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Columnists: A yodeling pickle, you say? The worst gifts possible

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At Christmas time, I find myself missing my hardware store, which always saw a panicky influx of male shoppers the day before Christmas. They would hurry in, still in barn or chore clothes, still smelling like corn silage, or cow manure, or maybe oat dust from grinding feed. I personally liked those smells. I miss them. The day before Christmas was therefore pleasant for me. Barn smells. Can't beat them.

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"The kitchen appliances are over there," I would tell them as they marched resolutely in. They would make a right and head for the waffle irons and expensive toasters. They were good customers, desperate customers, so when I went over there and suggested the highest priced blenders, the ones that had at least 20 buttons, all I had to do was say: "This one has the most buttons."

"She needs a new deer rifle," said one confused fellow to me one year. Oh boy. He better hope she doesn't know how to use it.

Anyway, I miss those days. Now I'm one of them, but now, I've got the Internet on which to commit grievous gift selection. So it was to the Internet that I went to search for the worst gifts possible.

My first selection - and here I had to of course disregard fruitcakes, bad sweaters, and bathroom scales - was an antimicrobial toilet seat.

I assume it was for a dad, although it's possible a mom could be stinky enough to warrant one. This seat, though, is a modern technological breakthrough. It has four settings, for different levels of odor control. Although the different levels were not labeled, I propose that they could be called, from least to most, Undercooked Turkey, Too Much Gravy, Shouldn't Have Eaten That Entire Bean Dish, and finally, Maybe Expiration Dates Are Important We Need More Toilet Paper.

Those should cover most odor levels.

Next on the worst gift list is a yodeling pickle. True, it has a battery, but still, one does have to blow into it a little. There's not much that can be said about a yodeling pickle, except that I'm sure the person who gets it has it coming. The yodeling pickle beats out the ashtray shaped like human lungs, but it's close.

A great gift is a small plastic reindeer, upon the rear end of which one presses down, causing it to poop an M&M candy, or something very similar. This one struck a nerve with me, causing me to fondly remember an Easter when we got a plastic chicken, which when pressed down left a white plastic egg beneath her. Which we as children promptly lost, leaving us with a pretty worthless chicken, all in all, whereas this particular reindeer could always be reloaded to poop more candy.

There was a pretty neat piece of mistletoe on Amazon that stuck out from a rubber suction cup which one could affix to ones forehead, thus allowing one to be the life of the party for a while, cruising around as an obnoxious kissing machine. This gift would presumably not maintain adherence through the shock of a real good slap in the face, but maybe. One can only hope for a good sucker.

Finally, one last great gift is a small electronic machine that, given the occasion programmed into it, plays an appropriate excuse into your telephone receiver.

It's not on a par with a yodeling pickle or a candy pooping reindeer or a suction cup mistletoe, but it's not too bad. Really.

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