Holiday Shopping Essentials

This holiday season I’m contemplating starting a new tradition: completely avoiding people between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Both days are a time for family, and being with some family members for even a couple hours could make the most tolerant of social workers hate humanity. Conversations become heated, even over the most pointless topics such as: should the “thanks” be given before or after the Thanksgiving dinner? Christmas has the added feature of a mad exchange of rampant consumerism that drives children into an asylum frenzy and the more abrasive family members to exchange verbal spars about unfulfilled gift wishes containing more harsh words than a Charles Bukowski poem.

I completely avoided the Black Friday shopping madness, which, to me, is worse than celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas with family on the same day. I would never venture out to stores before eating a decent lunch, and by eleven o’clock, the time I’d hit my favorite sandwich shop, the hardcores who started shopping at four AM will have accumulated seven hours of anger and stink, and will decide to stop for nourishment simply because that is what they are supposed to do at lunchtime. Were I to delay my food consumption, I’d encounter the dozens of angry nooners who are even angrier for having waited too long to eat.

But I know, eventually, I’ll need to hit the stores and indulge in a season-sanctioned shopping spree, likely the weekend before Christmas. After all, people are buying stuff for me, and I don’t want to be the cheapskate, lest I endure the wrath of profanity-laden family members on Christmas day.

However, I will not venture out into the Christmas shopping hell without a few essentials.

1) Ratty clothes – Christmas shopping day is not the time to play Dapper Dan. I don’t want to wear anything that can be ruined by the constant bumping and budging of angry, stinky, sweaty shoppers. Nor do I want to don any apparel that will land my photo on a “worst dressed discount shoppers” website. I want to camouflage myself to roam undetected by the herds in their native habitat.

2) Earplugs – A good set of ear stoppers are necessary because there will be toy-hungry children present who will already be bored into a whiny crying fit as soon as they step into the first store. Their shrieks always maximize in intensity as they sense me nearby.

3) Perfume – I will need this to spritz in the direction of the smelliest shoppers whose stink violates my ten foot radius of personal space. My optimum mixture produces a faint mist allowing me to slip away under a cover of sweet smelling fog.

4) Wiffle bat – My extruded plastic “reminder” is useful when a stinky shopper’s body penetrates my ten foot radius of personal space and approaches my four foot radius “no man’s land.”

5) Portable air horn – Sometimes a shopper’s down-padded defenses render my wiffle bat incapable of making my point. The portable air blower’s foghorn-like blare reminds shoppers “rocky shoals are nearby.” It is also useful for waking zombie shoppers out of their sleep-deprived consumer daze, and alerting the rudest shoppers that, yes, other people exist. A second, louder horn is kept in my car, powerful enough to blast Christmas traffic out of my way.

6) Pen and pad of paper – I know there will be a Santa sackload of interesting things to observe and write about. I’ll need my pen and paper to jot down the main points so I can remember them all.

7) Camera – I’ll need visual proof if anyone questions my written observations.