Your Desperation Christmas Gift Guide

Now with bonus graph paper!

Deb and I agreed a long time ago that we would only do stockings for each other at Christmas. But, lo and behold, every Christmas morning, there’s a present for me under the tree marked from the dog or the cats. The only problem is: the pets do a lousy job shopping for my wife.

So if you’re like our household beasts, you’re probably running around looking for last-minute gifts and dragging your rear across the carpet floor. I can’t help you with the latter, but I can offer some gift suggestions so you don’t end up in the doghouse. (Get it?)

Infinite Pot
Hot on the heels of last year’s Instant Pot craze, the Infinite Pot creates perfect meals every single time – somewhere among an infinite number of alternate timelines. Will it be the timeline you’re currently in with your guests impatiently waiting as your partner stalls by explaining the intricacies of crop rotation? Or will it be the timeline in which you convince Paul McCartney not to write “Wonderful Christmastime” and are hailed an international hero? And in which timeline will your meatballs be succulent? What about Paul McCartney’s? Only time and space will tell. Continue reading

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Home for the Hollandaise: A Hallmark Christmas Movie

I know what you’re thinking: what’s a beautiful, successful New York gal like me doing in a Podunk town like Blamperville? I asked myself the same question when I first got here. Being a beautiful, successful New York journalist with unlimited vacation days, I came back home that early December to help my aging ferrets move out of the cardboard box they had raised me in – the only box I had ever known.

“We need a smaller, more practical box, Selina,” said my dad ferret. “Your mother and I just can’t shred newspaper like we used to.” And then he crawled up my pant leg. Continue reading

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It’s a Wonderful Soap

Looks delicious

Donning my traditional Christmas shopping outfit (elf shoes with bells; tights; that’s it), I set out on the weekend to look for gifts at some of the holiday markets that pop up this time of year. I entered the first church basement and began to circulate, making sure to not make eye contact with the vendors who stared like rabid, bloodthirsty hounds – but in a good way.

I glanced at the first kiosk: soap. An assortment of colourful, handmade soaps. Packages in pyramids, balls in buckets, slabs in spittoons. You can’t go wrong with soap, I thought.

I moved along. Huh: another soap vendor. “Luxurious Lavender,” “Pampered Peppermint,” “Gentle Giblets.” A soap for every taste.

Then another soap vendor, then another. I stepped back. I apologized for stepping on that woman’s foot. I stepped back again. I looked around. The kiosks: they were all selling soap! Continue reading

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Riffing on rims

Rims. We got rims. Rims for sale, rims to give. For all your rim needs. Rims R Us. Rim-A-Palooza. Rim-Tin-Tin. Fill it to the brim with rims.

We got tires on rims. Rims on tires, just in a great big, precarious stack, violating safety standards and posing a wheel and present danger to toddlers and cats, and what are you doing letting your toddler wander around a stack of rims/tires anyway? That’s just bad parenting. The cats can take care of themselves.

Everyone’s in a last-minute rush to get their winter tires on before the snow comes three weeks ago. So we all go into our backyard garages or designated domestic junk space and wonder, “Where on earth did those rims come from?”

And of course we got tires. It goes without saying, the tires. Tiers of tires. A tumult of tires. As the scripture says, “For where two or three tires are gathered together, there shall be five to seven more in the midst of them, it’s just the way it is, bro.” Continue reading

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Permission to have the blues

I’m not going to lie, it’s been a rough week, for a number of reasons, not least being that I’m coming up to one year since my surgery for prostate cancer. Right now I’m in the clear, but you’re never entirely in the clear with cancer.

The thing is, I anticipated that I might feel weird around this time. But knowing the train is coming doesn’t make it any easier when you’re tied to the track.

It’s been a year of adjusting to changes in my body, a daily reminder that I’m the same, just different.

This is particularly true in my perceptions of my masculinity (such as it is). It’s as though my dog ran away. The doctors assure me, “Oh, your dog will come back. It just might take a while. But he’ll come back.” But what if he doesn’t? I mean, it’s been a year. I haven’t had a dog in a year. I loved that dog. I played with that dog all the time. Just loved taking that dog out. Poor dog.

The anniversary also coincides with my birthday, and getting older is turning out to be a lot less fun than I thought it would be. Maybe I’ll feel better once those senior discounts kick in, because I may not be young but I’m cheap. Continue reading

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Yoga: Self-Taught

I can do this, except I call it “tripping.”

I begin by finding a quiet place. There is snow on the ground, so that means the neighbours have decided the street is a snowmobile drag strip; there is no quiet place. I reach deep within myself to find a centre of calm and deep within the drawer to find a pair of earplugs.

I make sure I am wearing something comfortable. I am comfortable in blue jeans. It’s a habit I can’t break, even though I know it’s not a good look, a man over 50 wearing saggy-ass denim all the time outside work hours. But this is my spiritual journey and these are my Kmart Wranglers.

I centre myself in a spacious room, away from open windows where people walking by might see me and wonder if I’m standing with my arms in the air because someone has a gun on me. Continue reading

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McSweeney’s little and big

Regular readers will know I’m a big fan of and sometime contributor to McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. This week, I have a piece running to mark Kurt Vonnegut’s birthday, entitled “Your Services As Guidance Counselor Are No Longer Required, Mr. Vonnegut.

But the bigger news — like 680 gilt-edged pages big — is that I have a piece in the 21st-anniversary McSweeney megabook, Keep Scrolling Until You Feel Something. It’s a collection of the best of the site and includes the very first piece of mine they ran back in 2005. So, yeah, you can read all the pieces for free, but look at this beautiful book!

That’s it. Don’t forget to support good humour writing and writers by becoming a McSweeney’s patron.

Posted in It Really Did Happen!, Writing | 11 Comments