Here it is, Christmas. Sure got here fast this year, or so it seems to me. I can still taste the Thanksgiving turkey, and now here's Christmas, right in our laps. Time flies, they say. Hope you got all your shopping done, and presents wrapped, and that you met some friendly folks from your village whilst you were standing in line at the post office. Here at BrettunsVillage we went about the holiday uptick with a new plan ' better inventory management, better dog food, more water for all employees; it still didn't help a whole lot. I gauge the success or failure of these in-house corporate efficiency programs by looking in the mirror when I get home at
night: if there's packing tape stuck in what's left of my hair then I know we worked faster, but not smarter. Oh well, just wait 'til next year.
Had a little trouble finding time to go shopping this year, and I have you customers to thank for that. I appreciate how busy you've kept us, and look forward to another uptick next year. I made it to Freeport once ' you know about Freeport, Maine, right? Home base for LL Bean, and, since the 1980s, about 42 bob-zillion outlet stores. Still, even with all the buildings and retail commercialism going on down there that sure is a pretty village to visit, especially at night with all the lights and decorations in full swing. Really puts you in the Christmas spirit, or at least it has that effect on me. I like it. I like that I can poke around in Freeport's stores looking for gifts for my Mom or my wife or my daughters, dog, cat, brother, in-laws, or neighbors, and when the stores close up at 10pm or so, I can still walk right into the front doors of LL Bean and continue the search. That store never closes 'or rarely. Not sure if you knew that or not. You know, in case you need a woolybooger fly at 3:42 am when you just happen to be driving by on your way up to The Forks to try to catch the salmon that lay in there like logs in the Fall.
So, I did my poking around, found some things worth giving, and saw a lot of things that didn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Stuff I wouldn't buy. Stuff I wouldn't want to receive. You know what I mean. Well, if you've been a victim of this newsletter for more than a few years you know what I mean ' it's time for the Annual List of Stuff I Don't Want for Christmas. Buckle your seatbelt.
OK, I'm going to cheat and use some easy things to get the ball rolling. For Christmas 2015 I find that I do not want:
Another presidential candidate debate, televised nor otherwise. No thank-YOU.
Anything that says 'New York Yankees' on it. Period. Unless Granderson signed it before he hopped over to the Mets. I like watching that guy bat ' he's wound up like a buoy line at spring tide when the pitcher toes the rubber.
Bluetooth anything. I told you last time ' blue teeth in Maine means you've got mercury in your well water and if you don't do something about it you're not going to like what happens next. OK, I know that it's about wireless this and that, but I happen to like the wires. They make sense to me ' they're little roadways for bluegrass music to follow on their way from receiver (or phone) to speaker. I can hide wires anywhere ' they don't bother me. No Bluetooth.
Compression Stockings: Yes, I'm old, but I'm not there yet.
Cufflinks: Never in my many decades on this planet have I found my cuffs flapping around. Can you even purchase a man's shirt that needs cufflinks? Was the designer too cheap to stick a couple of buttons on there? Scratch this item from my list. In particular the ones that are glitzy and glimmering and showy. Lose one of them in the snowbank and you'll cry when you hear something metallic pass thru the snowblower chute at Mach III.
A new cell phone: Why in the blue blazes would I need a new cell phone? I have one that's 5 or maybe 6 years old. It works.
It's a better camera than any camera I ever owned. It's got more music on it than all the book shelves of LP records up to camp, and I can actually make and/or receive PHONE CALLS on it. The cell phone makers, or what's left of the crowd nowadays, wants me to 'upgrade' to the new model, but that thing looks pretty big to me. I was alive in the 1980s ' I know what a big cell phone feels like ' to carry around, to speak into, to balance on your knee in the car so it can charge. Notice that? Little cell phones don't exist anymore, so the trend to get smaller has reversed and I think it won't be much longer before we have a desk top computer on our back and a pole that sticks out over our head in front of us so we can have a 32' diagonal monitor to look at (except outdoors where you can't see anything on any screen mankind has developed thus far). My cell phone works. No thanks, Santa.
A Razor Scooter or Segway: Don't get me either of these, please, because it seems to me with all these people driving cars into people and onto people lately you'd pretty much just have a virtual bullseye on your back. If I need to get from here to there I'll walk if the weather suits, or I'll take my truck, so that those folks who feel the sudden urge to mow something down will know good and for sure that they've hit something solid when they smack into Unit 9 (that's what I call my truck because it's the 9th vehicle I've had the pleasure to own thus far). Once they get their front teeth out of the steering column we'll have us a chit-chat about safe driving habits. If I had been on that Segway thing it'd be MY front teeth in their steering wheel and after all these years of brushing and regular dentist visits and those nightmarish orthodontist years I feel I've got something worth protecting here.
Seen those obnoxious TV ads where they're trying to sell you something that's a fabulous NEW invention that you've just GOT to own? Don't get me any of that stuff. If the package says, 'As Seen on TV' then scratch it off the list. Now, come on, can we be honest for a moment? They're making that stuff as cheaply as they can and charging as much as they can in order to increase the delta.
The delta is the difference between what it costs to make and how much they can sell it for. Profit margin. Got it? Another indisputable fact: Each and every one of us has purchased just enough of that disappointing hooey to pretty much get an idea of how cheap it's going to feel, look, sound, or taste once the package arrives at your doorstep. Also, don't forget that it's not heading to your place until AFTER you've paid 'separate processing and handling' charges, whatever the blue blazes that means. Shouldn't the price be the price? No shipping charges, no processing, no handling. Take a clue from Brettuns Village you TV snake oil salesmen. OK, enough -- no, wait, not enough ' why do all these guys have a British accent? Is there some sort of training school over there? 'Hey James, haven't seen you in ages ' what're you up to? Oh, hey Niles, I'm attending the UK School of American Hucksterism over by the docks where the women beat fish against the rocks.'
I don't know if it was Steve Jobs' idea or not, but I can tell you with complete confidence that I DO NOT want a computer or phone that I can wear on my wrist. You put my e-mails and Facebook postings on a wrist watch and I'll need a hat with an extension arm that holds a magnifying glass so I can read the darned thing. Scroll back up ' the trend is toward BIGGER screens. On my wrist? Come on.
This next one is just personal preference I guess, and maybe I'm swayed by past experience, but do I have to grow a beard now?
Really? Beards are in? Seriously? I saw 'beard oil' and even 'whisker wash' at the store the other day and I'm telling you I almost lost my lobster lunch on the spot. Beard oil? Why? Was it squeaking? Slowing you down on your downhill runs? I've tried growing a beard a couple of times in my adult life and the results have been horrific. The most recent time, which wasn't all that long ago, I had people asking me to swap food stamps with them and if I knew how to fix shopping cart wheels. Yikes. I'm done with the facial hair thing. No thanks. So, I don't need any of those 'bearded man' supplies this year. Or next.
I guess this list sounds like a bunch of complaining but for me the bottom line is always the same ' I'd like to spend time with my family, maybe take a nap after Christmas dinner, maybe build a snowman late in the day. OK, so this year he has to be a mudman because we still have green grass in the dooryard and the ground hasn't frozen yet. Fine by me. Haven't had but a couple of fires in the woodstove this Fall, and the heating oil tank level hasn't changed much since last Spring. That's a pretty good Christmas present right there. Anyway, as I was saying, I'm looking forward to family time for Christmas ' our youngest got home from college two days ago; our eldest, now out of school and working in the Big Apple at a job she loves, arrives on the 6 o'clock train tonight. It'll be nice to be all together again, though only for a couple of days.
Special thanks to you, our customers, for supporting us this year.
We're incredibly grateful to you, and can't thank you enough for continuing to spread the Brettuns Village name around. Eighteen years into this game and, well, we can't thank you enough. From all of us here at BV worldwide HQ, best wishes for a Merry Christmas, and a rip-tailed snorter of a New Year, as my grandmother, Elizabeth Churchill, would have put it. Now get to bed so's Santa can get in the living room and do his job.
Churchill Barton, Manager