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Christmas Shopping

It took a while, but it finally hit me. I had presented myself at the door of a certain condominium at the appointed time. Another did not seem quite so punctual. My ringing of the doorbell was greeted with an opening of the door, then a slamming of it back in my face with the greeting of, “Give me a minute.” I had glimpsed enough of the Teacher to ascertain that she was indeed dressed, darn it. Something else was causing the delay in dinner. With little to do other than stand outside her door like Metallica’s Loverman I listened intently. I heard what sounded a lot like the rustling of wrapping paper. Uh-oh, this was trouble.

It seems a Christmas gift was being wrapped, presumably one for me. All in all not a bad thing. After a minute or so it finally dawned on me that if the Teacher had purchased me a gift, the chances were very good that she would expect one in return. Things were about to get tricky.

My usual habit of dealing with the entire Christmas merchandising frenzy is to ignore it. I rarely give or receive any gifts, a byproduct of what is now a very small extended family. This was going to be a little different.

I was not only going to be expected to purchase a gift, but to put at least a little thought into it. This is not exactly my strong point. In the forty-some odd years since I determined that maybe girls weren’t so bad after all, the one overriding constant was that I had not the slightest idea of What Women Want. A failure to discern it had cost me quite a bit of money and aggravation over the decades. However, it does seem like an opportune time to try again.

Question One became: What to buy? Personal history teaches that this is about as far outside my areas of expertise as stand-up comedy is to Herb Sendek or humility to algroh. The Bahamas cruise that disembarked in Miami January 2 I had been eying before December 3 no longer seemed like such a hot idea. I had been given reason to believe that the Teacher opening a Christmas gift containing Gator Bowl tickets would not go over particularly well. There was only one thing to do.

I set foot in the local shopping mall about as often as Rutgers goes to a bowl game. It had been a while. Nevertheless, I found myself entering it last Saturday morning. Early last Saturday morning, as a matter of fact. I had hoped to avoid what I assumed would be large crowds.

I entered and stood staring at the attempts by the various merchants to decorate their establishments in such a manner as to convince me to spend money. I was promptly run down by a phalanx of mall walkers. I dragged my battered and bruised body into the nearest storefront to escape the stampeding active adults while marveling at the punch wielded by blindsiding little old ladies who let absolutely nothing stand in the way of their commitment to fitness. I paused to develop a strategy of maneuver similar to that of Henrici’s on the Eastern Front. Retreating from the assault-opening blows delivered by the Red Army was a lark compared to attempting to avoid the hard-charging waves of people older and certainly fitter than I. The Tech offensive line certainly found mowing down FSU defenders a much tougher task than did these rampaging seniors citizens.

Combining the adroit footwork usually displayed by MVToo to get outside the pocket against teams not from Florida with the ‘Run for your life’ scrambling method often employed by Marques Hagans, I was able to make it from store to store. It was a tough couple of hours; the Carolina defense wore down much more quickly than did the mall walkers.

As I inched along the wall between Victoria ’s Secret and a jewelry store searching for some quasi-appropriate gift it popped into my head that this would go much easier if I was charged with buying gifts for various sports personalities from this region. I have a much better idea of what they might want or need.

For instance, much-maligned Tech Offensive Coordinator Bryan Stinespring wouldn’t mind finding under his tree a gift of fake glasses, nose and mustache. That would enable him to take his kids to the NRV Mall without having to endure all of those ‘You bum’ platitudes. Or perhaps he would prefer a Website blocker to keep from stumbling onto ‘fan’ sites such as this one. It comes with the job, Bryan .

What could Frank Beamer, a coach who can simply buy anything he desires except for consecutive ACC championships, possibly need? Perhaps an armored car to transport the loot from his new contract to the bank, or maybe a red herring to wave when exclaiming, “It’s all about the staff.” Or, considering how many trips Tech makes to the Gator, or Runner-up Bowl, a time-share overlooking the St. John ’s River .

At the top of Seth Greenberg’s Christmas wish list is no doubt some improvements to what next year will be the worst facilities in the ACC. Considering what he is doing with what is on hand, it would certainly be a wise investment. Seth is no doubt planning on doing some loud caroling to those holding basketball season tickets. Hopefully, ‘Oh Come, All Ye Faithful’ will be heard as far away as Richmond and NOVA.

Tech AD jimmy could use a higher chair. One with railings to reduce the risk of falling off that huge pile of cash upon which he perches. It can now be said that the financial mess created by Dooley has been rectified.

It would even be easier to shop for the gang over in Hooville than I was finding it to be at the mall. There is a festive air around Mr. Jefferson’s Grounds, what with the halls decked with unsold Music City Bowl tickets. Contributing to the holiday good cheer is Fallback Dave’s continued grumbling about not having any decent players left by the Gillen who stole Christmas and winning records.

The joyful atmosphere around Hooville would certainly be enhanced by the gift of a life-size you-know-who doll for Craig ‘Must Be Tubby’ Littlepage along with a CD containing ‘The Twelve Years of algroh’ that can be played over and over. Fallback Dave certainly should appreciate a copy of ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ but would probably gripe about it. As for the Great NFL Legend, he will no doubt enjoy that lump of RUTS he finds in his stocking.

Shopping for any of the above would have been easier than trying to negotiate a mall attempting to unearth and purchase a ‘special’ present. It took me a couple of hours of going from store to store, soliciting advice from both helpful sales clerks and a few not so, but I did eventually buy something. Hopefully, it will go over well.

This will be the only column written this week. Hey, it’s a holiday, or close enough. The A-Line would like to wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season. Merry Christmas.

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