December 7, 2001
Some of you wrote to me to thank me for the holiday gift guide. While this should frighten and disturb me, I’m an open-minded guy, and know that people have different tastes. One person’s nose-hair trimmer is another person’s chance to stop having to sit across the dinner table from someone and think, "Geez, you could braid that, put beads on it, and tell people you accidentally inhaled a tennis player." But a few wrote to chastise me for not giving you enough ideas. "I have this friend," you say, "who has EVERYTHING!" Well, if you have a friend who has everything, they neither want nor need anything, right? In fact, you should be hitting them up for stuff. But there’s one thing that I’ll bet even the mythical person with everything doesn’t have. It’s a product so new and yet so amazingly useful that chances are no one has one and everyone will want one–and it’s only $59.95, plus shipping and handling. It’s…a blender that plugs into your car’s power outlet (formerly known as a cigarette lighter). Of course there are many, many, many devices that can now be plugged into a car power outlet, but can you think of one more useful than a blender?
Earlier this year my parents took a trip to Alaska, and came back with photos and wonderful stories of the majestic vistas, pristine wilderness, and rugged beauty of the 49th state. They said there was only one thing that would have made the trip complete: being able to chip off hunks of glacial ice and make blueberry daquiris under the Aurora Borealis. Okay, maybe frozen drinks on the tundra aren’t what you’re into, but think about this: how many times have you been on your way to work and suddenly realized that you’ve forgotten the milkshakes for your 9:00AM meeting? If only there were some way you could whip up milkshakes right there in your car. It would be even better if there were some sort of business that sold milkshakes, or beverages sort of resembling milkshakes but made with a combination of glue, fertilizer, and rendered animal by-products. Wait a minute–there are such businesses, and they’re everywhere! I guess we really do have everything now, and the irony is we don’t need it.
Enjoy this week’s offerings.
Christmas With Louise
[This article was submitted to a 1999 Louisville Sentinel contest to find out who had the wildest Christmas dinner. This won first prize]
As a joke, my brother used to hang a pair of panty hose over his fireplace before Christmas. He said all he wanted was for Santa to fill them. What they say about Santa checking the list twice must be true because every Christmas morning, although Jay’s kids’ stockings were overflowed, his poor panty hose hung sadly empty.
One year I decided to make his dream come true. I put on sunglasses and went in search of an inflatable love doll. They don’t sell those things at Walmart. I had to go to an adult bookstore downtown. If you’ve never been in an X-rated store, don’t go. You’ll only confuse yourself. I was there an hour saying things like, "What does this do?" "You’re kidding me! Who would buy that?"
Finally, I made it to the inflatable doll section. I wanted to buy a standard, uncomplicated doll that could also substitute as a passenger in my truck so I could use the car pool lane during rush hour. Finding what I wanted was difficult. Such dolls come in many different models. The top of the line, according to the side of the box, could do things I’d only seen in a book on animal husbandry. I settled for "Lovable Louise."
She was at the bottom of the price scale. To call Louise a "doll" took a huge leap of imagination.
On Christmas Eve, with the help of an old bicycle pump, Louise came to life.
My sister-in-law was in on the plan and let me in during the wee morning hours, long after Santa had come and gone, I filled the dangling pantyhose with Louise’s pliant legs and bottom. I also ate some cookies and drank what remained of a glass of milk on a nearby tray. I went home, and giggled for a couple of hours.
The next morning my brother called to say that Santa had been to his house and left a present that had made him VERY happy but had left the dog confused. She would bark, start to walk away, then come back and bark some more. We all agreed that Louise should remain in her panty hose so the rest of the family could admire her when they came over for the traditional Christmas dinner.
My grandmother noticed Louise the moment she walked in the door. "What the hell is that?" she asked. My brother quickly explained, "It’s a doll."
"Who would play with something like that?" Granny snapped. I had several candidates in mind, but kept my mouth shut. "Where are her clothes?" Granny continued. "Boy, that turkey sure smells nice, Gran," Jay said, trying to steer her into the dining room. But Granny was relentless. "Why doesn’t she have any teeth?" Again, I could have answered, but why would I? It was Christmas and no one wanted to ride in the back of the ambulance saying, "Hang on Granny, Hang on!" My grandfather, a delightful old man with poor eyesight, sidled up to me and said, "Hey, who’s the naked gal by the fireplace?" I told him she was Jay’s friend. A few minutes later I noticed Grandpa by the mantel, talking to Louise. Not just talking, but actually flirting. It was then that we realized this might be Grandpa’s last Christmas at home.
The dinner went well. We made the usual small talk about who had died, who was dying, and who should be killed, when suddenly Louise made a noise that sounded a lot like my father in the bathroom in the morning. Then she lurched from the panty hose, flew around the room twice, and fell in a heap in front of the sofa. The cat screamed. I passed cranberry sauce through my nose, and grandpa ran across the room, fell to his knees, and began administering mouth to mouth resuscitation. My brother fell back over his chair and wet his pants and Granny threw down her napkin, stomped out of the room, and sat in the car. It was, indeed, a Christmas to treasure and remember.
Later in my brother’s garage, we conducted a thorough examination to decide the cause of Louise’s collapse. We discovered that Louise had suffered from a hot ember to the back of her right thigh. Fortunately, thanks to a wonder drug called duct tape, we restored her to perfect health.
Louise went on to star in several bachelor party movies. I think Grandpa still calls her whenever he can get out of the house.