A bag full of goodies -- stuff it
Santa has grown cranky lately, and apparently, a bit cynical. Who could blame him?
Missus Claus has taken up full-time quilting and resigned from her position as shift manager. The elves are unionizing.
Raw materials are getting harder to acquire; formerly, a cargo plane easily could be intercepted en route to its destination, since nobody expects to be boarded in flight by a sleighful of diminutive capgun-wielding hijackers. However, since 9/11, security measures have been much tighter, even for, say, quantities of ordinary lead, needed to paint all those toy fire engines and tractors, or manufacture charm bracelets and lollipops.
Reindeer feed prices are at an all-time high. With illegal immigration declining, few real American workers are willing to do the back-breaking work required to harvest the arctic lichens these beasts of burden need in order to fly.
So a stroll down the aisles of any store in town is likely to reveal a new generation of Santa's gifts, crafted to reflect emerging consumer trends, and updated for the dumbed-down.
Don't consider your seasonal shopping complete until you've considered these offerings, available at your corner megastore.
* Happy Happy Safe Safe Fun Mat. An 8-by-10-inch sheet of soft, flexible grey plastic, non-toxic, no sharp edges or corners. Good for hours of injury-free fun. Caution: May be hazardous to children younger than 10.
* Nonsequitur -- the Game. Players draw erroneous conclusions from incomplete or manufactured data. Comes with tri-corner hat, actual tea bag and heavily redacted copy of the U.S. Constitution. Don't worry, patriots: the Second Amendment is still there.
* Stop Tickling Me Uncle. Tickle your "nephew" as hard as you can. He'll laugh just as hard, even if it sounds like he's crying.
* Blast-off! You do the calculations and program the on-board computer, then just sit back while the three-stage rocket lifts off, orbits the earth and heads for the Moon to deposit your selfie in Mare Imbrium. (Some assembly required.)
* Porn Star Patty. Comes with antique movie camera and genuine original grainy film, cheap make-up, water-based lubricant, assorted marital aids, test strips for rapid STD detection, and a six-pack of penicillin.
* Backscratch 'Bot. This fully articulated, mobile servo-slave responds to verbal commands such as "down a little," "higher" and "more toward the middle." Can also rub feet and chop onions. This soon will become your "man's best friend," and unlike your wife and kids, it never will refuse an order or despise you.
* Gunshow Hero. Compete to obtain automatic weapons, explosives, neurotoxins and wicked knives. No time wasted tossing dice; this is a sure thing, even if you're a felon or a paranoid schizophrenic. Just fill out the "paperwork," and the "seller" will shred it discretely.
* Mister Huffmeister. Kit contains all the ingredients necessary to make and contain your own gaseous propellants, rich in volatile hydrocarbons that will get you off the first time you inhale them.
* My Little Congress. Lifelike miniature U.S. House of Representatives, with tiny orange speaker. The player ("contributor") who can put the most money in the slot is the winner. Switch it on, and it emits clouds of heat and smoke, but doesn't actually accomplish anything.
* Southern Sheriff duffle bag. Rispek mah authori-tay! Intimidate your dusky opponents, fix traffic tickets for your Caucasian friends. Comes with mirror-lens sunglasses, tactical baton, cast-iron shackles, thumbscrews, Colt revolver and 100 traffic tickets. You provide ignorance of the law, which is only "no excuse" if you're a civilian. High-fat diet sold separately.
* Baglady Barbie. (Third in the Hungry Hungry Homeless series). Comes with her own battered shopping cart and includes: a sheet of realistic cardboard to serve as a mattress on those cold nights under the stars; a bottle of cheap wine; Barbie's favorite dead cat; partially eaten restaurant discards. Her wardrobe includes three tattered sweaters with non-overlapping holes, sandals made from old tires, and pieces of realistic newspaper to stuff under her sweaters for extra warmth. Pull Barbie's string, and she mumbles incoherently.
* Little Miss Meth. Now your daughter can cook her drug of choice right in the comfort of your own mobile home, just like Mommy. Includes skin moisturizer and industrial-strength toothpaste.
* King Kong Ping Pong. Manufactured in Hong Kong. Just wait until you see the novel shape of these paddles. Ding dong. Is that the doorbell?
* Backstreet Star. Just remove the green street signs on the corners nearest your house, then replace them with these authentic-looking signs featuring your own name. Always wanted to live on Fred Smith Avenue? Now you can.
* Battleship. Take turns launching pre-emptive strikes with your Tomahawk missiles and drones. Draw a Flawed Intelligence card, and nuke those dairy barns and soccer stadiums.
* The New Christmas Minstrels: Songs for the Holidays. A melodious, or just odious, double-disc collection of seasonal tunes. Includes:
"Rudolph the Trophy Reindeer"
"Frosty the Pusher"
"O Little Town of Washington"
"Santa Claus is Coming - To Kill"
"Up On the Rooftop, Jump Jump Jump"
"Silent Night, Nuclear Night"
"We Three CEO's"
"Toys To the World"
"Over the River and Cross the Border"
"Do You Smell What I Smell?"
"It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Anthrax"
"Away With A Stranger (the Amber song)"
"White Power Christmas"
"What Drug Is This?"
So gather all your nearly expired credit cards, and pack your purses and pockets with plastic. You and your kids will enjoy all the fun now, and the kids can pay for it after you die.
Jon Hauxwell, MD, is a retired family physician who grew up in Stockton and now lives outside Hays.