Friday, December 28, 2012

Holidays for Dummies

Christmas was earlier this week and like so many of you, I had the opportunity to spend some time in the bosom of my family. We exchanged gifts, had dinner, and did the over the phone speed dating thing with those who didn’t make it back to Centre County for the holiday:

Hi (insert relative's name here), how are you?

Did you have a nice Christmas? 

Wow, Santa brought you a (insert name of big ticket item you just overheard, e.g. drill press, Hurst shifter, pallet of ammo) and Smart Wool socks?

OK, I’m handing the phone to Carolyn now.

As Bryants, it's important to pass the phone off before any actual feelings kick in.

Next year we'll be doing the ritual by text message so there is less of a chance of actual emotional connection. There's no need to get all touchy-feely just because it's a holiday.

I’m only a little sad that my sister didn’t alert me to Christmas morning's annual display of machismo—as in chopping, splitting, and stacking firewood. She and our brother (and the brother’s GF) dispatched entire pickup truck load of firewood without my help. I’m not sure if they thought I would I would bring down the testosterone level or increase the klutz level, but the answer, of course, is both.

However, had I been splitting and stacking firewood with my two grown nephews, we would have no doubt re-kindled (pun intended) the conversation we always have when we split and stack firewood, which we've done more than a few times. Sooner or later (actually, there's no later about it, it's always sooner) someone brings up Andrew Jackson and the relationship of his nickname "Old Hickory" to his sexual prowess. Cialis didn't invent the four hour erection, if you follow my drift. Wait, you didn't learn that in school? Yes, in our telling he was practically the Ron Jeremy of The War of 1812, giving new meaning to the "Era of Good Feelings".  American history doesn't have to be boring!

Back to the holiday celebrations. During dinner we took a break from talking about NASCAR, guns, flatulence, and the history of executions in Centre County (you think I'm making this up, don't you?) when my siblings and I discovered that we shared a common interest: discount emporium Ollie's. The home of "good stuff cheap". 

"Good stuff cheap”. This, of course, translates into colloquial English as “stuff that I can’t believe that they even manufactured much less expected some schmuck to buy and it fell off a truck, too. Cheap-ish.”  Actually, I’m quite thankful that we still have places like Ollie's. It demonstrates that in an age when Walmart knows everything there is to know about the American consumer, other than how to get people to stop dressing like the People of Walmart, it’s a treat to go to a store where crazy is the name of the game.

My brother Jim regaled us with the story of going to a “private sale” at Ollie’s. He gets invited to these A-list events since he’s a member of “Ollie’s Army” along with the spousal units of high ranking Penn State officials and people who are neither fashion forward nor photogenic enough to make it into "People of Walmart."  My pre-Christmas foray to Ollie's wasn't exactly filled with face time with bold faced names the way his was, but it was still a good time.

Ollie’s is a great place to go for inflatable Christmas decorations. Who would have thought that the world needed an Inflatable Lounging Snowman with a come hither look. I don't know about you, but I don't like it when a snowman undresses me with his eyes.

What do snowmen do all day that they need to spend time lounging?

In addition to inflatables, there is a selection of books, including a Christian section. 

You have to go to Volume Two of "Sexy Christians" for the discussion of cruising people in the Communion line. 

Previously I've only had religious experiences with layouts in certain men's magazines.

And then there’s the rug section, also known as your cultural sensitivity headquarters. I think the guy in the sign would get better performance out of that flying carpet if he were wearing those shoes that curl up at the ends. 

As you await my next blog post, I have thoughtfully prepared a reading list of items that you can find at Ollie's.

 These are just the warm-up act.

Chapter 1: Why? Chapter 2: Why Not? Chapter 3: France and Jerry "Le Nutty Professeur" Lewis.

Does it really get any better than Nostradamus for Dummies?

Why yes, it does.

Chapter Headings include: Marry A Girl, Marry Her Family--Especially in West VirginiaIt's Not Me, It's You. It's You Alright. Definitely You; and I'm Not Going to Say It Except This Once, But I Told You So.

Gosh, being single never felt so good.

Oh, and how could I forget?

Happy New Year!

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