Every December I look back at all the people who deserve thanks for helping me find a little humor in everyday life…
Thanks to the young man who came to our door and convinced me to switch my cable provider.  He asked how long it usually took me to get on the Internet.  “Well, I start in the kitchen, getting a beverage. Then, with this pesky knee of mine, it takes me quite a while to get down the stairs to the computer. By the time I find my glasses, we’re looking at eight to ten minutes.” 

Thanks to my plumber, Rex, and my computer geek, Kevin, both of whom charge 100 dollars just for walking in the door. Rex usually brings a plunger and is gone in five minutes. And Kevin, a couple of times, just plugged my printer back into the outlet. As my mother used to say, “They sure have your number.” They do.  But I’m glad I have theirs, too.

To Bruce at Butler Hyundai who sold me a new car that has a steering wheel with 12 buttons on it, more than a corset from the Elizabethan era, and probably just as difficult for an inexperienced guy like me to manage. There are also four buttons on the rearview mirror, including a garage door opener, which Bruce told me I would have to sync with my old garage door opener. Or was it my laptop? No, maybe it was my smart phone. No matter.  When he said sync, I knew I was sunk.

To my wife, who points at everything. “Look at the sky,” she’ll say and point—like I don’t know where the sky is. And when she wants me to turn right, out comes that finger. On a recent trip, she asked, “Don’t you want me to point out things of interest?”  “Yes,” I told her, “but I don’t want you to actually point at them.”
To all my friends at my 50th high school reunion, where I learned many things. Here are two. First, if you wear the wrong name tag, most people won’t know the difference for at least an hour.  And second, even though the guys I hung out with in 1965 didn’t take drugs, now we all do.  

To our friends from church who organized a bocce ball tournament. We didn’t know the rules, so I bought a book online called The Joy of Bocce. I already owned The Joy of Cooking and The Joy of Sex, although both of them were put in storage before we started to remodel our kitchen.
Thanks to Mary Ellen, again, who upon checking our email confirmation for our hotel in Washington, DC, last spring, casually mentioned that we weren’t as close to the downtown area as she had wanted. “How far are we?” I asked.  “About 2,300 miles,” she said. I had booked a hotel in Seattle, Washington, by mistake.

And finally, to the authors of my favorite publication of 2015, iPads for Seniors for Dummies, a book the publishers say is for people with no experience with tablets. Wait, seniors take several tablets every morning. The introduction says that with your new iPad you can “have fun, explore the online world, and look at naughty videos.”  It doesn’t really say that, but they could use something to get my generation into the Apple Store.

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Time again to save you the trouble of reading through this year’s holiday edition of the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog. These are actual gift selections from their brochure…
The Best Talking Watch: This is the perfect gift for people who find it inconvenient or troublesome to have to actually look at their watch. You’re in your car, one arm around your lover, the other hand texting, another holding a cup of coffee, and still another might be on the steering wheel. Don’t jeopardize your safety by glancing at your watch.

The Only Heated Outdoor Cat Shelter: According to HS, this shelter keeps your cat warm in the winter and cool in the summer. “There is no reason for your little feline friend to ever go in your house,“ says the manufacturer. So I have a question: Why do you have a cat?

The Handcrafted Hippopoptamine: This is a huge handcrafted sofa that is the same size and shape as an actual hippo, complete with head and tail. HS says it took 400 hours for the artist to complete the project, which is why this monstrosity costs $95,000. If you are a big fan of this enormous creature, a real one is only $82,500.

The Darth Vader Pancake Maker: The state-of-the-art thermostat ensures that each pancake or waffle will be a golden brown and cooked in the shape of Darth Vader.  But be warned: Breakfast guests will say their waffle is a little Chewie.

The Single-handed Barber: The typical affluent HS shopper will love the idea of giving himself a haircut. On the Internet, buyers comment it’s a great product but requires practice. Who do you practice on? Don’t worry, if you have compliant children to humiliate, the kit includes include two baseball caps.

The GPS Homing Device: This is a device for people who travel, so they can find their way back to their hotel. I mean, really, only a total loser would need one of these. My wife is getting me one.
The Self-finding Wallet: Again, a gadget for space cadets, with an integrated tracking device that you pair with your Bluetooth so if you misplace your wallet, you just go to your iPhone and you can locate it. Okay, now where the heck did I leave my iPhone?
The Children’s Weber Grill:  A great gift choice for kids who already have iPhones and computers and high-tech video games. What fun, to have a fake plastic grill where you can pretend you are cooking a plastic hot dog on pretend coals.  Learn to be just like Dad, who in 17 years behind the barbecue still can’t figure out medium rare.

The Electric Kazoo: Just when you thought that the world’s most annoying musical instrument couldn’t get any worse, the folks at HS electrified it.  Apparently they partnered with the last kazoo manufacturer left in the United States, but this idea should pretty much finish them off, too.

The Instant Portable Soccer Game:  Introduce your children to this international sport with two portable nets and regulation-size balls. Teach them the rules, how to move the ball down the field and how to start a small neighborhood riot when the game is over.

Finally, the Table-Top Fireplace: provides all the sights and sounds of a real fire, but the whole thing is 100% fake—the perfect gift for your friend who is romancing that cute blow-up doll.

Happy Shopping!

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