“There are only 14 shopping days until Christmas” Trina proclaimed. “We need to go and get a few things before they are all gone.” With these words, the longest day of the year began. There are probably few things that bring fear to a man’s heart quite like having to brave the crowds during the peak of Christmas shopping. Immediately, my mind began to develop and elaborate plan in which I would suddenly come down with some rare and near fatal disease that would last for 15 days before I made a miraculous recovery. If I had only paid better attention during that last episode of ER, I would have had the answer I needed but at this moment, my mind was a total blank. I weakly attempted to cough and even added a few sniffles trying out my best “I’m sick” look. Trina of course saw through this ploy immediately and shut me down before I even got started. I am not sure I fully understand the difference between being a hostage and having to go shopping with your wife. I am sure there is some minor legal technicality but I don’t see the difference. After a few minutes of whining and whimpering, I reluctantly grabbed my jacket and headed for the door. After all, how bad could it possibly be? Looking back, I should have known better. Trina drug me to the mall on a Saturday afternoon. All indications pointed to a bad situation from the moment that we couldn’t park in the mall parking lot all the way to the time when we had to wait for someone to leave the mall to make room for us to enter the building. I now have a full understanding of what it must have been like to be aboard a slave ship in the early 1700′s. People were everywhere all wanting the same thing. Each store we went into was packed with people all trying to buy the last car, doll, book, or shirt on the planet. Although I came out carrying a countless number of packages I couldn’t tell you what was in them. All I know is that my shopping is finished.