I have to admit I’m not a shopper, and this time of year makes me pretty antsy. Someone asked the other day if I went out on Black Friday and joined the throngs looking for a good deal, and an expletive shot out of my mouth before I could stop it. Probably not good holiday form, I suppose. Shopping-induced Tourette’s Syndrome.
My vision of Black Friday is standing outside of some superstore with a herd of people going insane like Auburn Defensive Coordinator Will Muschamp when he doesn’t like a call. (Speaking of Muschamp, I think his prescription is ready.) Even on a good day, going to a superstore is right below getting a prostate exam on my list of things I’d like to do.
A few years ago a Wal-Mart worker was trampled to death by people stampeding in to find a great bargain on microwaves, My Little Ponies or vats of mayonnaise. They actually killed a man. I’m not sure even Muschamp would do that, although I was pretty sure he was going to slap an official last weekend at the Iron Bowl. So it is kind of easy to imagine a hoard of Muschamps trampling a football official while in an insane rage. But that doesn’t really have anything to do with shopping does it?
The thought of getting on a slam-packed Airport Boulevard in search of gifts for loved ones takes me to a very dark place. Before I head out on such a driving adventure I have to go over a few self-imposed rules: No getting out of the car in traffic. No flipping off anyone over the age of 90 or anyone with young children in the car. And making eye contact with other drivers is bound to start trouble.
I usually like to have a good idea of what I’m buying someone before heading out, otherwise I end up drifting around from store to store, getting tired and going home. This lack of determination is the major reason my sister-in-law just got last year’s Christmas gift from me last week. I have good intentions, but I just get too distracted.
With a few occasional exceptions I tend to find the gifts I need, usually by staying out of the malls and Wal-Marts, and going with the locals. But the bigger problem I have at Christmas is telling people what I want. Now that Thanksgiving is over, people are starting to ask what I’d like, and the truth is I really never know.
There are some answers that easily pop to mind — a condo in the Turquoise building in Orange Beach, an island, a Bengal tiger — but it’s a bit much to ask friends or relatives to try to wrap an island or a tiger. The problem, as you can tell, is I generally want something I wouldn’t get for myself. Even if it’s something I need, like new shoes or pants, it seems like I should handle things like that myself, even if my shopping phobia means I generally don’t. Most of my friends tell me I’m hard to buy for.
The past few days I’ve been trying to look around on the web for things I might want, but I’m not so sure it’s helping. When I looked for unusual gifts, I found things like a Yoda/Santa yard ornament, a lamp shaped like a pistol and a guard that protects your fancy hipster mustache from beer suds. None of those were things I want, except for the mustache guard, but I’m way too old for a styled hipster ‘stache.
New-fangled contraptions are always sort of exciting to get, even though most of the time they just end up in the back of my closet. Over Thanksgiving weekend, for instance, I spent a lot of time flying my brother’s drone around. It didn’t have the capability to take out terrorist leaders or anything like that, but it was really fun to pilot. I was thinking having a drone might be really cool and cutting-edge, but after more consideration, I’m not sure it’s a great idea.
I’m sure if I were flying my drone around, the neighbors would immediately become concerned it would be used to hover outside their bedroom windows and snap photos. That’s a crazy fear, of course. I use a ladder for that. But even the idea of someone in the neighborhood having a drone would probably make the non-drone owners nervous. Certainly anyone growing weed in the backyard would be paranoid. Plus, I get the feeling the government might start listening to more of my conversations if I had a drone.
So no drone.
Most of the things I really want probably don’t exist. For instance it would be really cool to have a ray gun like the one in “Star Trek” where it could be set to stun if you just wanted to knock people out. I would love an app on my iPhone that could talk to Siri and make her understand what I just said. A robot maid might be cool too.
I know those are all long shots, but they’re on my list. And if anyone can find an angry Will Muschamp yard gnome, I’m game.