According to the internet, I need to start drinking whiskey. And taking my meat grilling more seriously. And wearing watches that could be traded in for a year’s worth of college tuition.
I need to start liking uncomfortable-looking jeans. And cigars. And I have to start wanting to read books about Teddy Roosevelt, presumably while drinking whiskey in my uncomfortable jeans and occasionally checking my expensive watch to see if it’s time to light the grill with my cigar.
That is disappointing, to say the least.
When my wife asked for a Christmas list, I turn to the internet for answers. I Googled things like “Christmas gifts for guys” and “Christmas gifts for dads” and “fun Christmas gifts for guys” and kept coming up with the same assortment of stuff:
Never miss a local story.
Snazzy whiskey glasses, exotic meat rubs, watches with names I can’t pronounce, sausage-casing-style jeans, more whiskey stuff, whiskey-scented soap, whiskey-flavored meat rubs. About the only thing missing was a hickory-smoked whiskey glass made of meat and denim that also tells time.
I have nothing against anything that apparently defines the modern man. It’s just that none of those things is really my bag.
I grill, but only in the most basic sense. I don’t savor the experience or try out new techniques. I get in and get out and hope the meat isn’t raw and the back deck isn’t on fire.
I don’t wear a watch because a phone that’s 17 million times smarter than a watch (and me) is never more than a foot from my body.
It seemed the only other guy gift ideas I could find involved varying forms of drills and screwdrivers. I have a drill and several screwdrivers and I don’t think getting one that has a hand-carved teak handle will make life much better.
So I Googled “why are all these gifts the same” and “is there something wrong with me” and “where’s the nearest Dairy Queen, I’m sad and hungry.”
Then it dawned on me that I can’t possibly be the only guy not seeing himself represented in holiday gift lists. In fact, I’d bet many fellow dudes find these lists uninspiring.
After returning from Dairy Queen, I made a decision: I’m going to come up with a list of gift ideas that captures real guys like me, men who work and have kids and are tired and try to stay fit but kind of just really enjoy watching television and occasionally stand in the basement to get a quick moment of peace.
Here then is Rex Huppke’s List of Practical Christmas Gift Ideas for Guys:
▪ Torso Drones: After a few hours of comfortably reclining on the couch, there’s nothing worse than having to get up. It reminds me of how many different parts of my body hurt, and that makes me feel old, and that makes me sad, and being sad makes me want to go to Dairy Queen. So I would like several small Torso Drones that, with the push of a button, will lift me off the couch and into a standing position.
▪ Self-Repairing Underwear: Like most guys who don’t wear uncomfortable jeans, I like comfortable underwear, and I wear them until they are little more than a loosely knit array of atoms with a waistband. Then, when I have to throw them out, I feel sad, and we all know where that leads. So I would like underwear that, as it ages, fixes itself and stays with me forever.
▪ A Living-Room Dairy Queen Franchise: Let’s just say this would cut down on driving expenses considerably.
▪ A Nap Dome: This would be a collapsible and comfortably padded man-container that can be transported anywhere, one with walls that are impervious to the phrases “Dad, can you look at this?” and “Dad, I dropped my retainer in the toilet.”
▪ Sigh Assistant: This app would transform your smartphone into a monitor that responds to your surroundings by emitting a belabored sigh any time life seems too daunting. After a preset number of sighs, the app would automatically find the nearest Dairy Queen and sync with your Torso Drones to take you there.
That’s a list for the kind of man I am. And now it will be on the internet so other like-minded, non-whiskey-drinking, tattered-undergarment-wearing, back-aching men can rejoice.
And then, hopefully, retreat to the comfort of their Nap Domes.
Rex Huppke is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.