Some lamebrain thought it would be a great idea to send Joe Sixpack shopping for a Christmas gift for the mother-in-law.
Why not just cut off my thumbs?
A gift for the ol’ battle ax? That’s the wife’s job!
But lamebrain’s the boss.
Faced with cold-hearted marching orders, there was only one thing a red-blooded man could do.
I spent the afternoon at the bar.
I mean, what d’ya expect when you ask a guy to shop for a mother-in-law? And what do you buy her anyway?
I could just imagine the scene at the department store. (And, by the way, before I continue, has anyone noticed that Wanamaker’s is gone? )
Anyway, it goes like this.
Me: I’m shopping for my mother-in-law.
Beautiful salesgirl with heavy red lipstick and wonderbra: Hahahahahahahahahahaha. . .
Me: Seriously, I’m. . .
Her: Hahahahahahahaha. . .
I immediately headed to the new Irish bar on 17th Street, the Black Sheep. A pint of ale and a Bushmill’s put me into a reflective mood.
The guy with the Guinness looked liked he’d listen.
Me (slurring slightly): Y’know, there are some things you just don’t ask a guy to do. . .
Guinness: Right on, brudder. . .
Me: Like, the other night, the l’il woman asks me to watch figger skatin’ wid her.
Guinness: Yo, you check out the legs on that Tonya Nakamichi-a-call-it?
Me: Seriously – you can’t ask a guy to watch the Icecapades. We just don’t do that. You can’t ask us to hand-wash our underwear. We do not cry at movies. We do not drink wine spritzers. And we certainly do not go Christmas shopping for the mother-in-law.
Guinness: Wha. . .You’ve gotta go shopping for. . .Hahahahahahahaha!
Me: Nudder whiskey, please.
You see, the problem with shopping for your mother-in-law is that it is the ultimate lose-lose proposition. If it’s a lousy gift, the mom will only assume her daughter married a loser. If it’s a nice gift, your wife will be all over you: “You never buy me anything that nice! “
It’s not like I didn’t try.
I tried all the finest shops: Home Depot, CVS, Pep Boys, the OTB, the Dollar Store.
Time was running out.
Stores were closing. The Parking Authority was towing on Walnut Street.
And then I saw a line of guys at 15th Street. This must be the place. I stood and waited. It wasn’t until I got inside that I saw the sign:
Phil Herman’s Cigar Shop.
Never mind. I told the cashier I needed something for my mother-in-law.
How much you spending? she asked
Her ya go, she said.
It’s not much, but it’s the best I could do: A carton of Newports and two lottery tickets.
Merry Christmas, Ma.
Love, Joe Sixpack. Your son-in-law.