Signs of the impending holiday season have started to arrive. I woke up this morning and peered out my Western New York lair to spot minuscule snow flecks drifting through the air. These are the scouts Mother Nature sends for intel on where to drop the bomb on us each year.

It appears sales have gotten fired up as well, with both Toys (backward Russian R) Us and Amazon holding “buy 2, get the 3rd free” video game events until Oct. 17. I’m sure there may be some “buy 2 wonderfully-carved-yet-kind-of-creepy faceless wooden angels, get the 3rd free” sale going on somewhere, but it’s the game sales that get picked up in my channels.

“Oh, what a fantastic opportunity to save some money purchasing three gifts for my friends!” you may be thinking. What a saint you are, by which I mean you’re a filthy liar. These were never designed to be “let’s buy three games for someone else” deals; they’re “let’s buy one or two games for myself with the added bonus of a free game I can give to a friend, after I tell him it just oddly didn’t arrive shrink-wrapped for some reason and that oh crap, I didn’t realize there was no disc in there either until you just opened the case and I guess someone must’ve stolen it in the mail—yeah, that’s it—and no we can’t play my console right now because it’s, um… it’s broken unless you excuse yourself to the bathroom or something so I can get the disc I forgot to place back in the case out of it without you looking” deals.

All right, so that may be such an extreme case of selfishness that you likely wouldn’t have any friends to give stuff to, anyway, but for all the yuletide torture Christmas shopping brings upon the standard soul, it’s awfully tempting to score something for yourself in the process. If you actually go out into the real world on Black Friday, that temptation often involves items like a new spleen to replace the one the lady in the ill-fitting Tweety Bird shirt and crocs ruptured after running you over lengthwise with a shopping cart.

So if you want to dip into the bargain bins a bit and pull out something for yourself, I’m not going to say anything. Whatever gets you through the holiday season to the actual holiday is all right in my book. Just remember, though, that the more things you buy for yourself, the more likely someone’s going to get you that exact same thing—and Tweety Bird Croc Lady occupies the return lines on Dec. 26, too.

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