operation mallrat

i was blindingly quick. with precise, almost surgical precision, i was able to, in only a half-dozen sorties to the various corners of the mall, locate and purchase christmas presents for three family members, four friends, and as many former girlfriends.

yes, i went christmas shopping. List in hand, and set on my eventual goal of emerging victorious from the entrance through which i made my first energetic strides with both my sanity and precision-shopping reputation intact, i set forth.

in all, it took me less than two hours of actual mallwalking – in part due to my above average walking speed, and also in good measure due to my List. set in stone – scribbled on a piece of note paper, anyway – i did not detract from my mission but once, in order to search ‘brookstone’ for something not already specified on the List. earlier in the week, i suffered a minor setback when i inadvertently threw out the List mark one and had to recreate it from memory. data was lost, but in all, the otherwise intact List mark two was sufficient for the task.

a few notes to anyone reading this who is putting off the trip to the mall.

first of all – don’t. if you’re waiting for the crowds to diminish, your best bet is christmas morning, which i don’t recommend. no matter how you swing it, you’ll have to wade through the aisles, waste-deep in screaming infants and harried parents with fifteen shopping bags cutting off the circulation to their left arms. suck it up – if you plan ahead and work things out in advance, you only have to make one trip.

if you’re a parent – don’t bring the children to the mall. screaming pokemon fanatics are the absolute last thing i, or any other borderline sane individual needs to deal with when laying out the last month’s salary to buy potpouri-scented breakables for the family and loved ones.

if, like me, you have difficulty tuning out background music, i would recommend aspirin before the trip, as a preventative measure to the massive headache i am now suffering. between the mall’s PA system announcing santa’s arrival every five minutes amongst muzak’d versions of mannheim steamroller’s umpteenth christmas album, each store’s own pumped-up stereo system competing with the gap’s ever-stylish a-capella rendition of ‘ave maria’, and the ubiquitous ‘dancing santa’ dolls in every shop window belting out a thirty-second loop of ‘jingle bell rock’ – it’s enough to send someone like myself into fits.

and so, as saturnalia descends upon us, and we hearken back to the bygone decadence and waste of imperial rome for the short span of a month, think on this:

what would we be doing right now if it weren’t for the three asian astrologers who stumbled into a cattle shed and gave gifts to a jewish newborn?

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