Christmas is just around the corner, so here are some gift ideasfor those special men in your life! Buying gifts for men is not nearly ascomplicated as it is for women. Follow these rules and you should have noproblems.

Rule #1:
When in doubt, buy him a cordless drill. It does not matter ifhe already has one. I have a friend who owns 17, and he has yet to complain.As a man, you can never have too many cordless drills. No one knows why.

Rule #2:
If you cannot afford a cordless drill, buy him anything with theword "ratchet" or "socket" in it. Men love saying those two words. "Hey, George,can I borrow your ratchet?" "OK. By the way, are you through with my 3/8-inchsocket yet?" Again, no one knows why.

Rule #3:
If you are really, really broke, buy him anything for his car. A99-cent ice scraper, a small bottle of deicer or something to hang from hisrearview mirror. Men love gifts for their cars. No one knows why.

Rule #4:
Do not buy men socks. Do not buy men ties. And never buy menbathrobes. I was told that if God had wanted men to wear bathrobes, he wouldn'thave invented Jockey shorts.

Rule #5:
You can buy men new remote controls to replace the ones they haveworn out. If you have a lot of money, buy your man a big-screen TV with thelittle picture in the corner. Watch him go wild as he flips, and flips,and flips.

Rule #6:
Do not buy a man any of those fancy liqueurs. If you do, it willsit in a cupboard for 23 years. Real men drink whiskey or beer.

Rule #7:
Do not buy any man industrial-sized canisters of after-shave ordeodorant. I'm told they do not stink; instead they are "earthy."

Rule #8:
Buy men label makers. It's almost as good as cordless drills.Within a couple of weeks there will be labels absolutely everywhere. "Socks.""Shorts." "Cups." "Saucers." "Door." "Lock." "Sink." You get the idea. No one knows why.

Rule #9:
Never buy a man anything with "Some Assembly Required" onthe box. It will ruin his Special Day and he will always have parts leftover.

Rule #10:
Good places to shop for men include Northwest Iron Works, ParrLumber, Home Depot, John Deere, Valley RV Center, and Les Schwab Tire.(NAPA Auto Parts and Sears Clearance Centers are also excellent men's stores. Itdoesn't matter if he doesn't know what it is. "From NAPA Auto, eh? Mustbe something I need. Hey! Isn't this a starter for a '68 Ford Fairlane? Wow!Thanks.")

Rule #11:
Men enjoy danger. That's why they never cook but they willbarbecue. Get him a monster barbecue with a 100-pound propane tank. Tell himthe gas line leaks. "Oh, the thrill! The challenge! Who wants a hamburger?"

Rule #12:
Tickets to a Vikings game are a smart gift. However, he will notappreciate tickets to "A Retrospective of 19th-Century Quilts." Everyoneknows why.

Rule #13:
Men love chain saws. Never, ever, buy a man you love a chain saw.If you don't know why, please refer to Rule #8 and what happens when he getsa label maker.

Rule #14:
It's hard to beat a really good wheelbarrow or an aluminumextension ladder. Never buy a real man a stepladder. It must be an extensionladder. No one knows why.

Rule #15:
Rope. Men love rope. It takes us back to our cowboy origins, orat least the Boy Scouts. Nothing says love like a hundred feet of 3/8" manilarope.

Sue Johnston

[ As Read on Car Talk ]