Socks or sweaters will be the question when the next Splatfest kicks off on Friday, Dec. 15. Players will be asked to choose the one they would most like to receive and then fight in its name, as they did for fast food and toilet paper.
OK. Splatfest, we’re disappointed in you, because socks and sweaters, while boring, aren’t even close to the most dreaded gifts you could get over the holidays. They are, in fact:
- Food: This is the ultimate give-up, especially because of its short lifespan. Food is consumed. A gift should be a reminder of someone’s thoughts of you. The only reminder I have of food is when I’m sitting on the commode, and Splatfest already tackled that question.
- Gift Certificates: Gift certificates suck because while the recipient can buy what they really want, the giver is admitting they have no idea of the recipient’s tastes. Plus, when is the last time you bought something that cost exactly $50? There’s always some arbitrage, or the gift recipient ends up spending more than a gift certificate’s value, which is why stores sell them. Straight cash is so much better. At Christmas in 1992, my brother and I, both home from college, simply exchanged $20 bills. Our mother was capital-A APPALLED. I think she made us go to Belk and buy a braided belt or something.
- Books: Oh great, thank you for this two-week obligation to consume something about the subject for which I am most identifiable to you. (I have gotten so many baseball books over my lifetime.) Back to my brother again: The most malevolent holiday gift I ever received was in 1986. He knew that I would go to the Christmas tree and grope the presents to determine, in advance, whether they were shitty or not. Soft packages were usually clothes but could also be something else. But there was no mistaking the spine, cover and pages of a hardbacked book. So on Christmas morning 1986, I open my gift from my brother, which was the first thing laid under the tree and it could not have been more blatantly a book.
It was worse.
No, I am not making this up.
My father turns purple and tries to control his laughter by drinking from a glass of water. Mom is horrified and speechless. Both are waiting for me to croak an insincere thank-you for this piece of shit. My brother is playing it all flawlessly, looking in my eyes with a deadly, fold-four-aces poker face. “Um, thanks,” I mumble.
“Open it,” my brother says.
Inside, he has cut out, prison-contraband style, the center pages to conceal a cassette tape. It is — and again, I am not making this up — the soundtrack to Running Scared, the 1986 buddy-cop flick starring Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines. Now free to do so, Dad throws back his head and roars laughter. Mom holds hers in her hands, relieved that one son was not indoctrinating the other into Scientology. And hey, Michael McDonald sang the title song, and she really liked the Doobie Brothers.
So, books. That’s your ultimate bad holiday gift. But fine, choose from sweaters or socks if you like. You know the drill with Splatfest. Players vote on a poll in the Inkopolis square, then fight for that side in paint-splashed combat. Most matches won settles the question for all time.