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Life out here by Bret Kofford: A new man this Christmas

December 12, 2001

I admit in the past I have abused the generosity of the Christmas season to reap my own bounties. My shame over this behavior is sometimes overwhelming even now.

Years ago, back in my single days, I used this column and my fake co-chairman, multimedia international superstar David Hasselhoff, to put on a communitywide tamal contest, the U.S.-Mexican Grand Universal Spectacular Tamal Cook-Off and Delivery Contest, which was just a sham for me to get free tamales and pretty women. Many people actually fell for it and brought me plates full of free tamales, and some even sent in their lovely daughters or sisters to deliver plates and be charmed and ogled by the leering contest co-chairman.

I felt like a glutton and a lothario, although, frankly those warm tamales in my stomach on cool winter days made it worth it every year. And, even more frankly, there are worse things in the world when you're single than to appreciate a fine woman and a fine tamal, not necessarily in that order.


I eventually, though, grew a conscience, saw the error of my ways, and most important, got married and stopped chasing women, so I did away with the contest. Anyway, by that point my contest had been co-opted by a similar one started years after my own and sponsored by a fly-by-night outfit known as the Indio Chamber of Commerce.

So I was a reformed man. After half a decade of not scamming the public for free Christmas stuff, I had rid myself of my problem and had become a man of Yuletide honor. Or so I thought.

Yes, being a free Christmas goodies addict, something with which I now realize I will struggle for the rest of my life, I again succumbed to the lure last year. I found myself trying to convince readers that Dec. 18, my birthday, was a much-celebrated holiday called Bretmas. On Bretmas members of the public celebrate in many ways, but mostly they celebrate by bringing Bret lots of presents, I informed readers. And while I actually got some presents out of that scam, I ultimately saw my behavior as misguided and vowed to never allow myself to do something so disgusting again, although I did keep the gifts because I got some really cool stuff.

This year, I am truly a man with a reformed soul, with a Christmas spirit of giving. And in that spirit of giving, I am using this column this holiday season to sponsor the inaugural Mario Renteria Binational Bilingual Bicultural Christmas Cookie and Delivery Contest.

For those who don't know Mario, he is a news clerk/reporter here at the Imperial Valley Press, a local soccer star/coach and all-round nice/charming guy. You'll love entering his contest because you'll feel better about yourself just being associated with Mario. He deserves your cookies because he is a fine young man, and while he may ogle your daughters and sisters who deliver your plates of cookies, he will do so in a subtle and gentlemanly manner.

To participate in the MRBBBCCDC, just send in a lovely young woman with a heaping plate of cookies to Mario, who sits two seats behind me in the newsroom. If he is not here, the cookies should be left with me, as I will be certain to make sure a sampling of each plate of cookies reaches Mario.

Having run such community contests, I will recommend that Mario hire expert judges to help him. Now I won't recommend specific names, although I will tell him my first word was "cookie," according to my mother, and that I love cookies so much that I dream lovingly about cookies. I also know that Mario is a smart guy and while I, as his boss, wouldn't order him to make me a judge, I am sure he knows on what side his dough is sugared, if you will.

While I can't speak for Mario and his contest, I can say that there are two really fine Christmas cookie types that might do well in the contest: those colored sugar cookies and those really, really good Christmas cookies with the frosting on top. Yes, they make those frosting cookies at Albertsons, and yes, we the likely judges will probably be able to tell that those cookies are from Albertsons, but we, the likely judges, will gladly sample a box or two as legitimate entries anyway.

Mario hasn't decided what the prizes will be for the winner, but he may be able to get hold of an I.V. Press T-shirt, publish a photo of the winner in the newspaper and come up with some other crap. Whatever. The main thing is this: bring your favorite columnist, excuse me, Mario, cookies and do so now!

I am sure that Mario will think this contest is a great idea, as soon as he finds out about it.

And if he doesn't approve (and he'd better), don't forget the festive Bretmas season is just around the corner!

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