Christmas has come early to Detroit and boy, are my conservative friends, what few I have, flummoxed. It shocked them enough when they found out the new Head Teller at the banking system was a guy named Uncle Sam. Now this.
As Paul Simon once said, these are the days of miracle and wonder. A black man with a Muslim name is about to take the oath of office. And George Delano Bush is propping up Detroit. It's enough to make a person believe in Christmas.
Whoa. Did I just write that? I need to get a grip.
I just got back from West Little Rock where I foolishly went to finish up my shopping. As I sat there in the parking lot that was West Markham Street I made a mental note of all the things I hate about the Christmas season. Here are just a few.
Christmas Carols-As Christopher Hitchens has pointed out in Slate Magazine, being out in public this time of year is like unto living in a totalitarian state. Nowhere are you safe from Christmas music. Not only is most of it insipid ("Jingle Bells" largely consists of the same 3 notes), most of it is preposterous as a matter of history. It is highly unlikely that snow was falling, snow on snow, in Bethlehem of Judea on the night of Christ's birth, if indeed he was born there in the winter. It is a damn certainty that were no little girls with European names like Jeanette or Isabella running around with torches during the Nativity. And do you really think any young mother, no matter how tolerant and kind, would let some idiot with a snare drum anywhere near a baby?
The Mall- My nephew Henry has, unfortunately in my view given my sorry history with the subject, discovered girls. I was told he wanted cologne. This forced me to go to the mall. Naturally, since I do not read the Christmas ads, the sheer weight and volume of which surely require massive clear cutting to produce all of the paper, I did not know that last Saturday was " picture with Santa" day. Naturally, there was a line approximately 30 yards deep of anxious parents with understandably fidgety children waiting in line to pay exorbitant prices for a bad photograph of their kid with some fat guy in a costume.
After fighting my way through that, I made my purchase only to find out that my sister-in-law had already gotten it for him. This necessitated another frigging trip to the mall to make the return. On my way to the department store I was approached by a young girl peddling some seasonal junk in one of the many kiosks that have sprung up there since October.
" Excuse me Sir? May I ask you a question?"
" You sure?"
" More certain than anything in my life. Good day."
So, Henry you are getting your cologne. It was because of you I had to go to the mall twice. I hate to spoil the surprise but that's what you get for reading this. Merry Christmas.
The Salvation Army- My blood pressure rises when I hear the distant bell as I get out of my car. Look, the milk of human kindness flows in my veins. I donate lots of money to charity. I donate to the Salvation Army for Chrissakes. But I resent being shook down each and every time I seek access to or egress from the grocery store.
Branson-The only reason this town is not the wide place in the road it would otherwise be is because numerous naive and gullible white people are mysteriously drawn to its bad shows, lame music and stultifying light displays every Christmas. Jim Bakker is back in business selling ersatz religion and real estate just outside of town. I think that's perfect.
Andy Williams and Bobby Vinton- See above.
I could go on and on. Office Christmas parties. Business failures. People going into ruinous debt to buy presents. Asshole neighbors with light displays that would cause the Mayor of Branson to blush. TV spots by car dealers that invoke the name of Jesus. Idiotic Presidential Proclamations.
But let me be the first to congratulate the "Big Three" automakers on their early Christmas present from our outgoing President who is channeling his inner Keynes as he stumbles off into the judgment of history.
I never thought I would see such a thing. It's a wonderful life. Merry Christmas.