MAD DOG: All I Want for Christmas

Everyone's getting into the Christmas spirit, and it's about time, don't you think? After all, the displays have been in the stores since Labor Day, you woke up this morning with the realization that Christmas also spells "trims cash", and everyone including that guy behind the counter at the 7-11 is wishing you a happy holiday. Right. Like you're actually going to leave him a tip for ringing up that Breakfast Big Bite and the large Peanut Butter and Jelly Slurpee. I mean, it's not as if he sold you a Furby or anything.Furbies, for those of you who have been too busy convincing yourselves that the fluffy white stuff on the leftover Thanksgiving yams is marshmallow so it's okay to eat them, are this year's hot Christmas item. You know, the one thing everyone has to give their kids whether they want one or not.It's a time-honored American tradition to anoint a product, usually a toy, to be the Present of the Year. This is a bigger honor than being named Time's Man of the Year. After all, Adolf Hitler and Ayatullah Khomeini were never Present of the Year. This (the Present, not the Man of the Year) is decided upon by a secret cabal known as the Marquis de Sade Fan Club and Practical Joke Society. This is, incidentally, the same group that offered Adam Sandler a mega-million dollar contract to ensure that we'll get to see Waterboy-2, The Waterboy Strikes Back, and Waterboy -- the Final Touchdown.Every spring this group polls the toy manufacturers, looking over the products, checking out their playability quotient, and then laughing at the silliness of this charade while they select the one item which they know for a fact the manufacturer isn't even remotely ready to put into mass production. This guarantees that as the Christmas season approaches, parents and the media will succumb to the mass hysteria of searching for the one Christmas item they're convinced will make their kids happy, healthy, and less likely to mow down their classmates during lunch. The children, of course, would be just as happy with the box the tinsel came in.Past years have seen parents camped out for weeks at a time trying to snag such hard-to-find items as Nintendos, Cabbage Patch Dolls, and Tickle Me What's-His-Name. Well, this year it's the Furby -- an ugly, yet cuddly, computer chip-filled toy that not only responds to touch, motion, and light, but speaks in two languages, English and Furbish. That's right. People are going crazy trying to buy a toy that speaks fluent gibberish. Marshall McLuhan would be proud.As expected, people are doing battle to get their hands on a Furby. The police in Tewksbury, Mass., had to be called to a Wal-Mart so they could find out why it was okay to sell stuffed toys that speak nonsense but not the new Marilyn Manson CD. Just kidding. Actually they were there to calm down a crowd that made English soccer fans look like a bunch of sleeping Quakers at a church picnic. Believe it or not, some of the crowd had been there since 10pm on Thanksgiving night. It's amazing what people will do just to get away from the house after having spent an afternoon listening to Uncle Wilbur snore through two football games. It was a good thing the cops showed up when they did or a few of these people not only wouldn't have gotten their Furbies, but would have been singing "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth."Furbies aren't the only hard-to-find Christmas present this year. Biker Barbie, a limited edition which is only being sold through Harley-Davidson dealers, is in big demand too. Dressed in a leather jacket, gloves, chaps, and boots, this refugee from a San Francisco leather bar is being snapped up faster than a topless dancer's overcoat at the Fairbanks Outdoor Stripper's Ball. And Biker Barbie doesn't even speak Furbish.Harley-Davidson gave each dealer 20 dolls. Although there weren't lines waiting to get them, they did sell out quickly, meaning the only place you can still find them is on the Internet, where the $60 dolls are going for upwards of $200. She's not alone there either -- Furbies are also being sold at Internet auction sites like This proves that, contrary to popular opinion, you can find more on the Internet than herbal impotency cures, nude pictures of Dr. Laura, and Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo screen savers.That's why experts predict that this year people will spend a few billion dollars buying Christmas presents online. Well, that and the fact that they're too busy hanging around chat rooms pretending to be a 16 year-old cheerleader named Nikki to get out of the house and shop.This may be good news for men who, it turns out, have a good excuse not to shop -- it's bad for their health. A study just released in England (motto: "Even we can't understand what we're saying") shows that a man's heart rate and blood pressure skyrocket when he goes Christmas shopping, similar to that of "a fighter pilot going into combat or a policeman going into dangerous situations."This should come as no surprise to anyone who's ever been anywhere near a store between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is combat. That's why I intend on making it easy on anyone who wants to get me a present this year.Forget Furby. Forget Biker Barbie. I know something you can give me that will be infinitely easier to get than either of those two -- Peace on Earth. But you'd better hurry, there's a guy in Indiana who's about to outbid you for it on


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