Would you pay $2.99 for a record album – an LP! – in this day and age, when we’ve long ago transcended such antiquated audio technology and moved on to
compact discs?… MP3s?… MP4s…?
…some other sort of digital format the specific name of which none of us are quite sure of anymore?
Okay okay okay – but what if it’s this album:
…and you have to go up and pay for it eating a Jell-O Pudding Pop and humming the ‘Fat Albert’ theme and wearing a colorful sweater and and and the cashier is a laaady?!
Like I said, overpriced!
LIKE you, I’m not a joiner.
But even though I have never worn one myself, I guess I once sort of vaguely liked the concept of ugly Christmas sweaters – before it became an actual thing. But once it became a thing, brother, with more and more people throwing Ugly Christmas Sweater parties and more radio stations and bars and the fun-loving gang in the event planning department at Human Resources holding Ugly Christmas Sweater contests, I was over it. Last year I read an article about a seasonal store (in Brooklyn, maybe…?) that sold nothing but second-hand ugly sweaters.
Others picked up on it, presumably got to work scouring thrift stores far and wide, and now we’ve got at least three online retailers selling hideous holiday apparel (based on a cursory “ugly christmas sweater store” Google search):
So I’ll grudgingly concede their savvy business acumen: They saw a potential market and exploited the hell out of it.
However, if I was going to enter such a contest or attend such a party, I’d either raid my grandmother’s closet (in vain, I can assure you – the woman had taste and did not go in for kitsch. Also, she’s long dead.) or pick through the racks of my local Goodwills and Salvation Armys myself. Because, really, what fun is it to simply log onto a website and pick a used sweater from a gallery of hundreds that was specifically snatched up from a secondhand outlet based on its cheesiness – knowing full well you’re just one of countless others (including, perhaps, your very competition in the contest at next week’s Christmas party down at the bingo hall) doing the same thing? Where’s the thrill of the hunt, man? You’re sitting at your desk scrolling through a webpage!
Then, last night, I see Groupon (remember them?) has further homogenized the whole seasonal craze by offering these mass-produced pullovers:
Not sweaters, mind you – but cotton sweatshirts – with the “ugly Christmas” motif printed on the front to resemble a knit design.
“Ideal for holiday parties and ugly-sweater-themed events” reads the Groupon description. But how? They’re not sweaters!
But it gets worse! They also offer these:
Call me a prude, or maybe I’ve just inherited Grandmater’s patrician demeanor, but I don’t think “fugly” on holiday apparel is appropriate. (Or really, anything you wear out in public, unless it’s to one of those fetish events, where you’re intentionally misbehaving, using bad language, wearing inappropriate clothes and wanting to give the person in charge a reason for paddling your bare bottom with a modified Wiffle Ball bat- I mean, after all, why else would you pay $600 in addition to booking a room on the same floor at the Golden Nugget for the weekend? By the way, Susan and Larry – we’ll see you in February! Should be a good turnout this year. Vera says she’s in, too, if her hemorrhoids aren’t acting up too bad.)
You know what’s also not appropriate? Announcing your sweater is ugly on the sweater itself. If you have to tell people your sweater is ugly, what’s the point? Oh, and yes, there’s still the niggling problem that these things aren’t even sweaters in the first place! They’re sweatshirts! Sweat! Shirts!
And just when you thought we’ve reached the nadir of this ugly Christmas (non)-sweater craze, we see that also available are these:
So here we’ve got ugly Christmas sweaters that 1) again, aren’t sweaters but sweatshirts, 2) again, have the knit design printed on, and 3) really, just completely destroy any rapidly waning illusion that maybe from a few feet away, they could possibly be mistaken for sweaters – by having a very obvious screened design printed on top of the fake knit pattern!
You know the message you’re sending out to the world with these sweatshirts? You’re telling the world, ‘I give up. I can’t compete in normal Ugly Christmas Sweater contests. I’m miserable, so I might as well be comfortable.'”
MANY of you have chided me for misrepresenting lovely Virginia, USA, as an arachnophobe’s nightmare.
“Ted,” you chide, “Ted, every time you go there, you whine like a little girl about the spiders supposedly therein.
“And then how you do go on about the stink bugs and centipedes and those so-called ‘enormous’ hornets and all other manner of creepy-crawlers, and so why wouldn’t we chide you, man?” you continue to chide.
Anyway, you have my schedule, you know I’ve been visiting the family, but what you didn’t know was the first day I’m there, as I’m bringing my luggage into Dad’s guest room, as a welcome, what comes charging out at me down the hall is a wolf spider. Had the leg-span the diameter of a manhole cover, it did – and the pedipalps on this thing…! As long and thick as those inflatable noise-maker sticks people in the South bring to their sporting events, but even more insidious!
…Okay, so maybe they weren’t as big as those, and perhaps the entire creature wasn’t quite manhole-cover-sized. Still, the damn thing was big.
Father directed me to “Just step on it,” and I did as I was told, but brother, something that size I was bound to feel, regardless of how tall the soles of my vinyl platform boots were. Crrrunch.
After I scraped it off my shoe into the toilet, attempted flushing in vain, and then used a plunger to help send the profusion of hairy legs sticking out of the now-clogged commode back down to the depths of hell from whence the beast came, Dad noted that “Oh, that little thing, that’s nothing.”
Yeah, well to me – to me, it was something. Something out of a nightmare I’m going to have every night for months now, where I’ll wake up screaming each time and probably begin peeing the bed again, and after all those years of hypnotherapy…!
“That’s nothing,” Dad continued, or reiterated, or something, regardless that he didn’t actually repeat himself yet I’ve written it that way for dramatic effect. “A few months ago I had a mouse in here so I put down a couple of glue traps.”
Then he made his way to a bookshelf and pulled a flat board off of it.
“This is what I caught instead.”
“It was actually quite a bit bigger before it died and the legs curled in a bit.”
Okay, then! Just get me my cell phone so I can book my flight back out of here right now, today, five minutes after I’ve arrived, and hand me that baseball bat, too, just in case any more appear while we wait for the airport shuttle to rescue me and I contemplate why Dad’s starting a trophy room for vanquished arachnids.
HERE’S something that the one-post-every-eight-months cereal blogs are too lazy to cover, but not me, brother! Not me! You’ll find new content here (such as it is) that you can set your watch by, on schedule, right on time, precisely every once in a while!
So I was in my local discount grocery store…? You know the kind – the produce is cheaper (and more mottled with blemishes and fæces from the hands of whoever picked it)…and all the other stuff is the exact same price if not higher, but they give you the illusion of it being a bargain by displaying everything in the cardboard cartons they were shipped in with the front cut off…?
Anyway, that’s when I saw this – a new member of Post’s Pebbles family of cereals:
And like you, I thought it ridiculous!
Why, these “Poppin’ Pieces” that “fizz in your mouth with burstin’ berry flavor” are nothing but glorified Pop Rocks! Over-sweetened candy commingling with nourishing rice cereal – someone thought this was a good idea?!
No thank you, I’ll stick with my healthy breakfast ritual.
A great big bowl of Cap’n Crunch’s Oops! All Circus Peanuts.
It’s a delicious part of a balanced breakfast.