I know you people mean well but really, honestly you need to get over this annual urge to shower Ol' Moi with Christmas presents as your way of saying thanks for the uplift that the weekly ruminations in this column have brought into your otherwise drab and dreary lives.
My rumpus room is already full of Christmas packages this year with three weeks to go — and it's a pretty big room. And the office mail room is so hopelessly clogged with gifts you've sent, postal sacks and bins of them, that cascades of them sluice out onto Scott Street, where the envious gnomish scriveners from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette come up and paw through them and make off with those that look most pawnable or regiftable.
Truly, I'm rewarded enough without this seasonal outpouring. It's reward enough just knowing I'm as beloved a local media figure as Gary Weir ever was, or Cactus Vick, or Smilin' Joe Roper, or Sport Jackson, or Buff Blass, or Lelia Maude Funston, or Herbie Byrd, or Hambone. The nigh universal admiration, the handsome occupational emoluments, the perks, the props, the prizes, the endorsements ... it's almost enough to make me feel undeserving. Almost.
But don't let that "almost" fool you. Don't think it's a backdoor way of saying send more gifts instead of send fewer. It's not. That would be unethical, duplicitous, Huckabesque, a cynical perversion of the Christmas spirit. And Homey don't play that.
The gifts might seem only geegaws and clutter to someone of my standing, true enough, but I know how much they mean — how much the giving of them to the likes of Ol' Moi means — to you little people. I'd much rather you spend your meager portions on yourselves, on each other, (do something about that hair, hire you a personal trainer, etc.), or on hard cases in your church or your employ, or on the ragged urchins whom Santa Claus has no time and only old lumps of coal for.
I personally set aside a couple of dollars apiece for young'uns of that description who come around here looking pitiful, somehow get by my security, my posse, and the mass of celebrity-watchers who shadow me constantly, including paparazzi, to hit me up for an extra crust of bread, for a few measly coppers to help them purchase the rubber crutch tips they've dreamed about, a can of WD40 to loosen up their rusty leg braces or the bellows of the iron lung that their little brother is entombed in.
I'm happy to fork over the happy-holidays $2, even knowing that at least 50 cents of it will go for some bagatelle, or toward some killer app, and that they'll be gulled out of the other buck-fifty by their deadbeat old daddies to put down on another bottle of fortified muscatel. I know it's just throwing money away, but the spirit of Christmas doesn't admit of practical considerations.
So, please, no more Christmas gifts for Ol' Moi. Or if you just have to, and I hate even to bring this up, maybe a little better class of gifts. I mean, even if you're trailer trash it doesn't mean you can't be a little more tasteful, or artful, or je ne sais quoiful, in the Christmas-gift selection process. Being a prole, unschooled in classiness, and always a little short, doesn't doom you to giving trashy presents relentlessly and inevitably, like the goob Magi who slipped the rubber vomit into the Holy Infant's swaddling clothes. So work on this, perhaps over the summer. Discuss among yourselves.
And promise me, no more pocket fishermen.
No more garden weasels.
No more moonstones from a deer shot dead by a six-year-old child.
No more manger scenes folkarted out of Budweiser empties.
No more dinosaur coprolite doorstops.
No more ashtrays from the era when discreet butt-disposal in polite company was not an ejectable offense.
No more tins of Lover's Moon in not-subtle mockery of my political sympathies.
No more glow-in-the-dark anythings.
No more bacon neckties.
No more monogrammed cowhide billfolds obviously handtooled in the vo-tech leatherworking class.
No more board-mounted talking fish, at least not one that speaks in the same Rastus patois as the magpie Heckle.
No more little-boy-peeing car window decals, as I already have a full set.
No more copies of "The Shack." Inasmuch as the first 75 copies were sufficient to get the point across, whatever it was.
No more reduced-fat burger grills of the kind endorsed and promoted by George Foreman, the ex-boxer, and his son George Foreman, and his other son George Foreman, and his other son George Foreman, and his other son George Foreman, and his other son George Foreman, and Georgette, Georgia, and others.
No more souvenir TP rolls with President Obama's likeness on every sheet.
No more packages of stick-on fake bullet holes.
No more splinters of gopher wood from Noah's Ark, guaranteed authentic.
No more Salad Shooters.
No more Buttoneers.
No more Smackover vistas hand-painted onto crosscut saws.
No more Dick Chainys.
No more Karl Rove bobbleheads, as the first one, suctioned onto my dashboard to serve as a kind of gargoyle, was mistaken by several myopic acquaintances of mine as a fleeing dildo.
Bob Lancaster, one of the Arkansas Times longest and most valued contributors, retired from writing his column last week. We’ll miss his his contributions mightily. Look out, in the weeks to come, for a look back at some of his greatest hits. In the meantime, here's a good place to start.