Friday, December 12, 2008

The Hobo Holiday Gift Guide

By definition, the Modern Hobo has a relatively short holiday shopping list. Let's face it: family members have long since given up on things like "love" and "emotional support;" and more solvent suburban friends, once charmed and vicariously enriched by your wacky urban artistic lifestyle, no longer even respond to Facebook invitations to your wacky urban artistic events. In short, the less you leave your house, the less the holidays are going to expect of you.

But even the most committed of Modern Hobos faces a certain amount of holiday shopping: the few die-hard "loved ones" who simply must be gifted, fiscal insolvency be damned and God Bless Us, Every One. But before you sell your golden locks or pocket watch or whatever the hell else was in that stupid story, head to your local dollar store.

The Brooklyn dollar store is a wonderland of holiday treasures to the non-New Yorker. Look for items featuring recognizable trademarked characters with different names ("Arachnid Man," for example, or any 12" fashion doll named Migi, Lolla, or Lin Su); products with indefinable mascots (is that an elephant, a butterfly, or a roll of paper towels?); or anything in a foreign language or combination of languages (bonus for illiterate translations: "Happiness photo album for lovely of friend!"). While an apartment full of crappy knock-off junk that smells like petroleum simply reinforces your own feelings of helplessness and desperation, to the gainfully employed Midwestern cousin these things are charming and funky and prove just how wacky, urban and artistic we really are.

Two final notes. First: when heading out for your hobo holiday shopping trip, keep in mind that there is no single item in the dollar store that actually costs a dollar; plan accordingly. And second: under no circumstances should you attempt to pass off dollar store crap to your New York friends.

It just makes you look like a cheap bastard.

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