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I'M NOT sure what everyone means by "hunkering down," though I suspect there's no nudity involved. Hunkering down sounds sort of appealing, though. Like something you'd do in slippers and an old sweat shirt. And pants, of course. Never forget the pants.

I suppose you could hunker up, but you'd be defying all the trends. Most people are hunkering down these days, which I think means lying low and saving your pennies in tough times.

With that in mind, here are some penny-pinching activities to do while hunkering down. Some, in fact, are free.

-- Have a hot flash.

-- Have a cold flash.

-- Have a cash flash. (I just had two, minutes apart.)

-- Watch an old episode of "MASH" and try not to laugh.

-- Watch a new episode of Kobe Bryant and try not to cheer.

-- Pour some coffee.

-- Chop some wood.

-- Thumb through old photos.

-- Organize the 5,500 digital files on your hard drive.

-- Dig out your high school yearbooks.

-- Hold a yearbook party.

-- Play soccer in the park. (Tip: three players, three different goals.)

-- Soak up the Sunday paper.

-- Check out a library book.

-- Browse a used-book store.

-- Make the best bowl of chili ever.

-- Hold a yard sale.

-- Buy some baseball cards.

-- Build a wine cellar.

-- Make some moonshine.

-- Throw a perfect spiral. (Tip: Don't over-squeeze.)

-- Call an old college friend, using free Sunday minutes.

-- Write a letter to the White House. ("Well done! Keep up the great work! Anybody home?")

-- Sketch out your next remodel -- on a piece of scratch paper, while smoking a cheap cigar.

-- Roughhouse with the kids.

-- Roughhouse with your spouse. (Don't over-squeeze.)

-- Place a small wager on a big game.

-- Place a big wager on a small game.

-- Place a wager on whether your wife will ever roughhouse with you again.

-- Draw up a trick play, send it to Boise State.

-- Design your retirement house.

-- Design your retirement yurt.

-- Hum a fight song.

-- Sing the national anthem.

-- Write a letter to the editor.

-- Send flowers to a grandma.

-- Take the dog for a long, brisk walk at sundown.

-- Nuke some popcorn, snap open a beer and watch any movie made before 1975.

-- Play Trivial Pursuit.

-- Play strip poker.

-- Play strip Trivial Pursuit.

-- Join a book club.

-- Quit a book club.

-- Scrub the car, inside and out. (You may be living there soon.)

-- Make dinner with friends, with a game on the tube.

-- Eat dinner with the kids, with the TV off.

-- Short-sheet the kids' beds.

-- Short-sheet a ghost.

-- Tell a scary story.

-- Carve a pumpkin in the shape of Henry Paulson's head.

-- Write a note to your favorite Dodger . . . or Cub . . . or Jet.

-- Oil up the baseball glove.

-- Organize your fishing tackle.

-- Take a sick day.

-- Teach your dog to yodel.

-- Share a joke.

-- Say a prayer.

-- Count your lucky stars.

-- Mix the joke, the prayer, the lucky stars. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Chris Erskine can be reached at chris.erskine@latimes

.com. For more columns, see latimes.com/erskine.

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