“My mother always told me I wouldn’t amount to anything because I procrastinate. I said, ‘Just wait.’” – Judy Tenuta

So now, fellow idlers, we are confronted, as we are each year, with strident exhortations to “get ready” and “prepare” because the holidays are upon us. These aren’t the normal, “You know we’re having company tonight” type of remark, which probably involves finding a clean T-shirt, or the “Aren’t you going to get ready for church?” prod, which might also involve shaving. No, we’re looking at the infamous threesome, the troika of guilt. True, we’ve disposed of one, Thanksgiving, but the next one is the big enchilada: Christmas. People feel justified in making all kinds of demands on you in the name of getting ready for Christmas, and, as always, the Idler is there for you. Not “there” as in, personally present. I’m not coming to your house or anything. Unless you have a kegerator and a 60” screen you need me to check out during a bowl game. I got problems of my own, sport. No I mean “there” as in ready to offer the accumulated benefit of years of experience successfully dodging holiday-related chores. For instance, you’ll need to know how to field questions like::


Isn’t it time to put up the Christmas lights?  First off, you want to carefully review excuses that worked in past years. “We need new ones and Keystone Plumbing ran out of lights” won’t work this year. Also, don’t try ”Loew’s lot was full” because your significant other probably drives by there on her way to ULTA.  Try “I’m twenty-five pounds over the weight limit for the ladder” only as a last resort, because you risk being forced to drink light beer come the new year.  Your best bet is to fake some social and ecological awareness. Wonder aloud about your carbon footprint. Observe that “we really should be cutting back on our energy consumption.” Nod thoughtfully when politicians on TV are blathering about greenhouse gases. Mention in passing that “that Al Gore may be onto something” even if you’ve been throwing cheese puffs at the set every time he’s on TV.

Can you help me wrap these gifts?  Yeah, this is an easy one. You just mangle a couple of wrapping efforts, tape your shirttail to the bow, or set fire to the flocked paper with your cigar and you’ll soon be sent off to the store for more ribbon. You can stop off for a quick jolt or two and explain your prolonged absence by saying Keystone was out of ribbon.

Christmas gifts

Are you done shopping?  Your bank balance is in single digits, you’ve maxed out your plastic at the beer distributor and you’ve been taking the Steelers and giving the points. Also, you’re getting letters from lawyers about that incident with the golf cart that shorted out when your bag leaked. It’s not that you’re cheap and it’s not that you’re irresponsible. OK, it is that you’re irresponsible, but if you only had a few extra weeks or one more paycheck you could make the whole thing work. But how do you postpone Christmas? People have tried to move the gift giving back to the Epiphany, when the Wise Men showed up with gifts, but you know that’s not going to fly. Then one day you’re having a taste with a buddy down at the Russian Club and it hits you. Orthodox Christianity will celebrate Christmas on January 7, 2015. That’s nearly a two week window, and think of all the after-regular-Christmas bargains that will be available. Also, you have a Polamalu jersey, so that’s some inspiration right there. Why didn’t you think of this before? Probably because nobody would believe you when you said you’d converted.

You think the Steelers can cover against Cinci?

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