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Bah Humbug
December, 2006 - Issue #26
You know what I hate? I hate hearing Christmas music before Thanksgiving. My guess is that piped-in versions of "Silent Night" are supposed to inspire me to make early purchases and spend more. If you are a member of the marketing brigade that came up with this idiotic idea, let me tell you: The only thing your saccharine tunes inspire in me is gas and a craving for apple cider. Come out of your candy-cane-consumption-induced fog and put up a picture of a Pilgrim for once. I promise that your sales of corn bread mix and green beans will soar.

You know what else I hate? I hate "big" sales that require me to get up at 3 a.m. so that I can be told at 6 a.m. that my box-store of choice has already sold out of $39 DVD players. The whole ordeal also makes me hate those people who literally camp out overnight in front of discount retailers. Seriously, how bereft must your life be if you can find 24 hours to dedicate to a $19 microwave purchase? The worst are the folks who take their kids with them. I've seen 8 year olds who were forced to pee in a milk carton and sleep on concrete so that mom and dad could buy three $19 microwaves (Oh, the joys of "one per customer" sales!). As a sidebar, if you happen to get a low-quality microwave for Christmas, you aren't out of line when you call child protective services on your brother in law. Better safe than sorry if you ask me.

I hate feeling obligated to attend sub-par holiday pageants/dance performances/choir recitals every weekend during the Christmas season. Yes, I get that Thomas is adorable dressed as a holy star. Yes, I'm happy that we now have proof that Ana's flat feet haven't prevented her from being a backup dancer. Yes, I'm pleased to hear that Teresa's voice is good enough to be drowned out by 40 other kids. But please, send me a picture or a tape recording. Their 15 seconds of fame unfortunately are smooshed between two and a half hours of other people's children performing badly. All too often, I find myself fantasizing that my event program is really a sword that I can impale myself with. Can't I just send a card?

And speaking of... I hate cards; or at least I hate getting cards from my dentist/chiropractor/urinary tract treatment center. Here's a plea to the professionals out there: Please, for the love of the recycled paperboard your pre-printed holiday cheer is found on, save a bulk-mail stamp and stop sending me one-size-fits-all seasonal sentiments. These things take tacky to a whole new level. Traditionally featuring either a bear (polar or teddy - take your pick) or politically incorrect Eskimos, these postcards do more than remind me that Dr. Smith and staff hope my holidays are filled with good cheer; they remind me that the next time I select a colonoscopist, I need to make sure he's an atheist. Or an environmental nut opposed to card distribution in general. People who have first-hand knowledge of your intestinal tract should have the courtesy to do two things: One, they must pretend not to know you during chance public encounters; And two, they should know better than to send a card that reminds you that it's been over a year since you last had those polyps checked.

And just in case you think I'm anti-holiday, let me tell you that I also hate people who revel in their "We don't celebrate Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanza/Whatever" moral superiority drama. Congratulations, Scrooge. Yeah, I know that there are kids starving across the globe. Yes, I am aware that genocide doesn't take a break for the holidays. But goodness gracious! Unless you are taking every dollar you would have spent on presents and sending it to the Red Cross or your donning a blue helmet and crossing enemy lines, here's my holiday message for you: Take your cultural relativism theories that you learned in grad school, wrap them up with your anti-capitalism values (which you should thank for the roof over your head, the car you drive and the food you eat), buy a ticket to the third-world nation of your choice and get in the bread line, Buddy. I may not like being beat to the $39 DVD players, but that doesn't mean I that I hate the holiday season holistically. Send me your new address and I'll request that you be added to Dr. Smith's mass holiday mailing. It might not put you in the spirit but it will get you 10 percent off your next visit. Maybe he can figure out what climbed up there and poisoned your sense of humanity.


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