As President …

President Underground Writer: I sit before you today as the forty-fifth President of the United States of America. Members of Congress and Senators, I look forward to working together in unity as we face and successfully address the daunting issues that stand before us all.

Congresswoman Liza Lott: We look forward to working with you as well, President Underground Writer.

President Underground Writer: Why, thank you, Representative Liza Lott. Okay, first things first. The most pressing issue I feel this country needs is a Silver Head Lane. This will be shovel-ready, putting thousands upon thousands of unemployed people to work –

Senator Les Abel: Um … excuse me, President Underground Writer, but what exactly do you mean by “Silver Head Lane?”

President Underground Writer: A traffic lane devoted solely for silver heads, of course. What do you think it means?

Senator Les Abel: A traffic lane devoted solely for silver heads? You mean, old people?

President Underground Writer: Sure. They would have their own lane. Like truckers have on the Jersey Turnpike. Just think of it! Their own lane, where they can dawdle safely, unharassed by people tailgating them. Then the rest of society can get to their destinations on time.

Congressman Ernest Lee Cheating: President Underground Writer, not only does that sound discriminatory, but it also would be extraordinarily expensive. Also, I don’t remember you saying anything about this Silver Head Lane during your campaign for office.

President Underground Writer: Well, sure I did! Didn’t you listen to those annoying prerecorded robocalls that called your house every night? Or what about the dozens of flyers that filled your mailbox every day? Both of those stated I had a plan to improve our country’s infrastructure.

Congresswoman Liza Lott: Wait. Your plan to improve our country’s infrastructure was by building Silver Head Lanes? How come no one knew this? (Looks around room.)

President Underground Writer: I may have been a little vague. Okay, next on my agenda to help this country is texting.  I want a federal law that will make texting while driving a criminal offense.

Senator Les Abel: A criminal offense? That seems a bit much. I mean, haven’t you ever texted while driving?

President Underground Writer: I can’t recall.

Congressman Ernest Lee Cheating: You can’t recall? Did you, or did you not text while driving?

President Underground Writer: I may have typed some words, but I never actually sent the text. Therefore, it doesn’t count as a text since it was never sent. Okay. Transportation has been addressed. Now, last on my agenda before I leave for Camp David –

Congresswoman Liza Lott: Leave for Camp David? But it’s your first day in office!

President Underground Writer: … is to get rid of Columbus Day. Wasn’t Christopher Columbus a big, fat jerk?

Senator Les Abel: A big fat jerk?

President Underground Writer: Yes. Didn’t he lop off the hands of people? And he never actually discovered the United States. He just bumped into the Caribbean with that old fashioned boat of his. And even then he thought it was India. Some explorer he was!

Congresswoman Liza Lott: So, you would like to abolish the federal holiday altogether?

President Underground Writer: Not get rid of it, exactly. More like tweak it, so we can acknowledge another explorer. Like … Juan Ponce de Leon.

Senator Les Abel: Ponce de Leon … didn’t he discover Florida while searching for the fountain of youth? Why should we have a federal holiday named after him?

President Underground Writer: Since this county esteems youth so much. Look at all the anti-wrinkle creams out there. Instead of Columbus Day, it should be Ponce de Leon Day. That would be more fitting with our country’s values. Now, let’s see … I addressed transportation, infrastructure and a federal holiday. I think that does it for today. If there’s an emergency, I can be reached at Camp David.

Senator Les Abel (rubbing his temples): President Underground Writer –

President Underground Writer: Oh! That reminds me. I would like to be addressed as “Your Majesty.” How come Great Britain gets the Queens and Princes? Huh? That’s just not fair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Guide To Gift Giving

The season of gift giving has arrived! As we elbow our way through crowded malls, ruminating over prices and searching for the proper present, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. What if she already has this? Would he be a large or a medium? Wait. Did she say she was or wasn’t allergic to peanuts?

While I certainly cannot provide assistance with all of these common shopping dilemmas, I can share some gift giving wisdom I have learned throughout the years.

1. If the gift is to be opened in front of a large group of people (say an office party, or a gathering of extended family members), avoid giving underwear. As a teenager, my grandmother gave me a pair of white brief underwear the size of Alaska. As I unfolded the underpants and held them up at arms length, an awkward silence filled the room.

2. Regifting is tricky. (Personally, I can’t help but feel the person who is receiving the regifted gift has been duped.) If you are a regifter (“not that there’s anything wrong with that”) remember to keep track of who originally gave you the gift. I know someone who received the gift she had given that person. That’s right: The regifter regifted the gift back to the original giver.

3. Gift Cards are safe, safe, safe. Somewhere along the way, gift cards developed the stigma of not having enough thought put into the purchase of them. Huh? Picture being in a store and someone handing you fifty dollars to spend in the store at that moment. How luxurious! However, just be careful and make sure the gift card is appropriate for the recipient. Giving a pacifist an annual membership to the NRA would go over like a lead balloon, as would presenting your vegan boss with a gift card to Omaha Steaks.

4. For those friends/family who have birthdays around Christmas/Chanukah, never, ever do a “this is your birthday AND Christmas (Chanukah) gift! Unless, of course, the gift is extravagant. (I’m talking new car extravagant.) Handing someone a tin of flavored popcorn while singing, “Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday!” makes the receiver feel a bit gypped. Trust me, by combining these two events, you’re not fooling anyone.

5. When buying gifts for children, decide who you want to like you more: the kid or parent. While practical gifts are generally despised by children (my husband still remembers sulking over the bathrobe he received as a Christmas gift when he was eight years old), they are very appreciated by parents. Toys that kids love – drum sets or life-like sounding fire engines –  can drive parents batty. Prior to purchasing a gift for a child, decide beforehand what you want to accomplish.

In conclusion, as much as we may think that we’ve received some bad gifts over the years, if we’re honest with ourselves, chances are we have given just as many bad gifts too. So we need not get indignant and hold grudges. Basically – don’t sweat it. There is always next year.

Father’s Day Schmather’s Day

Mother’s Day is the busiest day of the year for restaurants. In 2011, an estimated 75 million people dined away from home on that sacred Sunday. (If in doubt of these statistics, click here.) While moms were enjoying a meal they did not have to cook, they were also presented with the ever popular Mother’s Day card. Approximately 670 million dollars is spent each year on Mother’s Day cards (Thinking, “That can’t be right!”?  Click here.)

Yet, what about good old dad? I was recently contacted by a reader who wanted to know my thoughts on why there is such a measly selection for Father’s Day cards and a plethora of Mother’s Day cards. An Internet search on Father’s Day statistics resulted in very little information, other than the fact that most people eat barbecue on Father’s Day (which I assume dad grills).

My reader was on to something. Why is Father’s Day not as celebrated as Mother’s Day?

There are several explanations for why Mother’s Day is seemingly more important than Father’s Day:

Mama’s Boys: Typically Italian, these men never really cut the cord with their moms. Some mama’s boys remain living with their mom and never marry. Others do marry, but continue to keep Mama Mia their main lady. While perhaps emotionally stunted, Mama’s Boys aren’t dumb, so they know to buy their favorite lady a card and take her out for dinner on Mother’s Day. Mama’s Boys also tend to find their father a nuisance – even a potential competitor for their mama’s attention. Therefore, Father’s Day isn’t something high on the Mama’s Boys list.

If Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy: Need I say more? There isn’t a saying, “If daddy ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” We seem to be able to deal with dad’s grumpiness, but not mom’s. Not honoring mom on Mother’s Day is the mistake of all mistakes, and we pay severely. Hallmark knows this.

Greeting Card Writers are Mostly Female: And irate ones, at that. The card company employees use Father’s Day as a time to blow off some steam. Husband forgot to take out the garbage again? Or spent a tad too much playing poker with the guys?  The greeting cards would read: “Father – You Taught Me Everything I Needed To Know. Too Bad My Husband Isn’t As Wonderful As You” or “Dad – You Are So Smart. I Should Have Listened To You And Never Married Him.” Obviously, these cards never make it to the shelves, resulting in a paltry Father’s Day card selection.

Women Live Longer Than Men: Can’t give a deceased dad a card, can you?

Single Parent Homes: According to the 2010 census, there were 11.7 million single parent homes. 9.9 of them were custodial moms (meaning – the mom lived home and the father did not) while only 1.8 million were custodial dads. This means 85% of homes were headed by single moms, and only 15% by dads. These are just raw numbers of course. A mother living with her children instead of the father does not imply the father is an absent one. It does imply, however, that the kids see mom more and they are aware of this when Mother’s Day rolls around. (Remember: when mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.)

Statistically speaking, it seems that gnawing on barbecue while giving dad a cheesy card is how Father’s Day will be celebrated tomorrow. Since Hallmark isn’t taking advantage of this holiday, it’s up to us to do so.