'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
SKIPPING CHRISTMAS THIS YEAR
This is a notice to all family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers: this year we are skipping Christmas.
Yes, I know that in 2001 famous author John Grisham wrote a book titled Skipping Christmas. Well, what I mean is, I learned that John Grisham wrote about skipping Christmas when my wife said to me after I finished this column, “Hey, John Grisham already wrote about skipping Christmas.”
John Grisham and I have a lot in common. We both get paid to write. With his earnings from writing, John can purchase yachts and diamonds and yachts made out of diamonds. With my earnings from writing, I can purchase gum.
At first I was a bit concerned that maybe Mr. Grisham would sue me for unintentionally plagiarizing his work. But then I realized for that to happen someone first would have to read my column. So obviously I am safe.
Anyway, we decided to skip Christmas this year for many reasons. One reason is that we have yet to clean up the decorations from last year. More importantly, we are skipping Christmas because the entire holiday season long ago ceased being a time of peace and joy and love, and now is jammed-packed with nothing but anxiety and stress and credit card debt.
Someone once said, “Christmas is a time for spending money you don’t have, buying stuff no one needs, and giving it to people you don’t particularly like.” That’s rather cynical, even by my standards. We love our relatives and friends, but it certainly is true that they do not need the stuff we buy for them each Christmas. And this year, with both of our daughters in college, the “spending money you don’t have” concept was never more appropriate.
Assuming our relatives and friends actually needed some gifts, and assuming that money was no object (huge assumptions!), it still would be an ordeal because before you can do “gift giving,” you first must do “gift buying.” And gift buying during the Christmas season means wading neck-deep into a turbulent environment fraught with overstuffed parking lots, indifferent and inexperienced sales clerks, and the most frightening thing of all, throngs of hostile shoppers. Did you ever notice the closer you get to Christmas Day, the more the shoppers in the mall begin to resemble Charles Manson—only more surly?
Some people will say, “Just do your Christmas shopping on the Internet.” Sure, and risk having the UPS guy deliver my packages promptly on Dec 27th? Or order a navy blue ski jacket and instead receive a pair of pink snow boots because I clicked the wrong box on the L.L. Bean website? No thanks, I’d rather take my chances with the Manson Family at the mall.
But this year we won’t be dealing with any families at the mall, Manson, Partridge, or otherwise. Because this year we’re skipping Christmas.
This is not to say we are going to be like the Jehovah Witnesses, who do not celebrate any holidays and treat every single day of the year as if it were Thursday, August 19th. (What is special about Thursday, August 19th, you ask? The fact that it is not special.)
We still plan to honor the “reason for the season.” We’ll set aside some solemn, prayerful time to reflect on the Incarnation of Christ. But we just won’t do it this year with blinking mechanized reindeer, a fistfight over a parking space, a mountain of discarded wrapping paper, and a VISA bill that could choke a moose.
Don’t tell John Grisham, but we’re thinking about skipping New Year’s, too.
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