Safety Man

 This “Safety-Man” creature once was a Christmas gift from  a husband who thought his wife would find it hilarious. And she did. In this unposed snapshot, Buddy is relaxing at home with a good book.  A thriller. He couldn’t put it down. Literally couldn’t.  We think It would make a great holiday gift — the book, not Buddy.

Recently we asked you to share the worst or oddest gifts of holidays past. Can you top these just in?

• “It was Christmas eve, no gift for my first ex-wife. I was panicked so I drove to a sporting goods store, ran in, grabbed a tennis racket and some balls and raced home.”

“You do know I’ve never played tennis and have absolutely no interest in learning,’ she snarled. I wonder where that racquet is now. Wonder where she is too.”

• “The first year we were married I gave my wife for Christmas two aluminum ice cube trays. She turned as cold as ice and I didn’t understand why she was not thrilled. They were deluxe models with extra large cubes and a lever to expedite extracting them. And we needed new ones.

“We’ve been married now for fifty-five years.”

Our guess is, somewhere along the way he broke the ice.

• Our nominee for creepiest Christmas present ever doesn’t seem creepy to the recipient, nor to the giver.

“I wanted something very different to surprise my wife and  found it in a holiday gift catalog — “Safety Man.”

Seriously? Yes, it’s a cross between a fun house scary guy doll and a ventriloquist dummy, designed for women driving alone to put in the front seat to represent a companion.

“You put clothes on him, strap him in the seat belt and you’re ready to go. The legs are optional,” the hubby explains with a straight face. His, not the dummy’s.

“It has a two-day growth of beard and big, blue eyes that never blink.”

To us it looked stunned. We checked a few websites and “Safety Man” dolls are real. But the new ones are inflatables and one model is labeled, “Tall, Dark and Handy.”

Buddy has been with its flesh and blood adopters for  thirty-plus years and he has a sort of weird cult following around town.

“If I want to take Buddy to an event,” says the husband, “I have to check with the wife first because she might already have booked Buddy for a gig.” Seriously.

 As the humans chatter on, Buddy just sits there and reads. Sometimes he may be having deep Safety Man thoughts.

Friends and neighbors often borrow Buddy for holiday events, but they must handle him with care.

“He’s life size, of course and wears a 48-long in a men’s suit,” says Buddy’s addled daddy.

“I got him a good one, plus a tie.

“A lot of people in town recognize Buddy on sight. Some ask if they can take him to parties or other special occasions. What’s astounding, people come over to our table at a party and talk to Buddy.

“At a Christmas party last year a server taking drink orders began talking to him. We asked her to read him the menu specials and she did, straight-faced.” 

Sorta like Buddy.

“Women especially like Buddy, and will sit on his lap to have their pictures taken.”

The doll’s dad says women often (in our words) check him out. His lap area, we mean.

Some of the ladies even ask about Buddy’s, um, shortcomings.

The dad’s deadpan answer: 

“The only accessories we bought for Buddy were the legs.”

We have more funny gift moments to share. If you have one, email us right away. at

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