Warning: Some of you will find this highly offensive. Well, I have spent 40 some odd years being offended, so be it.
I like the holidays as much as the next guy, but enough already. From the beginning of October to the end of December, Christmas, Christmas Christmas. What’s more, and I need not remind you as you can read my prior post, Jesus was born in Elul, which falls around late August/early September. You are celebrating a pagan holiday. As a former practicing Wiccan, I can appreciate that, too.
Since fourth grade when I opened my mouth at how sick I was of Christmas crap – yes, I wrote a letter to Mrs. Tillman telling her exactly that (I think that was my first blog post) – I have been made out to be the bad guy for complaining. So, I quit complaining … about Christmas.
Seriously, why should I, a Jewish kid, have to make Christmas tree ornaments? Where am I going to hang it? On my shmekel?
After being dragged into the hall and being told I was inappropriate, Mrs. Tillman actually let me make a menorah ornament. It was still hung on the classroom Christmas tree, but it was a small victory. It was better than when Mrs. Motley, my third grade teacher, told everyone I killed Jesus. Killed him? I didn’t even know him.
Over the years, I have calmed down and drudged my way through the season. On Christmas day, I do volunteer work, so my gentile friends can have the day off. Then, I take myself out for Chinese food and have one of the few cocktails of the year, which I sip while the other people look at me with sympathy. The middle-aged Jew, drinking alone on Christmas. Please, that is how I like it.
I have endured forty years of dealing with trees and music and all things Christmas … until now.
What is it about this year that is irking me so much? Am I getting old and cranky? No, that can’t be it; I have always been old and cranky.
The problem started on Rosh ha Shana when I was asked to perform a task by someone who should have knowledge of the fact that it was a Jewish High Holy Day. I was aghast when she didn't understand I would be off. And, I think this has been boiling up ever since.
Then on November 22, my 51st birthday and the 50-year anniversary of the Kennedy assassination (by the way, he’s still dead), three radio stations here, one I listen to regularly in the car, decided to go all Christmas music until January 15. Oh my God! Christmas music 24 hours a day seven days a week for two months! I am surprised the DJs aren't sticking knives in their ears. What’s more, this area is probably one of the most diverse in the country. How many listeners will you lose in those two months? I already found a new station and will never change the dial again. Can you tell I’m old? I said “dial.”
Maybe it is the so-called “War on Christmas” that has people going even more Christmasy? Really? If there is a war, why are stores opening on Thanksgiving? Whose war is it anyway?
The only war I have seen is the shopper-on-shopper violence in the stores. People getting shot over sweaters, people getting trampled for stretch pants, people getting stabbed for scarves. Knife fights, car jackings and taser attacks. Who brings a taser to the mall? What could you possibly want that is causing you to taser someone? Or is it tase?
On an unrelated note, when I go to a clearance sale, I carry a cross bow. It is much more effective.
Then, I hear this commercial on the radio asking for donations, so this woman, who is crying her eyes out because her baby daddy ran out on her, can have a nice Christmas for her five children. Forget Christmas. If she is that broke, she needs food and clothes and toiletries and medicine, but her biggest concern is having enough presents under the tree. Where are your damn priorities?
Once they open the presents, where does that leave you? You can’t live in a Barbie Dream House although a friend of mine’s sister does. Those Legos cannot build you a financial future. That Tonka truck isn't going to carry your ass to a job.
How spoiled are your children that you have to get everything on that list? What are you teaching them? Why do you let them write those damn lists in the first place? And, why do you let them sit in a pedophile’s lap? This man knows when they are sleeping, when they are awake, when they’ve been good or bad, and you leave him milk and cookies after you let him break into your house. To put your children in further danger, you take them to the mall, so they can ask this pervert for presents. My God, people! Are you fucking insane?
I know you are insane because your children now work for the government as interns, and I have to sit in meetings with them. You know what you taught them? You taught them that if they don’t get their way, they can throw a tantrum and be disrespectful to people who are twice their age. On the plus side, since they always got what they wanted, when something doesn’t go their way, they quit. On the negative side, we end up with a new set of interns.
Here is the best example of all. When I was young, the telephone was rented to you by Ma Bell. We had the same rotary phones in our house, one in the living room and one in my parents’ bedroom, from 1962-1973. They were both flesh tone (that was actually the name of the color). We kept them for eleven years! When call waiting became available, we switched them out for push button phones, which we kept for the next dozen years. Not today. Now you own your phone, and you can pay as much as $600 for one, and in twelve months, it is obsolete, so what do you do? Demand a new one for Christmas. And if you don’t get one, you throw a tantrum – no matter your age.
Funny, I always keep my phones until they absolutely fall apart, which explains why my iPhone has a rotary dial and weighs thirteen pounds. It is difficult finding a long enough cord, too.
The last time I got what I wanted for Hanukah, Uncle Stanley gave me a fire engine pedal car. That was 1967. I loved it so much that I haven’t asked for anything since. This may also explain my love for base model antique cars. Funny thing is my brother dared me to ask him for the fire engine pedal car, so I did, and I got it. I remember as if it were yesterday. We were watching black and white television in my parents’ bedroom while the adults were downstairs, and I was wearing blue footie pajama with little football players all over them. I loved those pajamas.
Later, if I had asked for something, it wouldn’t have mattered. My mother was the last person to climb over a bunch of goyim to get me a … what did we have back then? Oh yes, a Hot Wheels set. I eventually got one, but I didn’t ask for it.
Today was the final straw. I walk into the office and see a Santa, lights and a manger scene made out of wooden dolls. I said nothing, but two Christian co-workers actually mentioned how they found it offensive.
Then while standing near the holiday potluck – let’s call it what it was – Christmas potluck, the same individual who asked me to work on Rosh ha Shana asked me, “So, what are you plans for Christmas?” Normally, I would have thought she meant, “As a Jew, what do you do?” But, this clearly wasn’t the case. All of a sudden, it was 1973 again, and I was explaining to Mrs. Tillman why I was tired of all this Christmas crap.
But, I didn’t say a word. I was raised right, so I smiled, walked away and didn’t participate in the pot luck although I contributed. They also held a gift exchange, but after years of ending up with cheap gifts including a pair of women’s slippers that someone regifted, when I made the effort to get the perfect gift, I decided for the first time not to participate. Someone ended up with a bottle of Gold Bond Medicated Lotion. Seriously. That is just wrong.
If you want my opinion, and if you’ve read this far, you do, the only reason there is a War on Christmas is because year after year, there is less and less true meaning of the holiday, and it all gets shoved down our throats whether we like it or not beginning in October.
Next time your kid hands you a Christmas wish list, tell the lazy bastard to get a J-O-B and earn it.
One final note from the world’s greatest bargain hunter: Shopping, no matter how good the bargains are, is not worth losing your life! Vaysmir.
P.S. Rose Marie did not make a list. She is being raised right.
If you are offended, good, buy my books: www.miltonstern.com.