Friday, November 23, 2007

Gifts To Avoid This Christmas

Today is what has become known as Black Friday, the pseudo-holiday that comes after Thanksgiving where consumerism goes horribly, horribly wrong. Stores will open at three or four in the morning to accommodate shoppers who have waited in line in front of the buildings, literally, since noon Thursday. What kinds of people would do this? People with absolutely no lives.

If you are that desparate for an extra $10 off a purchase of $100 or more, then you seriously need to be weaned from America's teat. If you don't have your shopping done a month out from Christmas, then either you've failed already or you're one of the insane hordes who actually live for this flagrant consumer competition. This is the closest to combat most middle-aged housewives are going to get, so maybe they do live for the glory of this absurd conquest, because after all, every human being has a certain level of bloodlust. Guys take it out through football and war. Women take it out through militant shopping expeditions.

I stay home on Black Friday. I don't want to go outside at all. The traffic is horrible and beserk as shoppers madly dash from one sale to the next, and every store is packed with people acting as if the world was coming to an end and the only thing that could destroy or pacify the malevolent gods were Transformers toys and XBox games. Every restaurant is packed with people angry that they have to satisfy their bodily needs and stuff their gaping cow maws before they can get back to the mindless consumerism.

The thing you have to remember about Black Friday is that the only reason the seasoned veterans keep going out to do it year after year is that they are literally, clinically insane. If you are a novice, fully expect to be bludgeoned nearly to death by a God-fearing, forty-something mother of four over the last store exclusive Barbie. You may not even have it in your hand, you may not even want it, but if you are in the right place at the right time, you are automatically guilty because no shopping day is complete without nearly killing someone for a holiday gift. Once you go through this rite of passage, you are then invited to join the mindless horde every year like some sort of nightmarish hell from which you cannot escape.

So, yeah, just do your Christmas shopping early. To help, I have compiled a small list of things you don't want to buy for people. These are real products that just make you want to question the sanity of those involved in their creation process, those who would actually want them, and those who would buy them for themselves or others. This list is not as exhaustive as the famous Dave Barry bad gift guide as I honestly found all these items by searching a couple of websites for a total of about a half an hour, but I wanted to do something that had to do with stupid gifts to commemorate Black Friday, the non-holiday that is so ridiculously stupid it deserves ridicule.

The Hilary Clinton Nutcracker
I'm not sure if this is pro-Hilary or anti-Hilary. The pun could go either way. It could be saying that she's a tough Presidential candidate, a real "ball-buster," or it could be saying that she's the domineering wife of an otherwise nice man driven to infidelity. One thing that can be certain is that it's pro-hilarity.

This would most likely be given to you as a gift by that one weird uncle who no one really likes and who's never seen without a can of Budweiser in his hand, no matter the activity, be it fishing, bathing, sex, sleeping, breakfast, etc. He'll give you the Hilary Clinton nutcracker because he thinks the idea of a tiny plastic Hilary Clinton crushing walnuts between her powerful thighs is funny.

The Hilary Clinton nutcracker is funny in the exact same way the poorly-Photoshopped pictures of her face on a man's body that we find online are funny, as in they're not. A lot of people still send you those bad Photoshops because they think Hilary sucks because she's a Democrat. There are many, many reasons why Hilary sucks, but being a Democrat ranks pretty low on the list.

All-in-all, this is a pretty dated gift, and will become even more dated once Hilary loses the elections, which is likely to happen in the event that the same people who voted for Bush a second time have their voting privileges revoked due to gross negligence. Quite frankly, I don't want to think of what's between Hilary's thighs, and someone's nuts is the last thing I want to think of being there, but I will say that two giant, serrated metal bars used for crushing anything that wanders between them would be among the first things I would imagine residing there.

Sigmund Freud Head Pops
This is probably among the weirdest things I have ever seen. This has no reason to exist, and I question the sanity of the person who thought it would be a good idea. I don't understand how licking his head is going to enlighten children to the psychological philosophies of Sigmund Freud, a lot of which are regarded as bullshit anyway stemming from his own sexual issues.

Also, I don't understand what watermelon has to do with Freud. Maybe they just needed something to flavor it and they ultimately decided against the second runner-up, which was human flesh. I think they should have chosen banana, because that would have revealed theoretical unconscious desires about which Freud would probably have a lot to say. "Wow! Licking this old man's face makes me think of a long, phallic fruit! I wonder what that says about my subconscious sexual urges!"

So if you're looking for that perfect stocking stuffer for your kids this Christmas, why not pick up a few of the angry, white-haired, old man heads on a stick? They taste like watermelon and your kids will just think it's supposed to be Santa anyway.

Mrs. Bust Animated Pencil Holder
I don't know who would give this as a Christmas present, but when I found it, it was too good to give up. This is certainly not the thing for a mother to give her seven-year-old child or a wife to give her husband, unless they live in a trailer in Alabama. Maybe this could be given as a gag gift at an inter-office Christmas party or something.

The idea of it is that when you stick a pencil into her, ah, between her legs, her head pops up and she says some phrase like "Watch where you're sticking that thing!" Maybe if she didn't want random phallic objects shoved into her herpes spot, she shouldn't lay around spread eagle with no panties on. The fact that it's called "Mrs. Bust" gives it the additional excitement of implied infidelity. So yay for creeps.

I really don't understand the kind of personality that would find this funny, nor do I think I'd want to. Having this on your desk lets me know right away that you and I have no common ground. If I walked into some potential employer's office and this was sitting on his desk, I'd already understand that he's an employer I wouldn't care to work for. If I had one of these myself, though, I'd stick the Sigmund Freud head pop between her legs because that would be symbolism to make the dead psychologist proud.

Butt/Face Towel
At first, when I saw the heading for this that read "Butt-face Towel," I thought it was going to be an insulting towel, so when I saw the picture I was like, Oh Christ, they got it backwards. Then I read the description and I realized it was much more stupid than just an insulting towel.

The idea is that when you use a towel, you don't know what part of the towel you're using for what part of your body. You could be drying your face one day with the part of the towel you used to dry your butt the day before. So some company decided to invent a towel that was specifically marked which side to use for your dirty unmentionables and which parts to use for your germ inhalers.

The idea of this would be all well and good except for one important factor that the makers and consumers of this product are forgetting: WHEN YOU GET DONE BATHING, YOU ARE CLEAN. It doesn't matter if you dry your face with the same part of the towel you used on your butt because if you are competent enough to bathe yourself properly, your butt should be clean and disinfected with soap. If you aren't competent enough to bathe yourself properly, then you have problems that no towel is going to solve, no matter how powerful or explicit in directions that towel may be.

I like how the guy in the picture looks so happy to be holding the end of the towel that says "BUTT." It's like he's saying, "That's right! I'm an ass!"

Family Guy Evil Monkey Life-Sized Stand-Up
I don't know why anyone would want a life-sized cardboard stand-up. The website lists a few options, like school plays, sales meetings, weddings, parties, and special events, but none of these look like anything that wouldn't make you look like a complete loser. What kind of idiot would have a life-sized cardboard cutout at their wedding? "I really wanted Jack Sparrow to attend, and now he can!" I'm also having a very difficult time trying to figure out where any life-sized cardboard cutout could be beneficially pursuasive in any form of sales meeting. I'm sure it could be pursuasive; I'm just not sure if it could be to one's benefit.

Of all the cardboard cutouts available, though, this one had to be the worst. First off, I'm not sure how "life-sized" could be defined for a cartoon character since they, you know, don't exist in real life. That's not the most disconcerting thing about this, though. What I found so awful about this was that, unlike the rest of the Family Guy cutouts that actually looked like the characters, this one looked like it was drawn by Seth McFarlane's left hand. Unless he's left-handed, then it looks like it was drawn by his right hand. If he's ambidextrous, then it looks like it was drawn by his foot. Scrap those last few sentences. It just looks like it was drawn by his foot, period. The art for this is hideous. Family Guy isn't known for stellar artwork to begin with, and this looks like it was drawn by a five-year-old as a mockery to the show. If they want this thing to move off the shelves, they'd better be paying people to take it.

I'm not sure how you'd give a life-sized cardboard cutout as a gift anyway. Even if you wrapped it, I'm pretty sure the recipient could figure out what it is. I'm sure they wouldn't be fixated on the six-foot tall, five-milimeter thick, irregularly-shaped thing standing flat against the wall, perplexed on what it could possibly be. "Oh gee, you got me embarrassing consumer waste for Christmas! Thanks!"

Harry Potter Quidditch Goggles
I'm not saying that liking Harry Potter is an embarrassment, as many people of all ages do. However, unless you're wearing this as part of a Halloween costume, or in line for the next Harry Potter movie, it's pretty much useless. Any other time you go out in public wearing this will get you made fun of. Unless there are Harry Potter conventions. If there are, you can wear these there, too. Otherwise, don't wear these out in public unless you want to get laughed at.

They're glaringly obvious and they have the Harry Potter brand on the sides, so there's no escaping your geekdom when walking down the street with these puppies on. You wouldn't wear that fake Freddy Krueger glove or the Optimus Prime voice-changer helmet to the grocery store, so don't wear these either. Needless to say, they're a niche gift, perfect for the one or two times a year that the recipient would be able to get away with wearing them without ridicule.

Well that does it for this Black Friday. I'd have liked to have published this in the morning, but I was too tired to write it this morning, so you get it now, when these kinds of things are all that's left to pick from between now and Christmas. Seriously, go to the nearest Best Buy, Toys "R" Us, or J.C. Penny. They'll be a barren wasteland of capitalism-induced frenzy. I seriously feel for the poor store workers who have to put up with the shoppers on Black Friday. The fact that you do this year after year and don't take a shotgun to as many of them as you can before using the last shell on your own face demands some sort of accommodation medal. If any of you consumers bought any of these items, I'd suggest taking them back to the nearest Spencer's for a full refund before embarrassing yourself by giving them as a gift.

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