Thanksgiving is over. November has already unceremoniously left the party. December, however, is passed out on top of the pool table (and your cousin June), and doesn’t look like he’ll be making any great efforts at sobering up anytime soon. And, as always, that jolly fat bastard pal of his, Holiday Cheer, is upstairs defiling your refrigerator on a mission for fruitcake. October is getting arrested in the front yard, the dog is wearing your girlfriend’s lingerie, and someone thoughtfully pinched off a chocolate submarine in the fish tank. Why does this always happen when you host the party?
As this annual month-long holiday rager slowly spirals toward the New Year, what can society-at-large expect to see? At a snapshot, three things will occur with absolute surety:
1. The heating bill will go up.
2. Pedophiles everywhere will be seeking temp-work wearing red suits and fake beards.
3. Mel Gibson will be polishing his best brass knuckles for some jubilant Christmas-caroling at houses sporting window Menorahs.
Now, I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. I like the Christmas holiday. I’m a sucker for snow, twinkling lights, steaming coffee in the cold, and the occasional bottomless glass of eggnog. It’s just that for some reason, the season seems to bring out either the best, or the worst, in people. Kind of like Woody Allen. There really is no middle ground. For example, on the Blackest of Fridays last week, as I milled through the thousands of people scouring Michigan Avenue in search of steep price discounts, I was uplifted to see so many smiling folks lugging clunky shopping bags and helping the economy do some needed bench-presses. All the while, I was newly engaged, and with my fiancee on my arm, the city was positively glowing, despite a zero-degree wind chill.
But, in the same hour, after politely declining a pamphlet decreeing the need to “Keep Christ in Christmas,” I found myself being yelled at by an 8-year-old, whose shouts of “You will burn in hell!” were actually less disturbing than the pleased smiles on his parents’ slack-jawed faces. They watched with pride at their successfully lobotomized little religious fanatic in-training. Everyone, including me, just ignored the kid. Pretty sad. What else do you do? Stop and tell him that his parents are assholes? Not likely. With my luck, his dad would have gifted me the leftover pipe bomb from their last stop at the abortion clinic. Somewhere on a heavenly golf course of close-trimmed cumulus clouds, a dumbfounded prophet stopped to shake his head.
Despite the loonies and the tacky music, I really am looking forward to the holidays. And, even though it may not be the season for a nice cold beer, there's no reason not to chase a happy hour. Cheers.