To all my fellow Americans (Native Americans legal immigrants included),
I offer my 2016 holiday seasons greeting. Here’s hoping you all have a great Christmas and drug free New Year. My fellow friends, now more than ever we must take full advantage of this yearly opportunity to reinvigorate the spirit of tolerance and goodwill that smolders within each of us and it is on that mellifluous note that I would like to remind everyone that just because some people don’t celebrate Christmas, there’s no reason for we who do celebrate Christmas not to wish those silly people a merry Christmas. And if we do wish them a merry Christmas there’s certainly no reason for them to get pissy about it.
For those who don’t recognize Christmas, well that seems a little sad but please know that I don’t wish for anyone to burn in Hell just because they don’t celebrate the birth of consumerism like civilized folks. I’ve come to accept that ignorance is an integral part of the human condition so in the aforementioned spirit of tolerance and goodwill I say to those folks: whatever pagan ritual makes you happy is fine with me as long as you keep it amongst consenting adults. Just don’t get uppity with me if I decide to wish you a Merry Christmas, which I probably will do.
If you really feel that you can’t reciprocate without disrespecting the quasi-mystical farrago of mumbo-jumbo to which you subscribe then just smile, nod your head and keep quiet. Remember: tolerance. Reasonable people accept the fact that there’s just no accounting for tastes when it comes to religious observances.
Here’s a perfect example of what I’m talking about: while strolling through Carytown late one busy afternoon last week, I spied my good friend Clyde Horowitz walking from one of the quaint little shops that litter the area. He was hurrying down the sidewalk, packages in hand, pushing his way past throngs of happy holiday shoppers while merrily whistling the theme from ‘Exodus’. Stealthily crossing the street I snuck up behind him and gave his yarmulka a playful tug.
“Hola, Clyde! Where do you go in such haste.”
“Shalom, Martin, I’m on my way to pick up some beets.”
“The devil, you say.”
“That reminds me, I need to renew my subscription to The Libertarian Forum.”
“Well be safe old chum, give my best to your family and Merry Christmas to
“Merry Christmas to you Martin and Happy Chanukah.”
“Happy Chanukah to you, my friend.”
(Now doesn’t that seem convivial? Why get huffy over who celebrates what,
This year as every year, my holiday plans include the annual sojourn to my ancestral home in the Urals. It is there that the Fogg family unites to celebrate the season. I know that I’ll always find my cousins and nephews who fly in from afar and nestled by the fireplace will be Grandpa, Grandma, Aunt Krunkula, Uncle Jeeter and a bunch of other old farts.
Yes, it’s always great to spend a little time with those for whom you have so little time but last year I decided to institute a new Fogg tradition which I shall this year continue.
Last year I resolved to do something special for the folks for whom no one seems to have any time at all. Of course I’m talking about the homeless. Yes, I felt the need to give of myself to those whom society has forgotten and so in the true spirit of Christmas I decided to dress down for a change, pack a bag of simple gifts and wander the streets to commiserate with the poor and unfortunate.
A quick search of a dusty basement closet in my lux penthouse uncovered an old monogrammed satchel from Lands End. I took that satchel and filled it to the brim with some simple reminders of the joys that those wretched souls once perhaps as children knew. I hoped to rekindle those now distant memories of childhood with some apples, nuts and tangerines, some homemade cookies, a few slices of fruitcake and a hearty half-gallon of cheap bourbon.
Twas’ the night before Christmas and many of those folks had been taken in by local church groups. During the Yuletide season, various local organizations make a special effort to offer comfort and sustenance to the needy. I’m happy that they do this, knowing that their efforts are entirely community based and not funded by taxpayer money. But I also knew that there would be some that would fall through the community cracks and those were the people who needed my help.
So I took to the streets, walking for hours, meeting first one new friend and then another and yet another. Soon my newfound friends and I found ourselves down by the ol’ river. We gathered at the site of a soggy stump and warmed ourselves around a crackling fire that we kindled with some old tires stuffed into a discarded fifty-gallon drum. We then joined hands and sang songs of the season. I taught them a few holiday ditties that I remembered from The Lawrence Welk Show, a television program that my parents forced me to watch when I was a child.
The caroling got old pretty quickly and so it was time to open my Santa satchel and share its yummy treasures with my Yuletide friends. You should have seen their eyes light up at the sight of all those goodies.
Before long, a taciturn December sun was settling over bare, tangled branches of deciduous trees that lined the shore and lo, the last lambent rays from that departing star drowned in the gunmetal blue water of the river as shadows reached for the safety of land.
The evening air was rich and self-assured, unlike my new friends. Starlight and moonbeams traced the sky.
Deciding that the time was right to really get into the Christmas spirit I opened the half gallon of bourbon and proposed a hearty toast; and then another and yet another. Soon our cheeks were all aglow and the dusk was splendid with the scent of burning rubber. Apparently that scent of burning rubber caught the attention of a passing cop and soon we all joined hands again as we were shuffled into a police wagon and carted off to the city holding tank.
As I awaited the arrival of my personal assistant and bail bondsman a fetid wave of remorse washed over my brow. I realized that the poor unfortunates that stood before me in that cold and soulless room would be there all night long. It was in that dank hole, in the company of assorted low-lifes and scary inner-city types, that they would spend their Christmas.
Just as it seemed that sorrow would overwhelm me a strange light shone from just over a ventilation duct. Brighter and brighter it grew until I could see nothing beyond its shimmering brilliance but through that shimmering brilliance came a vision, a vision of a buxom young woman and in that moment, in my frisson of despair, I found inspiration; yet another priceless opportunity to bring happiness to those who would otherwise have none.
Checking my Lands End satchel I discovered to my great delight that the only thing consumed during our river celebration was the half-gallon of bourbon. All the other treats that I had packed were still there waiting to spread joy and good cheer. Leaping into the air I ripped open that satchel and flung those merry morsels all around the holding tank shouting ho, ho, ho….. which, in retrospect, was a bit of a faux pas but you should have seen their eyes light up at the sight of all those goodies.
Merry Christmas America, and Happy New Year.