Dear Santa, Here’s My List of Demands


“Bob, what do you want for Christmas?”

That question always freezes me up. It’s not because there’s nothing on my wish list, but at this point in the Christmas season, I’m so focused on fulfilling the wishes of my kids and wracking my brain for a gift that my wife can return with the minimum amount of fuss, there’s not much going on the gimme section of my brainpan.

But, since you asked, here goes:

Cattle Prod. Not the high powered job where you touch a cow with it and her skeleton becomes visible for a few seconds. Just a gentle, 500-watt wand that will demand action from my somniac daughter, the one who could sleep through a nuclear attack during an earthquake. A cattle prod would save me valuable time in the morning, eliminating the need for increasingly-aggressive visits to Speaker’s bedroom that start with a gentle nudge of her shoulder and end with me jumping up and down on the bed, yelling at her to grab her guitar and run because the house is burning down.


Call the agency if you want, Mr. Wire, but I’m charging you triple to clean up this studio.

Robot Maid. Barb works in a downtown office, I work from my studio downstairs at home. Who do you think is responsible for the bulk of the housework? Notice I said “responsible for,” not “performs.” Yeah, when it comes to housecleaning I am a miserable failure. Sometimes we invite one of our parents for a visit for no other reason that it will force us to clean the house to sterile-room-at-a-microchip-factory levels. I’d love to just go about my day while the robot maid (the model that appears on that reality series “The Jetsons” would be perfect) glides through the house, cleaning the floors, zapping cobwebs from the corners, gathering up the rolling tumbleweeds of dog hair, and doing all the laundry and marketing. And if she could clean that disgusting area around the base of the toilet, that would be great.

Flashlight Implants. If people are having steel spikes and horns and god knows what else implanted under their skin, why not a couple of tiny LED flashlights shoved into my orbital sockets? That way I could read the menu in a dimly lit restaurant, or perform the highly ironic task of trying to find my reading glasses among the blurry jumble of detritus on my nightstand. Bonus: scaring the bejesus out of kids when I answer the door on Halloween.

Basket of Royal Riviera™ Pears from Harry and David. Because I don’t have enough fruit flies in my house.

Jet Pack. When I need to get somewhere in Missoula, I drive. Compared to Seattle or Los Angeles, Missoula traffic is a breeze. But I dread having to go downtown. Parking is scarce. I make matters worse by having a rooftop box, precluding entry into the parking garages. The four blocks of North Higgins between Broadway and the X’s have been squeezed down to two lanes to accommodate the Rube Goldberg-designed bike lanes, and four lanes worth of traffic are jammed in there pretty much all day long. People navigate the congested downtown roads as if they just arrived from a lifetime in a Ubangi tribal hut and the automobile was invented last night. Phone-engrossed drivers blow through yellow lights only to be stopped short in the middle of the intersection by glacial traffic that is backed up for a full block because of some self-absorbed chucklehead sitting with her left blinker blinking directly under the brighter-than-a-million-suns sign that reads NO LEFT TURN. Cyclists routinely ignore the broad, green bike lanes painstakingly inserted between the sidewalk and parking lane, to flit among traffic and pedal the shortest route from Point A  to Point B. Pedestrians dart into traffic mid-block, and cross against a red light because waiting for nine seconds for the Walk sign is completely out of the question. Drivers block the flow of traffic while they execute a 19-point turn trying to parallel park their 23-foot Excursion into a 24-foot space. I support all the downtown businesses, but I would prefer to slip in and out via jet pack so I could just take care of business without the hassle and risk to life and limb. Plus flying is cool.


Barb! Get me off this crazy thing!

Grab Handles for the Toilet. Sturdy handles mounted to the sides, like a luge. ‘Nuff said.

Car Stereo With Twee Filter. Occasional carping aside, I love listening to Missoula radio. The handful of stations that occupy the presets in my 4Runner fulfill a broad spectrum of musical needs. But I’d like the capability to eliminate certain pesky lightweight songs that have followed the unfortunate alt-folk trend typified by Mumford and Sons. The technology might not exist, but I’d love to have a little red button on the steering wheel that will immediately jettison songs by certain artists, sending them directly into the manifold so they can be farted out by the exhaust system. This would include anything by the Lumineers, the Civil Wars, Bon Iver, Of Monsters and Men, Iron and Wine, and other bands that wear vests and graft fiddles and banjos to their music to make precious, atmospheric ditties with all the musical heft of a doily.

Snow Repellant. Shoveling snow from my driveway is a drag. I try to get all Zen about it, but as soon as I’m finished, Old Man Mother Nature swoops in and effortlessly coats the concrete with another layer of the white stuff. Our driveway is not big enough to justify buying a snow blower. Besides, I don’t really need another gas-powered contraption to store and maintain that I’ll use three times a year. Like my bloody chainsaw. Even though shoveling might be the only exercise I get in the winter (other than waking up Speaker), it’s something I’d rather avoid. I’m sure Dow Chemical has come up with something in a spray can.

Bacon Flavor Instant Grits. They don’t sell it up here in the Pale Northwest. You have to go to a Piggly Wiggly or Winn-Dixie in the dirty south to score this delectable southern breakfast treat. Quaker also makes cheese- and butter-flavored grits, but I think they just add yellow salt. Bacon grits rocks. It could be a game-changer for local bacon enthusiasts like KPAX weather stud Russ Thomas, or Brian and Chris on the Z100 morning show. Mmm. Bacon.

Gift Certificate for Psychotherapy. A dozen two-hour sessions would be a good start. I have issues. Anywhere in Missoula is fine. I’ll take my jet pack.

   Check out all of Bob Wire’s posts in his blog archive.


Have an off-white Christmas with Bob Wire.Think of it as Gonzo meets Hee Haw: Missoula honky tonker Bob Wire holds forth on a unique life filled with music, parenthood, drinking, sports, working, marriage, drinking, and just navigating the twisted wreckage of American culture. Plus occasional grooming tips. Like the best humor, it’s not for everyone. Sometimes silly, sometimes surreal, sometimes savage, Bob Wire demands that you possess a good sense of humor and an open mind.

Bob Wire has written more than 500 humor columns for a regional website over the last five years, and his writing has appeared in the Missoulian, the Missoula Independent, Montana Magazine, and his own Bob Wire Has a Point Blog. He is a prolific songwriter, and has recorded three CDs of original material with his Montana band, the Magnificent Bastards. His previous band, the Fencemenders, was a popular fixture at area clubs. They were voted Best Local Band twice by the Missoula Independent readers poll. Bob was voted the Trail 103.3/Missoulian Entertainer of the Year in 2007.

You can hear his music on his website, or download it at iTunes, Amazon, and other online music providers. Follow @Bob_Wire on Twitter.


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