So here’s the plan.
Christmas gets increasingly expensive for a family with five children, and in these times of economic crisis, one must turn to new sources of inspiration to supplement Santa’s bounty.
Beginning on Black Friday, then, I shall join my twin 10-year-old sons, Corbin and Cornelius Cornell, and embark on a journey to spread Christmas cheer, while at the same time enhancing our own Christmas wealth.
And so it is that I shall dress them in shabby clothes and smear both of their faces with liquid graphite to give them a filthy, Pig-Pen-from-Charlie Brown vibe without the usual accompanying odors, and then we shall visit every retail establishment in the Salt Lake Valley that sells quality footwear.
I shall then send my two minions into these retail establishments, armed only with a few choice words and socks filled with seven dollars in pennies.
The pennies are but props; it’s the words that are key. I have written these words on two index cards, which the lads have been instructed to memorize. Using a musical accompaniment, they have managed to commit the following script to memory:
“Sir (or Ma’am), I want to buy these shoes for my mama, please. It’s Christmastime, and these shoes are just her size. Could you hurry, sir (or Ma’am)? Daddy says there’s not much time. See, she’s been sick for quite awhile, and I know these shoes will make her smile, and I want her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight.”
For days, Cornelius stumbled on the intro, as he didn’t realize that the parenthetical “Ma’am” was only to be used as an alternative and not an addition. Corbin asked if perhaps he should be prepared to substitute some other divine moniker should the sir or ma’am clearly be a representative of a faith outside the majority, and thus it might suit our purposes if Mama might meet Allah/Krishna/The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob tonight instead. I commended him for his foresight, but I think it’s best of we keep it simple.
If NewSong’s rancid Christmas staple has taught me anything, it’s that a subsequent person in line, listening to that mawkish pitch and watching a slimy urchin try to pay for a pair of expensive high heels a penny at a time, will immediately be filled with “a glimpse of heaven’s love” and gleefully “foot” the bill, if you know what I mean. That will give them a treasured memory that will be well worth the hundred dollars plus they will fork over to get the line moving again, and my satisfaction of being the instrument for such manufactured cheer will mitigate whatever guilt I may feel when I return to the same store the following day with the shoes, the receipt, and a tale of woe about the beloved missus, who kicked the bucket whilst my sons were buying her kickers. Alas, she is now resting peacefully with Buddha/Ganesh/L. Ron Hubbard, and I’d like the refund in cash, if you don’t mind.
The boys are instructed to select no shoe worth less than one Benjamin, and our reconnoitering of the retail environment has yielded over 100 prospective outlets wherein we can find 100 easy marks who need to be reminded what Christmas is all about. Doing the math, that means we can collect at least 10K worth of heaven’s love glimpses in about two weeks time. Not a bad haul, if I do say so myself.
If this works, then next season will allow us time to expand beyond the podiatric to even more lucrative Yuletide treasure.
“Sir (or Ma’am), it’s Christmas Eve, and this 60-inch flat screen plasma is just her size…”