Friday, February 3, 2012

What I Don't Want for Christmas

It’s that time of year again, when the perennial question is answered- will I get what I want for Christmas?

Sometimes of course, Santa gets it wrong, and this can be disappointing. Your inner child craved that Millennium Falcon scale replica, but the bearded old duffer at the North Pole decided you were too old and so- no dice. Perhaps, on the other hand, you got exactly what you wanted, but after opening the presents you experienced feelings of ennui and emptiness. What was the point of that? Did the acquisition of yet more material goods make me happy? Not really. And despair descends. 

Well, rather than retreat to the corner for a little cry thus ruining the day for everybody else, why not pause to imagine how much worse it could have been? That’s why I always advocate making an alternative Christmas list, of all the things you don’t want. Then when you see the rubbish you didn’t get, you’ll feel relieved. Even better, when you compare the almost infinite negative list with the roster of genuine desires, you’ll see how relatively un-acquisitive you are and experience less existential nausea. Even the greediest hoarder will catch a glimpse of spiritual purity, however briefly.

Take me for instance. There are so many things I don’t want I can barely keep count- and I’m always adding new items to the list. Last week for instance, I met an old lady who had a large collection of figurines by MAUD HUMPHREY BOGART, the mother of the legendary Hollywood star. They were little resin girls holding umbrellas and wearing floppy 1920s hats- cheapo tat, in other words, and yet the price stickers (still stuck to the bases) revealed that she had paid $60- $100 a pop for these LIMITED EDITION collectibles, which were limited in the sense that 30, 000 copies of each figurine had been produced, that is to say- not limited at all. I was glad I didn’t own any, and silently thanked the cosmos for not saddling me with that particular useless desire.

Here’s something else I don’t want- a $1000 DONATION TO BARACK OBAMA MADE IN MY NAME. As this somewhat psychedelic online begging form says:
“This holiday season, we're giving you a chance to have a little fun at the expense of a Republican in your life by letting them know they inspired you to make a donation to the Obama campaign. Simply enter their name and email address below. Then, we'll send them a message letting them know they inspired you to donate. (Don't worry—we won't hold on to any of their information.)”

As it is, I am not a Republican- I reject the terms “right” and “left” and can’t even vote, and so am not the target of this prank. But even so, is it wise for the leader of the free world to seek to increase the levels of antagonism during the festive season, when families are gathered together and already annoying each other quite enough already? No.  Is it astonishingly puerile? Yes.

What else is there? Well I don’t want FORBIDDEN ECSTACY the latest fragrance from Calvin Klein. I’m happy with my own odor, thank you very much. Also, I’m a man.

Meanwhile I absolutely, positively, definitely don’t want any SOUVENIR MERCHANDISE FROM THE 2012 LONDON OLYMPICS. Many things in the UK are exceedingly mediocre – ranging from our public services, to our TV, our government and beyond. But one area in which we usually do quite well is design. 
For instance, I can unequivocally state that Britain has the best freezer meal packaging in the world. In America they’ll slap a picture of a burger on the box. In Britain your shrink wrapped microwaveable Thai curry will announce itself with such wonderful colors and so beautiful a typeface you’ll be tempted to frame it. Yep, we do good freezer meal boxes.

The design of the London Olympics however has been a travesty from start to finish. The grotesque graffiti style logo inspired universal ridicule. The games’ mascots meanwhile are a bland lion and some bizarre one eyed aliens named Wenlock and Mandeville. Needless to say, it is all overpriced and ugly. Q: Why did it have to be so bad? A: Because morons are in charge.  Just like the IOC itself, really.

Lastly, I definitely don’t want a baby mammoth. As I reported two weeks ago, scientists in Russia and Japan are on the verge of reintroducing big, hairy elephants to the planet after they disappeared 10,000 years ago. I don’t think they’ve done it yet, but I know I don’t want one. They’re kind of cute at first, but they cost a lot to feed, and make a hell of a mess.

On the other hand, I am keen on gold bullion. So if you’ve got any lying around, feel free to send it to Daniel Kalder c/o RIA Novosti, #4 Zubovsky Boulevard, Moscow, 119021. I’ll even post you a nice thank you card.

Merry Christmas!