The realization that another year was almost gone hit me on Black Friday. As I watched a stream of e-mail merchandising offers fill my inbox, an interesting thought came to mind: What's the rush, Christmas is nearly a month away. Honestly, most of us need few, if any, of the products being offered, but the subconscious lure of the "Friday Only" deal is strong. I didn't take the bait, and here's my list of the 10 worst items I saw advertised and don't want:
1. Touch to talk world globe. Simply touch any place on the globe and a voice identifies the country and offers statistical data about it. The problem is that the voice you'll hear is a guy who speaks English comparable to those in various technical support centers on the other side of the planet.
2. Personal hot stone massage kit. Reminder: I don't cook and don't know how to turn on the stove. If this kit doesn't involve getting hot rocks by using a microwave, then I'm out of luck. Even if that's an option, who will put the rocks where I want them? It really doesn't matter; I prefer a human massage from the professional masseur I've been using for the past 15 years.
3. Desktop size basketball and hoop. If I was working in a real world office environment, I might go for this setup. It would squelch the "white guys can't jump" cliché.
4. Musical revolving tie rack (battery or AC power). When was the last time you wore a tie? I thought so, and it's the same one you've worn under duress since the day you retired. I have a song in mind for this gadget, but the editor won't print it.
5. Rotating TV organizer with remote control. Just what we need, another excuse to move less while wiling away hours of time watching TV programs that we complain about because of their lack of value. My luck, the batteries would crap out and I'd have to get up and walk all the way over to the TV to change the channel.
6. Dog water bottle, case and belt. Are dog owners dumb enough to shell out some cash for this ingenious gift trifecta? Seriously, think about it: What do dogs inherently do moments before you let them lick your face? I don't think it'll matter if you share your personal water bottle with your dog during a walk or while playing in the yard.
7. 56-piece haircut kit. Take another look at my photo. This makes about as much sense as giving me a salon coupon for a hair weave. I have a comb and scissors — I'm set for the duration.
8. Sauna suit. This one completely defies common sense and logic and plays directly into the mindset of those who truly believe that passive exercise has a shred of healthful effectiveness. All you have to do is put it on, walk into a sauna, lie down, and hope your core body temperature doesn't spike you into a coma — that's it. The only exertion is getting in and out of the suit.
9. Wii Kung Fu sword. This one I liked, but I knew the minute I mentioned it to my wife I'd get one of those "you've lost your mind again" stares, and that immediately kills the deal. But what a great way to release some pent-up retiree frustration by kicking butt on a TV martial arts dude. Sure, some living room furniture might take a few hits, but what a great excuse to redecorate.
10. Remote controlled talking toilet paper roller. This gadget takes the issue to new lows by not only remotely dispensing squares of paper, but also offering the option of making personally recorded messages that can play during the process.
For a change of pace this year I've added five items that I would like to have: 1) two-headed quarter; perfect for lunchtime gatherings with friends and class reunions; 2) money to burn candle; I'll send it to Washington, 3) golf ball life vest; I have some golfing friends who need this when hitting over water hazards; 4) paperback book titled "How to Procrastinate;" might come in handy; and 5) 600 assorted bumper stickers.
All right, let the shopping begin for my perfect holiday gift. Naturally, you can buy me something that isn't on this list. Caution: I'm a regifter.