What To Get Me For My Birthday (2013)

by Michael Channing

Button Maker

Button maker for me

You know what kind of people have buttons? Musicians, comedians, people who celebrate bad movies, and politicians. And I'm all those things. (Remind me one day to tell you the story of the time I ran for president of a small island. I could have used a button maker then. The company I let create my campaign material came up with a terrible slogan, and I lost to some egotistical college professor.) If there's one thing I've learned from hunting goblins in Cyrodiil and listening over my shoulder to the news in the next room, it's that everything from gun control to energy conservation can be distilled down to a single slogan and/or image. You can then transfer that image or slogan onto a bunch of buttons and hand them out to people as tiny, blood-thirsty, brain-washing billboards. We all love buttons, don't we? The jean jacket tucked into the back of your closet is probably covered in Quiet Riot pins and pictures of Garfield hating things quietly. You'll love that band and that cat forever. And I want you to love me, too.

How thankful will I be?

You know what you get in return if you give me a button maker? Buttons. Kind of obvious ain't it? But you'll get unique buttons so amazing that when you add them to your jean jacket, Queensrÿche will actually make a comeback.

I'm trying to set Nickelback on fire with my mind Button I'm gonna get Renaissance on your ass Button I'm A Word Ninja Button Best Mate Button

Neil Peart's Drum Kit

Neil Peart at his Time Machine Drums

Every tour, Neil Peart has a new drum set made with a visual theme to match the current album. And he throws the previous set away. Or he auctions it off to orphans or something. The point is, he gets rid of it. And that's where you come in. You could go through his trash. Or pretend to be an orphan. Figure something out. I can't do everything for you.

Look at that drum kit. It says, "I can recite Jules Verne and still kick your ass." Don't think he can? Look at those drums again.

Neil Peart's engulfing drum kit

Jet pilots have less equipment to deal with. Plus, it appears to be armed with Dalek weaponry. That's way better than the drum kit I made out of pizza boxes and couch cushions. Sure, I could photocopy covers of old Amazing Tales magazines and paste them over the Pizza Hut logos, and that would be pretty cool. But they wouldn't be Neil's drums. They wouldn't be covered in his sweat. They wouldn't have traveled the world. They wouldn't be true Rush artifacts. And the coolest drums on the planet would be in the hands of some undeserving orphan in Canada.

How thankful will I be?

With Neil Peart's drums, I would write you a song. Hey, if a drum solo is a good enough gift for the baby Jesus, then you can be happy with one, too. Except my song for you won't go "Pa rum pum pum pum." It'll go, "Blip bop a deesh... bibbidy boom bop bop bippidy bippidy boom bibbidy boom boom bop kadoosh-doosh bang." Like all the thunders of heaven rolling downhill and crashing through a wind chime factory.

Trip into Outer Space

Virgin Galactic private spaceship

Because that's a thing you can buy now. You go up, unbuckle your seat belt and float around in zero-gee for a while, maybe have a pillow-fight, then you come back down. Oh, and you get to see our entire planet from above. I promise not to point at the USA and say, "I can see my house from here." And if any other passenger does, I promise to flip him around till he pukes Tang like a Mexican firework.

It's a short journey, and it might not seem worth it to some, but it's space. Outer space, the best kind. You loose the surly bounds of Earth and touch the heavens. You feel the presence of an endless god. You give entire continents the bird. These are the dreams of our species.

How thankful will I be?

When I return from my trip, I'll introduce you to my real parents. I'm sure they're up there in space, waiting to give me that superhero suit they've been holding for me since my seventh birthday. It might need some letting out, but I'm sure I can make it fit. And I'll let you be my sidekick.

A Belt

It's a belt!

Because I need one. I've had my current one for about half the time I've been alive, and it's cracked and frayed and about as sturdy as Max Bialystock's. So yeah, if you want, you can get me a belt. You can tell my tastes just by what I've mentioned in this list. The belt can have planets on it, or Darth Vader, or Rush lyrics. One with my own cartoon face and website address stamped on it would be cool. Maybe one made from the seat belt of a space shuttle. Or maybe a nice yellow one to go with my superhero suit.

How thankful will I be?

Very. I'll no longer be in danger of dropping trou the next time I meet the president. The secret service were reasonable about it last time, but I probably shouldn't press their good nature. If it's a cool enough belt that expresses my personality, I may start tucking in my shirt and not looking like such a slob anymore. You'll see me on stage one day and say, "Hey, he's wearing that belt I gave him. He looks 20% less like a jerk because of me." And I'll think of you every time I pull my pants up.

Learn More About Me

foolscap Home       Podcast       Essays       Poems       Songs       Videos       Stories       Images foolscap

Chokes and Warbles
Now Available

Chokes and Warbles, a collection of essays and poems by Michael Channing