Merry Xmas, you jerks

by Chris Lowrance

Well, hell, it’s Christmas time and I’ve got to write a staff column. Might as well go with the “Here’s some funny and sarcastic gifts I would give various celebrities and institutions” conceit. It’s one of the laziest tricks in the op-ed business, right up there with cartoonists drawing politicians going door to door on Halloween. But it works, and also I’m too exhausted from fighting rabid holiday crowds to care.

Let’s start with my friends in the Fourth Estate, and those who pretend to be.

To the Greensboro News & Record, which suffered the first round of layoffs in the company’s history this year, followed by the flight of five writers in as many months: A young Dutch boy to stick his finger in the hole your staff is hemorrhaging out of. He should hold up until the post-lay-off jitters pass and your writers stop shopping their resumes around, providing your owner, Landmark Media, doesn’t take a page from our next entry.

To anyone at the Winston-Salem Journal or any paper owned by Media General, which has laid off more employees than Mike Huckabee has lost fat cells: an empty box. I’d go ahead and put my stuff in it, just in case.

To the Greensboro blogosphere, one of the most vibrant and active blogging communities in the nation according to itself: a free six months of anger management courses. Seriously, folks, dogfights don’t have this high a quotient of misguided froth-mouthed rage. Also, an AP Stylebook.

Looking nationally, to the Wall Street Journal, purchased by Rupert Murdoch (owner of such journalistic bastions as Fox News and the New York Post) earlier this year: a coffin, for your credibility.

Moving on to government institutions, here’s one for the city of Roanoke Rapids, which just cottoned to the idea Dolly Parton’s brother Randy may have pulled one over on them with his namesake theater: Some advice. If an unknown brother of a B-list celeb asks for millions of dollars to build a theater in the middle of nowhere? Don’t give it to him. Also, my phone-number; I’ve got a great idea for the space. Arena football! Call me and we’ll get this money machine started!

To the Greensboro electorate, 93 percent of whom decided to sit out the municipal primary: My hand. Talk to it when you want to complain about the new city council wasting its time on whether City Manager Mitch Johnson should be fired for doing his job.

Proceeding to presidential hopefuls, let’s start with Republican contender Mike Huckabee: A reservation at a comedy club’s open mike night. You’d make better stand-up than you would policy.

To Hillary Clinton, the Democratic contender who is against the war unless the most popular Republican is for it: A spine. It’s one way you could one-up your husband’s legacy.

To my personal fave, Democratic contender Barack Obama, who admitted in the press to having experimented with drugs: The ability to lie. Seriously, the other side’s making up enough BS about you without you handing out inspiration.

To Rudy Giuliani, who’s recent ad claims Ronald Reagan ended the Iran hostage crisis through pure balls, and not through back-room arms dealing at all: A US history book. It’s a good read. Also, a T-shirt that reads “Hey, remember 9-11?” to wear at stump speeches.

And finally, a few celebrities. To Tyra Banks, whom my boss officially dubbed “TV Crazy Lady”: a mirror with a picture of Oprah Winfrey glued to it. You are still not her, but at least you can pretend.

To Dog the Bounty Hunter, who’s racist tirade was recorded by his son and sold to the press: The ability to feel shame. It’s going to hurt at first – a lot – but you’ll be better for it.

To the Writers Guild of America: The ability to continue striking forever. Freed from the glassy prison of my own TV viewing, I’ve discovered a whole new world of entertainment: Searching YouTube for random phrases, like “Non-Newtonian” and “Spork.”

And last but not least, to those unfortunate souls who are still reading this I would give the last few minutes of their lives back. Alas, it is not possible. Have a gift-card to Denny’s instead.

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