Dropping A HintCommentary • ISSUE 35•41 • Nov 10, 1999 By T. Herman Zweibel, Publisher Emeritus (photo circa 1911) My man-servant Standish informed me that this upcoming Yule-tide will be the final one of the years that begin with 19. This fact got me to thinking and, although I certainly would hate to impose on any-one, it would sure be nice if I could receive the gift of a nice, new woolen shawl for Christ-mas. I do have a shawl right now, but it is old and worn, and it has grown rather, shall I say, wretched. I will not go into gory detail, but suffice it to say, it bears at least three successive layers of congealed sputum and leprous skin flakes. I have saved the guess-work for any potential gift-giver by picking out the shawl I would like. The F.J. Abernathy Dry-Goods Catalogue has a very nice chartreuse-colored one with a pretty diamond-knit design and fringe border for $1.20. It is featured on page 211 of the catalogue, among other shawl models of varying price. If I got one of those instead, that would be fine, too. This is not the type of present I would pitch into a closet and never lay eyes on again, like those hundreds of mechanical nightingales, jewel-encrusted sceptres and chests of doubloons I've received for count-less Christ-mases past. It is true, the old adage which says that the finer things in life are invariably the simplest. Yet no-one ever thinks to give me a shawl, not even my near-destitute servants, who often spend as much as half their yearly wages to purchase for me some gaudy bauble that, more often than not, goes into the refuse heap. A new shawl would be quite a boon for me. I think I would wear it in bed mostly, about my shoulders, and secure it at my bosom with a safety-pin. I could also wear it when Standish wheels me about the mansion in my wheel-chair. Or when Nurse Pin-head spoons me my gruel every evening. Or when I look out the window of my bed-chamber for hours on end. Should I receive a shawl this Christ-mas, I promise I will write the benefactor a very cordial letter of thanks and well-wishes. Said benefactor will also be invited to my estate for a festive Christ-mas dinner. Standish will let you in through the back-door, and you will eat your meal in the servants' dining-room. Stew will be served.