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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, July 28, 2014

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Make no mistake: you are looking into the cold, non-face of the enemy.
Make no mistake: you are looking into the cold, non-face of the enemy.

Losing my mind, one perfect little bow at a time

People complain too much about the act of shopping during the holiday rush. 

It's not that I have some sick love for it; I just have a pretty basic system in place to keep myself sane. Given that the number of days until Christmas is directly proportional to the amount of patience most shoppers have, I find it's best to avoid the particularly driven crazies at all costs. Park far away, cut through store departments to get to your purchases and assume you'll have to wait in line for a half hour to check out. 

No, what trips me up every year is wrangling with the wrapping paper, tape, ribbon and other brightly colored adornments that always festoon the gifts you see under the trees pictured in those loathsome home life magazines. 

I in no way endorse this kind of suffering. If I had my way, everyone would get gifts wrapped with old Sunday comics and duct tape. But no, I was long ago infected with Christmassy tradition and joy and all that, and am now compelled to deck out my gifts with red-and-green precision. I am the equivalent of a wrapping zombie.

As you would expect, a wrapping zombie is just as uncoordinated as the regular kind. The main distinction here is that instead of brains, my only desire is the perfectly wrapped present. 

So, my weekend was spent meticulously folding in paper corners and trying, over and over again, to get ribbon to lie flat. Did I succeed? Technically. Most of the presents are, in the most basic sense of the word, wrapped. But did I win? 

Ask me next Christmas.

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