Thursday, December 11, 2008

Flying monkeys at Christmas

I'VE BEEN  waiting for the sun to force itself through the clouds to brighten my waning  interest in Christmas shopping.  At this time of the year Northern Ohio is an image of Ireland's overcast without the rainbows.  Nancy says the sun never shines here.  But "never" is a pretty strong word.  For whatever reason, you can still find suntan lotion in most of the stores.

From my vantage point, I can see the big shopping mall, if not Sardinia nor the Roman Forum. That alone should inspire me to get a move  on.   Yet, once inside the mall, it seems like the day after Christmas unless you came for a slice of pizza or a fast sandwich.  The price cuts are dizzying.  To be on the safe side, I recommend a pocket calculator to figure what 75 pct. off from 50 pct. off is.  It's doubtless the new spirit of  Double Discount Christmas.

The advertisers who clog my e-mail with "bargains" have been busy to pump up holiday sales.  At one point I counted 27 offers ranging from fail-safe auto sponges to Gevalia coffee (the "perfect holiday gift").  I could get an "amazing screaming Flying Monkey" at  $9.99 plus shipping, a gift said to have been voted the"stocking stuffer of the year."  There also were assorted come-ons for an "impact racing super sport helmet" with the the added benefit of a free helmet bag, plus more practical items like cartridge ink, a call box money bank and a promise for debt relief. 

There has also been an overabundance of "as-seen-on " merchandise.  Mostly weight-loss stuff that would shrink you to Twiggy by Christmas Eve and authenticated with exposure "as seen on Oprah, CNN, CBS, MSNBC"  and doubtless in your monthly utilities bill.  I was particularly struck by the Diet Wu-yi System, which was not recommended for folks who only want to "lose a few pounds." That sounded serious.  I won't even ask my doctor.  

For some, Christmas giving is hardly the  challenge that some  of us face today.  I once had an aunt who lived in Miami, Fla., who shipped us a big box of orange and grapefruit  each year without laying hands on it herself.  It was a kind of vanity thing to show us how fortunate it was to live where they grew citrus fruit  while we were frozen into popsicles in northern winters.  (It took awhile for me to convince my father, who moved to Florida with our entire tribe,  that despite all of that sunshine,  people died  in Miami Beach just as they did in Newfoundland). 
Alas,  my aunt didn't make it past her 95th year and the oranges have not arrived for several years  for Christmas.   In fact, in her final years, she moved in with some cousins in Phoenix and often remarked how wonderful it was to live in such heat.  I told her I could imagine.  

Meantime, I can't get those amazing flying monkeys out of mind.  But only at 50 pct. off!  

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