I have been on the planet for more decades than a few. And yet there still lives beneath this crusted exterior a small boy of about 11.

He comes out to play when the long suffering wife, who should know better, takes me on shopping excursions. He has a short attention span and gets antsy fairly fast. Some places he is forced to visit are better than others. This weekend it was to the card store.

The small boy (we will call him Jimmy) loves buttons. In the toy department at a store he will press every switch and try out every toy. Lions and tigers and bears dance and sing and lights flash. He is happy when he gets two or more playing in sync.

The visit to the card store (just to reaffirm my Man creds, the previous stop was the beer store) offered Jimmy all the new cards that play music. Greeting card makers are working overtime on these. If there is not already there will soon be one that plays Chopin’s “Funeral March” on a sympathy card.

Jimmy also tries to get several identical cards to play in sync.  After Jimmy has played with every card in the store – some of them are LOUD! – and activated all the animated ornaments he grew bored and restless and prowled the aisles. In Jimmy’s mind he can’t figure out why a visit to the card store takes so long. There is a lot of boring stuff in card stores. Candles. Gee gaws. Gim cracks. Dust collectors. Most of it Jimmy doesn’t even give a second glance.

There is also lots of new stuff in the card store for Christmas. “Twas the night before Christmas” in a book that records your voice as you read it. A cute idea but not good enough in my estimation. We need video too, so we can see Grandpa’s grizzled, hung over face. And a smell recorder. “Mommy, this book smells like Grandpa. Cigar smoke, cabbage and beer farts.”

But new this year there is a small dog named Jingles. Jingles looks sort of like a small Siberian Husky that has ingested LSD. Press the button on his ear and a sultry ladies voice explains the gizmo. Jingles comes with a book that has phrases to which Jingles will respond to by yipping, shaking all over like a methamphetamine user (two drug references in one paragraph- a personal best) and for all I know a phrase that gets him to lift his leg and pee on the Christmas tree.

Jingles is a bit scary, if you ask me.

A  pile of Jingles crouched next to the check-out. As the long suffering wife paid I explained Jingles to her. When I got to the part about Jingles wetting down the holiday bush the clerk looked at me and said, very seriously, “It doesn’t do that.”

This, from someone who had a diamond stud in her upper lip the size of an apple stem. Jimmy stared at it in fascination for a moment and wondered how she kept lunch off it. If Jimmy had something like that on his upper lip it would be covered in snot. He was about to say as much when the wife sensed this and pulled him by the ear from the store.

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About James Rising

A recovering radio addict wrestles with the written word.
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