Once again it’s time to start thinking about looking into the possibility of considering whether to mull over the idea of maybe setting a date, somewhere in the future, for planning to knock around the feasibility of trying to get some Christmas shopping done.I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, if you’re a guy, that I’m jumping the gun here. The first of December is way too early to start thinking about Christmas shopping, for a guy. There’s no use getting in a rush about this sort of thing. Most guys will start thinking about Christmas shopping about December 20 or 21, but will decide to put it off a while. Then they’ll think about it again on the 23rd, and by noon on Christmas Eve they’ll actually start to go out and look for gifts. By sundown that day they will have all their shopping done.True, most of their gifts will have come from Home Depot and Tractor Supply, and those last-minute items will be snatched from counter displays at convenience stores, but it’s the thought that counts. Besides, show me someone who doesn’t need another set of drill bits, and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t need another set of drill bits.Some guys, though, plan ahead, and start their Christmas shopping early. These are the smart ones, who begin hitting the garage sales and flea markets and pawn shops and Goodwill stores in late November, which is when you find your best selection. Nothing says I Love You like a used weed eater.This is fine if you live in Texas, where you can still pay cash for used items, but it’s not that way everywhere. Not anymore. The Louisiana legislature, for example, passed House Bill 195 this year, which made it illegal to pay for used goods with cash. Now you have to use a check or money order or credit card.I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I made that up, and that no government would pass such a stupid law, not even in Louisiana. And you’re thinking What if that happened in the United States?Well, I didn’t make it up, and for your information, I checked, and Louisiana IS in the United States. We bought it from Germany way back there, somewhere. I think Columbus brought it with him.Anyway, the idea behind the ‘no cash for used goods’ law is that police will have an easier time tracking and finding stolen merchandise. I’ll wait a few minutes for you to recover from laughing so hard you’re leaning over drooling all over your shoes.OK, let’s give the Louisiana reps the benefit of the doubt, just for a moment. Let’s say it’s just possible that Boudreaux, after lifting a TV from Circuit City, goes to Thibedoux’s resale shop to fence it, and Thibedoux says, “Boudreaux, I gotta pay you wid a check. Dat’s da law.” What is Boudreaux going to do? Take the check?He is not. He’s going to slap Thibedoux around a while, and then take his TV over to Phideaoux and sell it to him. For cash. And the police won’t be able to find it, because Phideaoux doesn’t give receipts, and he doesn’t validate parking slips, either.So we have to conclude that the Louisiana legislature has been smoking crack, and is as out of touch with reality as our representatives in Washington, D.C. All the new law is going to do is cause the honest, legitimate used goods dealers to lose a lot of business. Because, when the average Louisiana guy gives his wife a used weed eater for Christmas, the last thing he wants is for her to be able to return it for a useless bracelet or something.But let’s pretend for a moment that Texas has passed a similar law, and since you’re a law-abiding citizen, you’re going to have to get the spouse something new for Christmas this year, regardless of behavior during the past twelve months. You can spend cash for new stuff, and you have some great choices.My highest recommendation goes to a book that came out last year, called ‘The Buck Never Got Here.’ It’s a collection of outdoor humor columns that are some of the best I’ve ever read, about almost every aspect of outdoorism, from hunting and fishing to canoeing and camping to making fun of peta and the tree huggers. And I say that, not because I’m trying to encourage literacy or humor or the outdoors. I say that because I wrote the book, and I happen to have several boxes of them in my office, taking up space and causing problems for my wife when she tries to vacuum.If you order a copy of The Buck Never Got Here between now and December 15, you will not only get it in time to give to some loved one for Christmas, you will also receive the special Christmas rate, what I like to call ‘regular price,’ of $15 plus $3 for shipping. Tip not included.You need to buy this book, anyway, as a message to the Louisiana legislature that their ‘no cash’ law is ridiculous. Or something. Besides, show me someone who already has a copy of The Buck Never Got Here, and I’ll show you someone who needs another copy of The Buck Never Got Here.Plus it beats a used weed eater . . .
Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist who never buys gifts for his wife at garage sales. Anymore. Write to him or order his book at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or firstname.lastname@example.org