Though the early bird gets the worm, if that same bird attempts to do some early holiday shopping and pick up some yuletide worms in the days after Thanksgiving, it will probably get much more than just the worm. As a bird, it will probably also get caught, killed, stapled to a baseball hat and sold at Spencer Gifts. But for humans like my brother and me, who set out to reenergize the economy last weekend, the mall offers an even greater amount of punishment.

Going to the mall in the weeks after the tryptophan wears off is like pulling off the road and asking the front desk clerk at the Hotel California if they rent rooms by the hour. With 10,000 shoppers, 5,000 parking spaces, 20,000 "medium brown bags" and a mile-long line of kids who want to talk to the fat man in the Abercrombie Santa-suit, "you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave."

During your hours at the mall you can take part in a range of fun-filled activities. You can slip a 50 to the free-sample jockey at the food court and ask him to follow you around with his tray of teriyaki chicken. You can purchase products that you have no interest in buying, like a four piece set of cube-shaped candles with the letters N-O-E-L on them. The perfect give for anyone named Leon. Also, you can join thousands of children as they receive their first performance appraisals.

The mall was filling up quickly so I followed the faint smells of burp and animal crackers to the line of children. I also wanted to get my appraisal done, so with funds I borrowed from a man with a bell, I bribed a midget in pointy shoes to get me an immediate appointment with the Big Jolly. He smiled at me and his cheeks became rosy -- an obvious sign of his failing health and possible breathing problems. I sprinted towards him and jumped into his lap to hear this year's good news.

SANTA: Brad, after careful evaluation, I have three words I'd like to impart to you this year.
BW: Yes, Santa?
SANTA: … You've been naughty
BW: Isn't "you've" a conjugation of two different words?
SANTA: ho ho ho
BW: Stop your hoeing Claus, 'cause I've got two words for you.
SANTA: Yes, Bradley?
BW: Carb Diet!

With that, I hopped off Santa, and before leaving his winter wonderland of Styrofoam snow I French kissed one his female elves and exposed myself to the guy with the Polaroid. I marched off bah-humbugging but after scarfing down three pieces of teriyaki chicken I realized that Santa's gotta do, what Santa's gotta do, and he's still a great a role model for the rest of us.

Only Santa could get away with keeping a horde of immigrant midgets in his garage to do his bidding and enslaving members of the animal kingdom. The elves don't have a global support network besides labor unions, but aren't reindeer's interests protected by PETA and other animal rights activists? How did Santa come to rule these creatures without having rallies around the north pole, and why is he the sole sultan of the 'deer? It's time to reissue our claims of manifest destiny and colonize the 'deer! It can't be that difficult, they're an enemy without opposable thumbs.

Why can't the United States' government take over the rest of the deer population and make them work for the betterment of the country? Granted, the government is busy taking over terrorists, but when it comes down to statistics, deer have been killing American motorists in this country for much longer than terrorists.

I was baffled by Santa's genius, but when the sample guy finally called over his manager, I bolted into a nearby store. A salesperson quickly approached me, told me I looked like a good guy and reckoned that I was "the kind of guy who was interested in hearing only about their premier merchandise." He was right, of course.

Their premier item was "Celeb-poopie."

Apparently, a number of mothers of "Celebrity Role Models," had saved and bagged the poopie of their celebrity kin. They had an infommercial about the stuff and it was hosted by the guy who played Buddy on Charles in Charge. The salesman was shocked I hadn't seen it … until I explained that I lived in Ithaca.

"Thanks to recent advances in plastic bag technologies, you can get poopie that's up to 12 years old, and it will still be as warm and fresh as it was the day it came into being," the salesman said.

I had already been in Spencer Gifts and The Sharper Image, so I knew what other kinds of crap I could buy for my loved ones this upcoming holiday. I looked around the store at their wide selection of poopie and then the "As Seen On TV" stickers drew me into a hypnotic trance. The spirit of Christmas possessed me and before I could turn and run, the room started spinning and I seriously asked myself, "How much would I pay for a bag of Ben Affleck poopie?"