The Prairie Spy

Alan “Lindy” Linda

Research on this column, which is to be about the worst Christmas gifts ever, reminds me of a time when we The Family (Me) decided that only children–they were grown and gone– would receive gifts. Granted, we would all still get stockings, where the rule would be: If it don’t fit, (in the stocking) don’t get it. Male genius. Absolutely.

In a conversation with The Oldest Daughter at that time, who was about 33, I asked what the age limit should be, thinking ahead to when I could go completely Scrooge. She replied, so quickly that she showed that she was ahead of me on all this, “Why, 34, of course.” 

At Christmas time, I find myself missing the hardware store, which always saw a panicky influx of male shoppers the day before Christmas. They would hurry in, still in barn or chore clothes, smelling like corn silage, or cow manure, or maybe oat dust from grinding feed. I personally like those smells. I miss them. The day before Christmas was therefore pleasant for me. And selling stuff was always pleasant.

“The kitchen appliances are over there,” I would tell these men as they marched resolutely in. They would head for the waffle irons and expensive toasters. They were good customers, because they realized that they were committing sins against gift giving, so when I went over there and suggested the highest priced blenders, the ones that had at least twenty buttons, all I had to do was say: “This one has the most buttons.”

“She needs a new deer rifle,” said one confused fellow to me one year. Oh boy. Better get this new leather hard case too so it presents better, huh?

Anyway, I miss those days. Now, I’ve got the Internet on which to commit grievous gift selections. So it was to the Internet that I went to search for the worst gifts possible.

I had to make some hasty decisions, but without a doubt, the best—or worst, depending upon your political leaning, was a Hillary nut cracker. She’s dressed in her trademark pants suit, and one puts a pecan between her knees, squeezes her feet, and voila, political justification of sorts, or at least, a snack.

My second selection—and here I had to of course disregard fruitcakes, bad sweaters, and bathroom scales—was an antimicrobial toilet seat for dad.

I assume it was for dad, although it’s possible mom could be stinky enough to warrant one. This seat, though, is a modern technological breakthrough. It has four settings, for different levels of odor control. Although the different levels were not labeled, I propose that they could be called, from least to most, Undercooked Turkey, Too Much Gravy, Shouldn’t Have Eaten That Entire Bean Dish, and finally, Maybe Expiration Dates Are Important We Need More Toilet Paper.

Those should cover most odor levels.

Next on the list is a yodeling pickle. True, it has a battery, but still, one does have to blow into it a little. There’s not much that can be said about a yodeling pickle, except that I’m sure the person who gets it has it coming.

A great gift is a small plastic reindeer, upon the rear end of which one presses down, causing it to poop an M&M candy, or something very similar. This one struck a nerve with me, causing me to fondly remember an Easter when we got a plastic chicken, which when pressed down left a white plastic egg beneath her. Which we as children promptly lost, leaving us with a pretty worthless chicken, all in all, whereas this particular reindeer could always be reloaded to poop more candy.

Finally, one last great gift is a small electronic machine that, given the occasion programmed into it, plays an appropriate excuse into your telephone receiver.

It’s not on a par with a yodeling pickle or a candy pooping reindeer, but it’s not too bad.

The phone rings. It’s the editor: Where’s your column for this week?

I think the button labeled: “Cough, hack, sick” is good.

As for the bill collection calls?

Really? Click!