Plunging into the Holiday SeasonOpinion
OPINION — Once again it’s time for our more or less annual Christmas Gift Column, in which we offer advice and suggestions on how you can immerse yourself in debt buying gifts no one wants. Assuming you didn’t manage to complete your Christmas shopping among the cheerful holiday carnage and bloodshed on Black Friday, that great American tradition of mayhem and violence that ushers in the Christmas spirit for so many of us, you might find this column helpful. Or not. Frankly that’s not really our problem.
Before we get into the gifts, however, we’d like to express our heartfelt appreciation for the plumbers of our great nation, and recognize their selfless dedication to keeping America’s pipes flowing freely. Black Friday is not only the busiest shopping day of the year, it’s also the apogee of the plumbing trade in our great country. So many sink drains, garbage disposals, and yes, toilets, get stopped up on the day after Thanksgiving every year that our plumbers are almost overwhelmed. Makes you proud to be an American.
Above: The Plunger
Now, provided you survived Thanksgiving with family and loved ones you’d rather love from a distance, and you remain on speaking terms, you are probably wondering what to buy them for Christmas. You’re in luck, because there are some fantastic choices this year, beginning with Elon Musk’s new ‘cybertruck,’ which is not really a truck, but an impressively ugly pickup, sort of. That might require some ‘splainin’ for new readers.
A truck has eighteen wheels. A pickup has four wheels, six if it’s the special kind, driven by people who like to spend all their spare time at gas stations. You can call your pickup a truck if you want, because this is America, and we still have freedom here. You can also call yourself a woman here, even if you’re a man, but that doesn’t make it right. The cat might have kittens in the oven, but I don’t put them on a plate and call them biscuits.
Musk claims his pickup is ‘better than the Ford F-150, can outperform a Porsche 911, and is literally bulletproof.’ The specs on his website claim it will go from zero to 60 in 6.5 seconds. I guess that will come in handy when you really need to get those cows fed in a hurry. It also has autopilot, but I wouldn’t recommend using it, not after what happened at the grand unveiling at Tesla Design Center in Los Angeles, when Musk brought out the pickup to show it off. The whole episode was quite embarrassing. Not for me, but, you know.
Since the body and windows of the pickup are supposed to be bulletproof, Musk had a guy throw a small steel ball at the driver’s window, and it shattered (the window, not the steel ball). Oops. Musk seemed surprised. He seemed surprised again when the guy broke the left rear window with the ball. Now, I’m no expert, but if old Elon had asked me, I would have told him he might want to check that kind of thing out before he invited all the reporters and such to his fancy shindig. Just sayin’.
But that may not have been the most impressively horrible advertising debacle of the year, in terms of total alienation of potential customers. Peloton probably takes the prize for that with its holiday commercial, in which a man gives his wife a Peloton exercise bike for Christmas. The wife is stoked, and uses the bike every day for the next year, making a video of herself sweating and stuff. I guess no one told her those things are designed for draping clothes on, when you take them out of the dryer. That’s how we use ours.
Above: Peloton exercise bike
Obviously the commercial is unrealistic, in that the wife doesn’t beat her husband to death with the bike, but no one expects reality from ads, anyway. Even so, you’d be surprised at the venom directed at Peloton over the spot. Viewers blasted the company mercilessly, calling the ad sexist, bizarre, creepy, disturbing, dystopian, unsettling, etc. They also said some bad things, which I won’t mention. I’m no expert, but I doubt many of those people will be buying a Peloton anytime soon.
The main complaint seemed to be that the commercial was ‘body-shaming,’ pushing a sexist stereotype because a husband gave the bike to his wife. That doesn’t wash, since the woman was very slender to begin with, but I doubt seriously if viewers would have liked it better if she’d been fat. You just can’t please some people.
Personally, I thought the ad was ‘touching’ and heartwarming,’ and I’m thinking about getting my wife a Peloton for Christmas. After all, she loved the fly rod I gave her for our anniversary a few years ago, and she still tells people about the paperback copy of ‘Paul Harvey’s Greatest Hits’ I gave her for our fifth anniversary, almost 30 years ago. I bet she’d like an exercise bike.
It’s either that or a toilet plunger. Because it’s almost impossible to get a plumber to show up the day after Thanksgiving . . .
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