Tuesday, December 20, 2011

White Elephant Parties and A New Gold Standard

I recently attended a so-called "White Elephant" holiday party. You know the kind - where everyone brings a wrapped gag gift and you draw a gift at random. These types of parties, to my mind, present an open challenge. Who among the party goers can do something really clever? Sure, you'll always get the old favorites...bright red thong panties with provocative messages emblazoned on the fanny (old and tired, unless you show up wearing them), fart machines, various and sundry sex toys (generally of the larger variety to add to the "wow" factor, and undeniably finding their way to the bedside drawer), voodoo dolls in the shape of controversial political figures, the "Leg Lamp" from A Christmas Story, the occasional Osama bin Laden dart board. All solid efforts, to be sure. But the real contest is to find something truly different and witty. Something that leaves people breathless from laughing, and amazed at your ingenuity and devilish humor. At the end of the day, in my humble opinion, the real task is juxtaposition - if you can combine items around a theme and add a hint of Christmas, you've likely got a winner. I admit to a few favorites among my (and others') past submissions. These include, in no particular order:

- A box containing a 12-inch Bowie knife, a camo Santa hat and a tin of Skoal Long Cut (this was a hit, although there was one minor injury that resulted when the recipient, post several bottles of wine, became a bit too animated with the Bowie knife);

- A manual containing 365 sexual positions (one for each day), a tin of Spotted Dick, a six-pack of malt liquor, and candy stripe panties.

- A can of Mountain Dew and a single serving bag of Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies, in a large Neiman Marcus box and wrapped in fancy silver paper.

But this year, if I do say so myself, I set a new high-water mark for White Elephant gifts. I ordered a funny little sculpture, about a foot high, found of all places in the "SkyMall" catalog. (The one that every person who's ever set foot on a plane has read in final 20 minutes of any flight, after we've been forced to power down all other reasonable time killers).

Now, the statue is pretty entertaining in its own right, but I wanted to give it that extra something; that "pop" that would have people talking about this party on Monday. So I drafted and enclosed with the Squirrel Thinker an inspirational poem to provide the lucky recipient with a context in which to consider this particular gift. And so I submit for your edification:

An Inspirational Poem to Accompany "The Squirrel Thinker"

As I sat one day engrossed in deep thought,

The meaning of life, answers to questions I sought.

Could I be making more money? Always hole out in two putts?

I knew it was time to sit on my nuts.

The house is a wreck and the kids are a mess;

A wife to support, a boss to impress.

Went to a party and danced like a klutz.

Only one thing to do – sit on my nuts.

It’s Christmas again and you’ve bought not a present,

The noise, lines and crowds at the mall are unpleasant.

When you dream of kicking fake Santa’s butts,

Take a deep breath, and sit on your nuts.

And now friend I pass this wisdom to you –

A squirrel with a message; a new world view.

When the going gets tough, when like becomes tricky,

Sit on your nuts (but watch out for your dicky).

Happy Holidays.