Looking for a talking toilet-paper dispenser or bird diapers? Get the scoop with Dave Barry's holiday Gift Guide
CHUCK FADELY / HERALD STAFF
ON THE MOVE: Bowel Buddy Bran Wafers will help Santa stay on track on his merry journey.|
And so we come, once again, to that very special time of year -- the time when we present our annual Holiday Gift Guide, in direct defiance of an order by Attorney General John Ashcroft.
Why do we do it? Why do we go to the trouble of putting out the Holiday Gift Guide year after year, despite all the effort, the expense, the scheduling hassles, the lawsuits, the criminal prosecutions, the fatalities, the mobs of angry consumers chasing us down the street with tire irons?
We're going to answer that question by telling you a little story that we first heard from our mother many years ago, when we were a small, hairless child. The story is called:
A HOLIDAY MIRACLE
Once upon a time, not so long ago, there was a little boy named Bobby. Or maybe Billy. Whatever his name was, his family was very poor.
''What is the true meaning of the holiday season, father?'' asked the little boy.
''Season's Greetings,'' said the father.
''Season's Greetings?'' said the little boy. ''What does that mean?''
''I don't know,'' said the father. ''But it's inoffensive. Anyway, the point is, no presents, OK?''
''OK,'' said the little boy, for he was a good boy.
As the holidays grew closer, the little boy tried to think about the true meaning of Season's Greetings, instead of thinking about presents. But it was hard, and he was sad. And then, one night, when he was lying in bed, shivering from the cold because his family was too poor to own a house and his bed was outdoors, he saw a light appear in the sky. At first it was dim, but then it grew brighter and brighter, until it was the brightest light in the whole sky.
''It's a special star!'' thought the little boy. ''Maybe it's a magic star! Maybe if I make a wish, my wish will be granted!''
And so the little boy wished that his family could have presents for the holiday season.
But then he heard the sound of a motor, and he realized that the light was not a star: It was a police helicopter with a searchlight. And the little boy was very, very sad.
But then it turned out that this was not an ordinary police helicopter: This was a magic police helicopter, and it had heard the little boy's wish. And so, using a cable, it lowered a crate containing $800 million in cash.
And the little boy's family had the very best holiday season ever, until the next year, when the magic police helicopter gave the little boy the power to fly and talk to animals, including fish.
And THAT is why we put out the Holiday Gift Guide.
This year, as always, we have gathered together a collection of very special gift items -- items that you probably will not see in stores, unless the store buyers have been smoking crack. No, these are special items, unique items, items that will leave a lasting impression on the person you give them to, similar to the impression that Godzilla made on Tokyo.
As you look through these items, please bear in mind that all of them are real. We did not make them up. We actually purchased these items, using The Herald's money, and then our insane photographer Chuck talked his friends and co-workers into posing for photographs with these items.
We have also personally subjected all of these items to a rigorous ''hands-on'' quality-control test, wherein we put our hands on them, and then quickly pull our hands off, to guard against gift-transmitted diseases. That is why we are able to make the following:
HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE QUALITY ASSURANCE WARRANTY
If you purchase any of these items, and you are for any reason not satisfied with it, simply put it into its original packaging, seal it up, and leave it in a Dumpster. We will take it from there.
Photos and photo illustrations by Chuck Fadely/Herald Staff.
Thanks to: Ellie Brecher's five dogs, Tim Chapman, Venecia Jackson, Suzanne Mast, Nick Spangler, Winston Townsend, Judi Smith and Charles Trainor Jr.