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ATPM 3.11
November 1997


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Apple Cider: Random Squeezings from a Mac User

by Tom Iovino,

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Yeah, right. Try telling me when I'm stuck in traffic at the local mall, sweating bullets, fretting about what to buy for people on my holiday gift list.

Each year, as the holidays approach, I'm amazed. People become desperate for those perfect gifts. They go in droves to malls to shop, and I do mean droves! There are spaces in mall parking lots where, at any other time of year, you might consider breaking the walk from your car to the mall's entrance into a two-day trek. During this time of year, you'll feel lucky to find these spaces available. Where do all these people come from?

This madhouse environment can certainly add stress to the holidays. My wife and I approach the annual holiday crowds and shopping stress very differently.

I shop for gifts in much the same way lightning strikes. I go into the first store in the mall that catches my eye. Maybe a flashy display in the window grabs my attention. Maybe the store is handing out free holiday cookies at their entrance. That's all it takes. Once inside, the first item that catches my eye becomes the very thing I want to purchase. At home, I'm faced with the challenge of matching this randomly-purchased item with a name on my gift list. This practice has resulted in some interesting reactions on Christmas morning, such as the year my wife opened a beautifully wrapped gift and discovered a pair of oversized thermal underwear. She reminds me of that occasion each year before I start my shopping.

My wife likes to hit the malls only after she gets completely organized. General Eisenhower spent less time planning the invasion of Normandy than my wife spends preparing her shopping list. She marks each name with her own special set of hieroglyphics. Each symbol signifies something unique and important in her filing system. There are separate categories for family members, family members who are too young to buy gifts for us, friends who exchange with us, friends who haven't given us a gift in years but to whom we still feel obligated to give, co-workers we like, co-workers we despise but who can help us politically at work, our bosses..., you get the idea.

Even with all of this organization, there is a second list she carries separately. It's a special one, hastily scribbled onto scrap paper in a scrawl like that of an excited child. Written by me, it's my wish list of holiday gift ideas!

You see, though I despise shopping for holiday gifts, I love to receive them, especially from my wife! They are always beautifully wrapped and she doesn't let me shake them even once before Christmas morning. It's torture waiting until then, but it does add to the excitement of the season.

This year, I think I'm going to be greedy. I have yet to write the wish list my wife drags around the malls, but I think I'm going to make two lists. I'm going to call the second one, "What I want from Apple." I'll write it in rainbow-hued crayons and send it to the lovable elves who work with every Mac user's favorite eccentric relative, Uncle Steve Jobs.

So, Uncle Steve, if you're ready to make me happy this holiday season, here goes:

There, that shouldn't be too long a list for the elves at One Infinite Loop to fill. I certainly hope that they take time to carefully gift wrap each item before giving us Mac users the peace of mind we so desperately need.

Now, if I can only get a chance to shake each package to guess what's inside...

Blue Apple"Apple Cider" is © 1997 by Tom Iovino, <>.

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