those of us who happily live our blissfully ignorant, spoiled lives in metropolitan cities, visiting a Wal-Mart is like being unplugged from The Matrix. Wal-Mart is the red pill, if the red pill came in ranch flavor. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, you will find the floors of any Wal-Mart swarming with morbidly obese Americans navigating electric carts to help them shop at maximum efficiency without the risk of fatigue cardiac arrest. And, when I visited with my parents, I found many of those morbidly obese, scooter-propelled Americans wearing yellow LIVESTRONG Lance Armstrong bracelets, sometimes one on each wrist. For some people, the bracelets were cutting so deep into the extra flesh around their wrists that their hands had turned blue and numb, rendering them unable to grip the E.L. Fudge Nutrition Bars and Head and Shoulders brand radial tires they'd pulled from the shelves in a frenzy.
The shopping trip did have a happy ending, I'm afraid. My parents were not able to get their seventeen dollar and seventy-eight cent DVD player. It seems, at the last minute, the DVD players were pulled from inventory when one of the stock boys discovered that many of them were filled with Mexican jumping spiders. But my parents found all sorts of other great gifts. One of Wal-Mart's big Christmas items this year is a La-Z Boy recliner chair for small children. The child pictured on the box – she was no more than 7 years old – appeared relaxed and, not surprisingly, a little drunk. The chair includes side pockets for remote controls, crayons, and valium, and a drink holder that comfortably accomodates a Capri Sun juice pouch.
Camouflage – both as practical cover and decoration – was everywhere, as if Wal-Mart knows something we don't. I even saw a display teddy bears fabricated with camouflage material, which is a good idea only if the United States is in danger of land invasion by the small, vigilant nation of Babystan.
My parents grabbed two teddy bears for their grandchildren and, just before we made it to the check-out line, my dad remembered he needed to pick up some laundry detergent. Tide was having a sale on limited edition jugs of "Enduring Freedom" scented detergent with Colorfast™ action. The packaging was Tide-orange, white & blue and claimed, "THESE COLORS DON'T RUN – AND NEITHER WILL YOURS!"