Non-gift suggestions for a happier marriage

This column is mainly a Christmas survival guide for the guys out there who have the I.Q. of a pint of spinach dip when it comes to picking out the perfect gift for their significant other. Most of us wouldn’t go near a Black Friday stampede because dodging carts driven by a desperate shoppers doing Mach 1 toward two-for-one video games is a mass casualty threat. This year provided another reason to skip the bedlam. In California, after waiting for hours in line, a crazed lady leveled the playing field around her by blasting her competitors with pepper spray. If that would have happened to me, the only way the cops could have retrieved the canister for evidence would have been with the able assistance of a highly qualified proctologist. I don’t do mobs well. Thanksgiving weekend brings out the activist in me. I Occupy Home and scheme how to beat down some big corporation by snapping up a mega deal on one of its flat screen TVs the size of the west wall of our bungalow plus, of course, some slippers for my wife. I’ve been doing it for years. She now has enough scuffs to supply a small country. But I’m still watching the same tube that we’ve owned so long that it has grown roots into the floor ... maybe, this year. Anyway, here is a list of 10 or so items that men should steer away from when choosing that special gift for their lady. 1. Anything from an infomercial, especially if it features co-hosts that have intellects lower than the product they’re selling. A major red flag is if the sale item is only $19.99 and you can triple the order for free if you pay addition shipping and handling. This love offering rates right up there with a coupon for an upper lip electrolysis session. 2. Bulk cleaning supplies will not bring tears to their eyes nor will anything else claiming to be industrial strength, especially perfume. 3. Lumber for a new storage shed would not be in good taste. 4. A log splitter may buy you more couch time than your dogs and pet cat. 5. A lifetime membership in a Weight Watchers Program would be a serious mistake, especially if she thinks it refers to the gift giver’s particular life span. 6. Anti-wrinkle creams and gift certificates worth several hundred dollars at a Hawaiian Muumuu discount factory are not cool ideas. 7. A fresh cord of wood that comes with a ribbon wrapped splitting maul will go over as big as a new book titled “101 Ways to please your man.” 8. I personally learned that several sets of matching plug-in house deodorizers and a couple of infamous “Clap on, Clap off “ devices were thought as highly of as was the singing carp wall plaque she received from a relative several years ago. If I remember right, it was taken outside immediately and shot before it could twitch much less sing. 9. One of my brothers-in-law no longer gives his spouse any kind of gardening tools, especially ones that are powered, after an unfortunate episode last year involving a bottle of Merlot, her new bush whacker and his high-end camping gear. 10. Finally, stay away from surprise vacations that resemble anything close to a fly-in hog hunt at the Swamp Gator Tent Camp just outside Tickfest, Arkansas. It will protect you from experiencing the same endearment the family pet receives when it leaves a “personal gift” on the new living room rug. Gentlemen, Christmas shopping should be fun and laid back but way too many of us wait until the zero hour to blast off for the store only to find the only things left are Bubble Wrap lingerie or a Chia head bust of Nancy Pelosi. Nowadays I’m fine tuning my hunting in cyber space. If I can’t track what I want locally, I saddle up my highly trained mouse and ride that critter until I’m able to get a shot at my prey on the net. But it is not as easy as it sounds. I don’t know how many times I’ve gone through an ordering procedure only smack headlong into some company policy that treats Alaskans like we reside on an asteroid. Either they flat won’t ship up here or their shipping and handling fees are so much that you’d think they were hand delivering their product via a charted limo service chauffeured by Elton John. Don’t let those profanity launching experiences ruin your holiday buying. Remove your teeth from your tongue and do a bit more browsing. I’ll bet you’ll find an enlightened company selling the same product (probably for less) and if the timing is right, get free shipping. Try for a start and remember Butt Masters, support hose and liposuction are not operative words for your shopping list lest you end up spending your nights in the nearest highway rest stop. Nick can be reached at unless he’s busy enlarging the front entrance of their cabin before the arrival of his new flat screen and a pair of slippers.


It is what it is: A stroll down memory lane

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