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3:02 pm | 17 December 2004 | Clueless Shopperland

I have two families and one of them is kind of psychotic. Well, they are both psychotic, obviously, but one is in a more Yule-tastic fashion. We take Christmas seriously. Like, while opening presents everyone must sport a Santa hat with each person's name written on the front in glitter. Like, if the bottom of the (massive) tree is visible at all, then gift-buyers have failed. If there's not a seriously two-foot-high, three-feet-deep, seven-foot-diameter ring o'gift shackling the tree (whose name is Doug, in the same way that the Thanksgiving turkey's name is Gregory, and I don't know why so don't ask me), then there's a problem. It's not total American commercial spasm-buying, it's just that that's how they show affection. With novelty socks. Last year I made the mistake of mentioning that they might maybe not need to get quite so bugshit-nutty with the gifting, and my dad, your Guilt Trip travel agent, looked me steelily in the eye and said "You have a heart attack and DIE at 47 and then come BACK TO LIFE and then YOU tell me you don't want to have CHRISTMAS." Well ho-kay.

So with all this hulabaloo added as backdrop for the scene, I must say that the act of present-buying, far from its original intent, is a cause of total stress for The Claw. Add to that my family's almost totally reversed taste (example: they have seven televisions and have said I quote "I hate art and poetry"), and I'm in the quagmire of Clueless Shopperland*. So a month beforehand, the threatening emails begin.

To: Team Sherman
From: Me
Subject: Ha-ten-SHUN!

Anyone not remitting Christmas Lists to Sergeant Xmass will be receiving a brick from the alley behind my house, in lieu of any actual gift. I mean it this year. I already sent you a list of CDs I want. I also, despite your apparent shock over the phenomenon, need more art supplies, since I use them up. And I would like a new LAMB bag. But you, sans list, will be getting bricks only. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

The results were underwhelming. So Wednesday:

To: Team Sherman
From: Me
Subject: Holiday thoughts....

I had a fun time last night, sipping eggnog and wrapping up the bricks and stones you will be receiving, since nobody sent me a Christmas list or any ideas, even. Well, Mom did. Mom told me she wanted some black socks, for Christmas. So Mom is getting black socks. I put the black socks on the brick, and then wrapped the whole bundle. Nothing says "holiday" like a brick with black socks on it. Anyway. That's it.

I have since received one (1) voicemail from my mom, about some book she wants, and vague intimations of my dad's needing "casual tops," although he's 6'8" and like 300 pounds--you try shopping for him. For perspective, those are the same dimensions as John Matuszak, who played Sloth in Goonies. So there you go.

I'm not writing any more. I'm drunk. clm.

*I know this is like totally the gayest phrase ever. That's how stressed out I am with all this shit. I can't even think of anything better than "Clueless Shopperland," which belongs in a Cathy comic or something, like, Calgon, take my ass away.

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