Dec 23, 2019

Help for the Last-Minute Shopper

By Ed Goldman

So you’re a last-minute shopper? No shirt, Sherlock (nor tie nor socks)!

Christmas Eve may not be until tomorrow and Kwanzaa doesn’t commence until Thursday. So you may be able to dodge two bullets if you get thee to a mall right away—or use Amazon’s new time-travel delivery service (“We’ll be there yesterday, at no extra charge!”).

But Hanukkah began last night, pal.
These versatile cards can be used to finance everything from A to Z—yes, they cover appendectomies to zit removals.
You’ve already missed the lighting of the first candles on the menorah—the one used for the first night of the eight-day holiday and the one that’s used to light that one. Since the ancient Hebrews had a paucity of BICs and Zippos on hand, I’m really not sure how they first lit the candle that lit the other candles. Perhaps they rubbed two Philistines together. That usually creates sparks.

Well, we’re all about public service here at THE GOLDMAN STATE nerve center—in reality, a downstairs office in my condo at Campus Commons, a community in East Sacramento built in the 1960s. I think this may the only neighborhood in Northern California that, while not ostensibly earmarked for seniors, is terribly attractive to them. Example: It’s a place where I can be called “Kid” by its denizens, without a trace of irony. In fact, in homage to its clientele, I’ve rechristened it Cramps’r’ Common. But I digress.

Here are some last-minute gift ideas suggested by my personal shopper, Shia Spence Moore:

Major-Surgery Gift Cards
Sold with cash values ranging from $5 to $250,000, these versatile cards can be used to finance everything from A to Z—yes, they cover appendectomies to zit removals (or zit relocations, for those who yearn for the good old days of beauty marks).

Need a kidney, heart, lung, or stent replacement in time to watch the bowl games on New Year’s Day? These cards can be your tickets to a ringside seat in your cozy den, alongside your family, visiting nurse, estate executor and volunteer bathers from a close-by religious center. Available at most Walmarts, Kmarts and mini-marts.

Bored Games for Rainy Afternoons
No, we didn’t misspell anything. That’s really how you spell “for.”

This enchanting set of diversions, each designed to indicate it has more pieces than you’ll actually find in the boxes (which will kill even more time) includes variations of games that have made you twitch with edginess since childhood:
  1. Monotony, a sly sendup of Monopoly, which has players using fake money to achieve fake corporate positions and fake fortunes in just under four-and-a-half hours. In truth, it’s just the real Monopoly game.
  2. Cocktail Chess, which is very much like its sober namesake except that the playing pieces are carved less to resemble medieval figures than to look like those little liquor bottles you get on some airlines or in the bar of your hotel room. The object is still to seize the kingdom of your opponent but after you empty those little bottles—did we mention they’re full at the start of the game?—you may find yourself fraternizing with the enemy, or at least swapping “war” stories. Because the game may actually prove enjoyable, it’s not recommended for children still enduring their age of innocence.
  3. RISK Management. It’s just like the original game but it now involves attorneys, insurance agents, actuarial charts, a grand jury and footage from hidden videos establishing beyond a doubt that anyone who claimed to get scalded by a dropped decaf Americano entered the coffee shop in a pre-scalded state.
  4. Scrabble®d Eggs. At last, a game you can play with the whole family that combines your “23andMe” obsession with genealogical research—as in, “I can’t possibly be related to these morons sitting on the carpet playing this game with me”—and crossword puzzles. Players take turns using randomly selected tiles to spell out the names of genetic traits they’re certain they don’t share with anyone in the room. Those who come up with the most traits are granted a year of estrangement, renewable every winter.
Airline Tickets
Why not treat yourself to a lovely flight out of town, one that takes off at about the same time people are opening gifts and wondering where you are? While you’re gone, you’ll have plenty of time to think up an excuse for why you had to vacate the premises, city, state and even country. And when you return, if no one buys the fact that you’ve been secretly doing missions for the CIA for years and “may have just saved the world—but enough about me, what’s for dinner?”—you’ll have even more time on your hands to fantasize about a life and world in which no one places an arbitrary deadline on your generosity each year (“It’s on December 25 again? Why didn’t anyone tell me?!”). And that could be the greatest gift of all.

Note: THE GOLDMAN STATE will be taken from you on the day of December 25 but will be returned, along with many of the gifts you receive, on December 27. I wish you a wonderful holiday, filled with friendship, love and no political discussions.

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