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CHRISTMAS IS THAT TIME of year when we celebrate God becoming a man (or was it the other way around?) by spending a lot of money on ourselves, our loved ones, and our clients.

Deciding what you want for Christmas is always a tough problem, so this year I have decided on a different approach. I am taking the approach, “What I don’t want for Christmas.” I wrote Santa a Dear John letter; I said I didn’t want anything. Should there prove to be a Santa, he will probably be grateful, and generous anyway. But I did apprise him of the things I don’t want, especially because of a wave of ads that have made me, for one reason or another, not want to buy something:

The New York Telephone ads encouraging use of the telephone to seek help for uncontrollable urges to eat. (And, by implication, for uncontrollable urges for crack, booze, angel dust, etc.)

A coffee ad featuring Lauren Bacall: “Writing is a

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