Dear Santa, please bring us a gift that really sucks this Christmas

My wife wants a new vacuum for Christmas. Before anyone mounts their “this-is-the-21st-century.-How-could-you-think-of-giving-a-cleaning-appliance-to-your-wife-as-a-Chritmas-gift?” ponies and rides to the sound of the guns, let me explain. She doesn’t normally ask for cleaning equipment for Christmas, and I don’t usually get her such gifts. Cleaning is as non-festive an event in our household as it is in the households of people eons more enlightened than we are.

Vacuuming is different, though. She vacuums every day, if she can manage it. It’s a comfort chore. It’s like certain types of yard work to me. I don’t necessarily look forward to the work, but I can be alone with my thoughts when I’m doing it, and I feel better knowing it gets done on a regular basis.

Our old vacuum has suffered many infirmities. One of the wheels keeps falling off. I tried to fix it with that crazy putty stuff they used to hawk on TV all the time until they convinced my wife to give me some one Christmas. Now, when the wheel comes off, as it does quite often, it leaves crumbs that look like gray, dried Play-Doh.

the wheel keeps coming off

Anyone know if we can extend our Triple-A coverage to our vacuum? We seem to be plagued by “flat” tires.

The hose from the floor unit to the canister leaps free of its connections at random times. This would greatly affect the vacuum’s usefulness, except that it doesn’t really pick up much when the hose is firmly in place. Any lint or crumb that is big enough to be seen with the naked eye has to be carefully hand-fed to the machine. What happens to dirt too small for the naked eye is anybody’s guess. I’d say our vacuum just plain sucks, except it doesn’t, and that’s the problem.

The one thing our vacuum does pick up is cat hair. This is no great accomplishment, considering that anything in the same house with a cat picks up cat hair, regardless of how sincere are its attempts to avoid it.

The hook that the cord wraps around is broken off. We have to wrap the cord around the shoulder and torso of the machine like a bandolier. Add a sombrero and our vacuum might have ridden with Pancho Villa. Whomever it rode with, there can be no doubt that it got shot off its horse a few times.

villa directing battle

“The enemy line is crumbling. Send the vacuums around the flank to mop up. Also, make a note to bring mops to the next battle.” (Image: Wilbur H. Durborough)


I would have bought a new vacuum at the asking, but my wife has been too wise to ask for one. She knows I would have picked up another $84.99 model and presented it as if it were the end of her worries for all time. She’s sick of burning through these Fisher Price vacuums, and now she wants a good one. And if you want a good one, you’d better get somebody reliable, like Santa, involved.

vacuum wears his cord like a bandolier

With his bandolier firmly in place, he’s ready to ride. Before he accomplishes any marauding, his horse will throw a shoe and he will limp humbly back to his village to recover.

My wife has been a real trooper, putting up with our shameful vacuum for far too long. I just hope Santa has been watching to see how good she’s been. It’s out of my hands now. All I can do is point out the need and the deservingness. By the way, Santa, if you’re reading this, please consider it a letter to you.