Except for me. My shopping season is what I like to call “the day before Christmas.” I put it off as long as I possibly can.
My incompetence doesn’t have to ruin my holiday, though. You might be stumped over the perfect gift to buy me. If so, you are in luck. Let me give you a few suggestions for gifts you can ask Santa to bring me this Christmas Eve:
• A trip to Scotland before the war starts. What war? Why, there’s always a war somewhere, and we have only so many countries left that haven’t been used up. Forget Bosnia and the Falklands and Iraq; I wouldn’t mind a few weeks in Scotland. Or maybe Sweden. Surprise me.
• A set of Civil War commemorative dishes. You know, the kind that filling stations and movie theaters used to give away, one piece a week. A Sherman’s March dinner plate this week, a CSS Hunley gravy boat next week. I already have an idea for the inscription on each dish: “The Civil War – 150 Years and Counting.”
• Funding to make me a candidate for president. If I ran, everyone would get to find out all those fun things I did ever since high school that could have gotten me into trouble if I had been caught. Hold on! Perhaps we’d better let sleeping dogs lie. I’ll just watch all those other candidates take the heat. It’s been a good show so far.
• A flat-screen TV. By comparison, my old-fashioned TV is fat and heavy, but I must admit its bulging screen gives everyone a good view of the program. The screen pokes out so far that even people seated beside the TV can tell what’s happening. Still, that set isn’t going to last forever, so a flat-screen it is. I’d like LED and HD and 3-D while you’re at it, and any other “D” I don’t know about. This is no time to be chintzy.
• My very own post office. The way the Postal Service is hemorrhaging, they’re going to close a lot of post offices soon. If I had one of them, I would put in potted plants and my new flat-screen TV in the corner. I would serve coffee and doughnuts to anyone who had nothing better to do, which would mostly be former postal workers. I would even provide Wi-Fi so they could e-mail their friends.
• A pair of tickets to the next “trial of the century.” It could be just about anybody – unruly actors on planes, hopped-up athletes, lascivious congressmen – but my money is on Lindsay Lohan. She’s only 25 and has seen more courts than the Harlem Globetrotters, so it’s only a matter of time.
• A Star Trek transporter so I could beam up those folks occupying America’s streets and beam them down onto the mean streets of the Arab Spring uprisings. It might prove educational all around.