Issue December 22, 2010

Christmas Panic Hotline

Thank you for calling the Christmas Panic Hotline. Due to unusually high call volume, the current wait time is approximately 2 hours and 16 minutes. While you are waiting, please listen carefully to the following frequently cited problems and our recommended solutions.

If your new Kinect refuses to recognize your movements, it has most likely determined you are not worthy of recognition. Try to improve your significance. If that does not solve the problem, consider switching to another gaming system, such as marbles.

If you are currently trying to assemble a child’s bicycle and cannot make rear axle (B) fit snugly inside fork tips (F), drink more bourbon (Fig. M1) and try again. If that does not solve the problem, abandon the bicycle parts on a busy street corner and give the child an amount of cash equal to or greater than the value of the bicycle.

If you have a new smart phone and have accidentally butt-dialed your ex while snogging your new lover, do not apologize via Twitter, Facebook or your blog. Instead, act like it never happened, even if it means creating an elaborate alibi involving a hot-lather machine, Vienna sausages and a trampoline.

If “Dance Dance Revolution’s” choreograph mode isn’t working properly, it’s not a defect in the product. You just aren’t a good dancer.

If you dread spending Christmas with your family, please visit our website and download the brochure, “Have You Considered How Much Your Family Dreads Being with You?” for some perspective.

If you have become vegetarian, openly gay, atheist, anarchist, or acquired a tramp stamp since last Christmas, don’t cry when a fight about it breaks out during dinner. Everybody secretly admires a rebel, but nobody likes a crybaby.

If the thought of getting together with your co-workers to eat a potluck meal of cheesy sausage ’n’ egg casseroles and warmed-over White Castles makes you want to cut yourself and bleed all over your cubicle, try this instead: On the day of the potluck, pick up a bag of Chips Ahoy and put it out on the holiday table. As co-workers begin to drift in, chat for a few minutes, then excuse yourself, slip out of the room and go see a movie (stay away from Russell Brand; you’ve suffered enough). Return to work just as the potluck is winding down. Act bloated. And yes, bringing Chips Ahoy is lame, but notice all that leftover, congealed seven-layer salad and taco dip, and guess what’s all gone: Chips Ahoy.

If you’re heartbroken about not getting that Hawaiian vacation you dreamed of, just remember that somebody in this town is getting a pair of previously owned underpants and a can of beanie weenies for Christmas.

If you’re panicked because you overlooked someone this year, Christmas Panic Hotline research shows there are four last-minute gifts that never disappoint: money, booze, weed and hookers.

Or are you calling because you’re in real, honest-to-god pain and Christmas seems to make it worse? Maybe you or someone you love is seriously ill or you’ve lost someone dear or you’re a victim of violence or you are penniless and don’t know how to climb out of your desperate situation. Maybe our society’s way of overdoing everything has heightened your anguish. Maybe you hate how instead of toasting the New Year, we poison ourselves with alcohol, and instead of celebrating Independence Day with a few symbolic sparklers, we blow the landscape to smithereens, and instead of giving thanks with a celebratory meal at Thanksgiving, we eat ourselves into a coma, and maybe it drives you crazy that Christmas is the most over-the-top holiday of all. Instead of celebrating the season with toys for the kids and a convivial meal, we indulge in a two-month orgy of shiny baubles and oppressive songs and saturated fat, trying to celebrate a spirit that, let’s face it, has gotten suffocated by a pillowcase full of plastic. Look, we don’t have all the answers here at the Christmas Panic Hotline, but we think you can get through this. We think there are people who care about you even if you haven’t met them yet. We want you to seek them out by hanging up and calling a real hotline, one with someone who can help you find a smile when you least expect it. Please do it now.

For all other problems, please stay on the line and your call will be answered in the order it was received.