Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Christmas Rant

I don't know how I feel about Christmas this year.

Usually I focus on the lights, like an acid freak or mental patient. Love to shut down the lights in the house and dig the Christmas tree twinkle. Check out other peoples' outdoor lights as I drive by, when I am not straining to see through their picture window. Typically I am slightly depressed because our Christmas shopping budget is around $1.37. The commercial harassment leaves me feeling like Bob Cratchit. "That's all Bob Cratchit can afford."

Recently I started getting this weird hopeful Christmas thing going. Came out of no where and maybe is a by product of what I am doing to my brain and how hard I am trying to get a life. But I started getting warm Christmassy feelings. Nostalgic, inspired, gently hopeful.

Then all this black friday stuff exploded upon the scene. I despise the stores that open on Thanksgiving to accommodate mindless shoppers. The stores that force their employees to work on Thanksgiving. This is symptomatic of just how soul-less this country has become.

I had a conversation with a woman in The Booze Emporium yesterday about the fact that there really are no more holidays. Holidays are a blip, a secondary consideration. It won't be long before stores are open all day on Christmas day to accommodate "those last second shoppers." Code for idiot a**holes who don't care about anyone but themselves.

A Walmart exec, when asked how he thinks his employees feel about working on Thanksgiving said something like our employees are focused on the needs of our customers.

What a flaming a**hole.

I am sure there are plenty of people who want to work on Thanksgiving. Desperate people who need the cash. Unfortunately this also says something about this great country of ours, but I do understand the need. I also understand the attraction of shopping at odd hours; it's a kind of adventure. If a bar opened up locally that only allowed customers in between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. you better believe I would be drinking a civilized whiskey there at least once.

I also understand the need for big savings on black friday.

But ultimately it is wrong and I despise it. There are employees who are being forced to work against their will on Thanksgiving. To leave their families. On the Number One family day of the year. At a time when people are desperate for any speck of humanity, any chance to relax and smile and catch their breath and forget about things and be with the only people they can trust.

Desperate to feel human at a time when employers don't care whether you live or die.

I remember the days when stores were not open on Sundays and banks were not open on Saturdays and there were no goddamn ATM's. It was inconvenient but it forced you to PLAN AHEAD. I remember rushing around on Friday to make sure I cashed my paycheck.

This country has become lazy beyond belief and inconsiderate. And corporations feed right into it by providing more while giving their employees less.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and in my family we have elevated this day to an art form. It is supremely laid back and warm, slow moving and spiced with great conversation and laughter. Football. A top notch meal. There is not one woman in America who prepares a better Thanksgiving meal than my lovely and amazing wife. She works so hard on that day, spending 99% of her time in the kitchen before we sit down to eat. But she stays in the conversation and laughs with us because she loves what she is doing.

I hunger for tomorrow. I will enjoy it with all my might in an easy going yet intent way. I drink the day in. I look around during the day at my sons, who I worship, and their women who stun me with their amazingness. Karen will not be here tomorrow and we will miss her deeply. But she has family too and we understand that completely and wish her a magnificent day. I look at my brother who I love and respect beyond description. I look at my beautiful wife who should have kicked me out twenty years ago but keeps hanging around waiting for me to fulfill my potential and her dreams.

I also hunger for tomorrow because I have the day off. It wouldn't surprise me for that to not be the case next year. I work for one of those unscrupulous employers who doesn't give a damn about their employees. The Booze Emporium is only closed two days a year. Thanksgiving and Christmas. I'm sure they lust for the chance to take even those two days away from us.

Anyway, tomorrow will be beautiful and it will nourish my soul. It will be a gift, a shining example of what life is all about, something I can enjoy and then cherish the memory of.

As far as Christmas goes, I will wait and see what it does for me. I am changing at a rapid rate and something may come along to pull it all together.

To those who are forced to work against your will on Thanksgiving I say -  steal as much stuff as you can during the day. Fill your pockets with little treasures of defiance. It is your right. If any of your managers are nasty to you, sabotage them, ruin their day. You know what I am talking about. You know how to do it.

And to Santa - you better bring me a Mercedes. I know people. I have connections. You do not want to ignore my request.

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