With barely a handful of twenty-four-hour shopping days remaining until the big Extravaganza of Greed arrives on December 25th, the pressure to go out and spend unimaginable amounts of money in order to stave off vague feelings of advertiser-induced guilt is mounting on an hourly basis. From the celestial electronic ether, the angelic chorus is singing their hymns of spiritual redemption through massive credit card expenditure. The messages are barely concealed: Show her that you are not going through a mid-life crisis and thinking of dumping her for a younger woman by buying her a diamond ring. Make up for the fact that you are too lazy and apathetic to spend time with your kid by distracting him with an MP3 player. Recover from your maniacal shopping frenzy, and make believe that your pathetic subservience to the corporate value system is justified, by treating yourself to having coconut butter rubbed into your ass at a day spa. It’s what Jesus would have done.
Well, I think we’re all on side with the idea that there is no getting around buying a shit-load of stuff at this time of year to fill up the gaping holes in our lives. It’s just a given. But the really thorny problems remain: What, exactly, do we buy? What do we give to those people we care about so much that we might actually have had the energy to interact with them, if it weren’t for the fact that we are so emotionally beaten down by the circumstances of our lives?
Fortunately, waves of paranoia and panic surrounding recent news reports have opened up some interesting and novel shopping options for us. For instance, what about a year’s supply of bird flu vaccine for the immuno-compromised on your list? Hell, come to think of it, who wouldn’t light up with joy on receiving a few vials of that stuff in their Xmas stockings? Imagine being able to eat an egg for breakfast, or shake hands with a total stranger on the street, without fear of bleeding from every orifice an hour later. And speaking of personal protection, what about bulletproof vests for the whole family? Or a bomb-sniffing dog? It’s kinda yesterday’s news, but you still never know when some crazed terrorist is lurking just around the corner.
Perhaps the most difficult loved ones to buy for are the teenagers on the list. Jaded and cynical beyond belief due to their lifelong exposure to Nirvana recordings and the hypocrisy of their parents, these dear souls are likely to sneer right in your face if you are foolish enough to try and buy them something you think they’d like. And let’s face it, the hundred dollars inside the envelope is getting more than a bit stale. Well, have you thought about a weeklong enforced stay at a private drug treatment clinic? If your kids, nieces, nephews, etc. are above elementary school age, chances are they are heavily addicted to either crack cocaine or crystal meth. Anyway, why take a chance? Just sign them up for an introductory treatment package, and let the doctors sort ’em out!
Just a few things to keep in mind this Yuletide season. Happy shopping!