All I want for Christmas - Maxed Out 

Dear Santa:

Well, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?

I know I still owe you a thank-you note for that train set you brought me forty-some years ago. And certainly I’ve been remiss these past few decades about the whole cookies and milk for you and carrots for the reindeer thing. But with what we know today about fat and cholesterol and their relation to heart disease and stroke, you really ought to be watching your weight, if you know what I mean. Slacking off all year long and then trying to cram a whole year’s work into a single night, I mean, jeez, a jolly old guy like you could just keel over at the reins of the sleigh or be found dead, stuck in some kid’s chimney. Don’t they have salad at the North Pole?

Anyway, I’ve been aware for a couple of weeks now of a growing wish list. Things I think I’d like to have. If not for Christmas, then whenever. I’ve had lots of time to give the matter some thought, what with no snow to speak of and lots of long walks in the woods taking the place of skiing.

I think it was the hermit philosopher Henry David Thoreau who said, "The unexamined life gathers no moss," or sentiments to that effect. And there’s nothing like a walk in the woods to examine your life and ponder perplexing questions like, "Should I have spaghetti for dinner tonight?" or, "Do I really want to be Prime Minister?" Just ask Pierre Trudeau who, of course, is dead now and couldn’t answer the question even if he wanted to, although as a matter of public record he preferred spaghetti.

At the mundane end of my wish list is a pair of Neuticles® – – for Zippy the Dog who isn’t the dog he was when the week began. I remember a cartoon from a long time ago where one dog tells another dog he meets on the sidewalk, "My people love me. They cut off my balls." People say he won’t miss them. I’m not sure what he or other dogs would say if they could speak for themselves but I’m pretty sure it was Louis St. Laurent who said, "You don’t miss your water, ‘til your well runs dry." Not that that has anything to do with it.

Also for Zippy, a gross of tennis balls to replace the gross he’s already lost, eaten or squirreled away under the sofa, bed, car seats and, possibly, refrigerator. Either that or there’s something dead under there riveting his attention.

For my friends and relatives in the USofA, a president. Any president will do. The difference between the two current litigants, er, candidates, is not entirely unlike choosing between smashing your right thumb or left thumb with a hammer. Neither alternative is very attractive and the more you think about the possibility, the less you want to get close to a hammer. I’m sure Woody Allen had at least one of these guys in mind when he said, "I'd call him a sadistic, hippophilic necrophile, but that would be beating a dead horse."


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