I asked my lovely wife, Lisa, what she wanted for Christmas the other day and she said, "A divorce." I told her I wasn't planning on spending that much.
I think she was just joking - or at least I hope she was - but I never did find out what she wanted for Christmas, and she's pretty doggoned hard to buy for. So are my kids, come to think of it.
The thought of a new basketball or football doesn't seem to hold the same thrill for my son, Jackson, that it once did, and it's been years since either of my daughters asked for anything as simple as a doll.
But my conversation with my wife set me to thinking about old Santa Claus and what a hard time he must have deciding who gets what when he makes his annual trip around the world. I thought it might be fun to offer him a few suggestions for some of the folks who have been in the news this year.
Now I know what you are thinking. "You just said you don't know what to get your own family for Christmas, but you know what to give everybody else?"
Well shoot fire! Jimmy Carter didn't know what to do about anything while he was president and has been an expert on everything since he left office. If he can offer his unsolicited advice to the world, I can drop a few hints to Santa Claus.
First on my list is Reggie Ball, because he has earned a special place in my heart. If I had my way, Santa would give Reggie four more years of eligibility - at Florida. We might actually have a chance to beat those guys with Reggie at the helm.
Saddam Hussein is not one of my favorite people, but since it's Christmas and all, I would have Santa bring him an elastic rope - which might come in handy for old Saddam in a few weeks.
And since O.J. Simpson is so hungry for attention these days, I would have Santa visit him, too - and bring him nice new chair - one with several thousand volts of electricity running through it.
I think Donald Rumsfeld might like a new board game. Maybe Risk would be a good choice. You're familiar with Risk, aren't you? It's the game of world domination, but if you foul up the strategy, nobody gets killed.
Since I am an equal opportunity offender, I would like to offer something to Hillary Clinton, too. She might like one of those mirrors like the wicked stepmother in "Snow White" had. She could look into it and ask "Who is the fairest presidential candidate in the land?" and after she saw the answer, she could send a henchman into the woods looking for the heart of Barack Obama.
I thought about asking Santa to bring George Bush a book containing all the latest political jokes, and then I realized that he appointed most of them.
OK. So I stole that from Bob Hope, who stole it from Will Rogers, who probably stole it from Mark Twain. At least I steal from the best.
I would have Santa bring Britney Spears - oh, never mind. I don't believe in hunting over a baited field, so I will just leave that one alone.
Gift certificates are nice, so maybe Santa could bring Mel Gibson and Michael Richards an all-expense paid getaway. It doesn't really matter to where. They both just need to get away - far, far away.
And he should bring Barry Bonds his very own asterisk. On the other hand, Barry will probably have plenty in a year or two - as soon as his muscles turn to the same flavor Jell-O as Mark McGwire's.
I would have Santa bring Tom Cruise a clue - because he doesn't have one - and I would have him bring Larry Munson a case of spring water from the Fountain of Youth, because I want him to be around forever.
Michael Vick? That's easy. He needs a pair of mittens - the kind that doesn't have the individual fingers.
Our new speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi? A couple of what Jackson used to want for Christmas. She'll need them in a couple of weeks.
I would like to see Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad receive his just deserts - and we ain't talking strawberry shortcake, here. And he could share his gift with Kim Jong Il and Osama Yo Mama while he was at it.
And to the new panda at Zoo Atlanta I would have Santa bring a name so we can finally quit hearing about her not having one.
For all of the other famous and infamous people on Santa's shopping list - well, a copy of my new book, "What the Huck!" might be nice. I don't know how many celebrities would like it, but at this time of year I can't resist a shot at shameless self-promotion.
And now that all that is taken care of, maybe I can concentrate on shopping for my wife.
Maybe Jimmy Carter could help me pick something out.
Darrell Huckaby is an author and teacher in Rockdale County. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org..
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