My two front teeth

Once again it’s time for our annual holiday gift guide, bringing you a smorgasbord of shopping suggestions for that hard-to-buy-for person on your list. We would apologize for not getting this guide to you sooner, but you would probably have waited until the last minute to buy gifts anyway, so don’t blame us if you end up running around next week with high blood pressure and a melted Visa card. At this time of year it’s often said that the gift doesn’t matter, that it’s the thought that counts. Bull butter. Try giving your spouse a gift certificate for ten free visits to Irving’s Exercise City, and see how far the thought gets you. You’ll be lucky if you don’t end up with ten free knots on the head. The thought isn’t worth beans, unless the message you want to convey to that special person is: ‘Peace on earth and good will abounds, thought you could stand to lose a few pounds.’ So the gift really does matter, and selecting just the right gift for just the right person is a talent that not many people possess. Fortunately I happen to be one of the lucky ones, and I’m here to help you out. I don’t like to brag, but I did give my wife a paperback copy of ‘Paul Harvey’s Greatest Hits’ for our anniversary one year. She loved it so much she still tells people about it whenever the opportunity arises. And, true to form, I managed to find the perfect gift for my spouse again for Christmas this year. She’s been hinting that she wants a freezer, and while walking through Walmart recently I found one that is absolutely perfect. Instead of the usual boring white color, this one is camouflage. While I was admiring this remarkable find, my Uncle Jim and Aunt Kay walked up, and I told them what I had in mind. They told me that this would be a big mistake, which just goes to show that some people, who otherwise are normal, rational human beings, are afflicted with gift impairment. Jim even went so far as to say, ‘Why would anyone want a camouflage freezer’ Well. Who wouldn’t’ Of course, the right present for one person may be just the wrong thing to give someone else. For instance, if you happen to be selecting a gift for Al Gore, a box of hanging chads might be in poor taste, while these might be just the thing to bring a smile to George W. Bush’s face. A toupee might be appropriate for attorney David Bois, a five gallon bucket of Mary Kay products for Katherine Harris would probably be a big hit, and one-way plane fare to Arkansas might be just the ticket (no pun intended) for Bill Clinton. That and a belt and a pair of suspenders, just in case. Since we’ve mentioned chads here, I think it would be appropriate to point out that an internet company named Enjewel is offering a line of jewelry ‘in honor of the 2000 Election.’ Designer Thomas Kurilla has come up with a butterfly ballot with hanging chad pendant ($125), pregnant chad cuff links ($100), and dimpled chad earrings ($100), all in sterling silver. These should go over really well in Florida. If you’ve looked high and, of course, low, and still can’t find a gift for that special person, you might want to drop ten bucks on a copy of the December Robb Report, which contains the magazine’s 17th annual glamorous gift guide. But if you think ten dollars is too much to pay for a magazine, you definitely won’t be interested in any of the gift suggestions inside, since most of them start in the five figure range. One of the gifts in the Robb Report, however, is worth mentioning, since it would be the perfect present for your favorite outdoor humor columnist. It’s a 21-day safari package, including a pair of 12 gauge shotguns and a Range Rover, and it goes for just $325,285. Remember, it’s tax deductible as a charitable contribution. I promise to send you a postcard. This may seem, to most of us, fairly extravagant, but then extravagance is relative. A friend told me a few years ago that his father-in-law had suggested that, instead of buying each other gifts, they should all spend the money to go on a cruise together. I asked him if that was what they were going to do, and he snorted. He said, ‘My father-in-law evidently doesn’t realize that, for what we spend on Christmas presents, we couldn’t go on a cruise down the Llano River in a jon boat.’ Fathers are always the toughest to buy gifts for, and I think I speak for all dads everywhere when I say that we don’t want a tie for Christmas. Not that we don’t like the ties we’ve gotten in the past; they are very nice, especially the wide orange ones with the picture of Barney in the middle. But we have enough ties now to keep our boots polished well into the next millennium, so lay off the ties this year. What Dad wants this Christmas is a HMMWV, which is the U.S. Army’s acronym for High Mobility Multi Wheeled Vehicle, commonly called a Hummer or Hum-Vee. I’d like mine with a desert camo paint job and an M60 mounted in the back. No need to tie a ribbon on top, just park it in front of my house. Or, if you’re reading this and happen to look up and discover that you’re the president of Casio, you could send me one of those neat watches that has a Global Positioning System built in. Not that it would keep me from getting lost, but it would be neat to have. Whatever you choose to give your loved ones this Christmas, it’s sure to be appreciated as long as it comes from the heart, and costs as much as you make in a year. Remember, there’s nothing like the feeling you get on Christmas morning, when you watch that special someone open a gift that you put a lot of thought and time and effort into picking, and they look up with tears in their eyes and say, ‘A camouflage freezer’ Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist who currently has all his own teeth. Write to him at PO Box 564, Mason, Tx 76856 or email hemphill@towa.org

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