Merry Christmas…or else
By Ian Robinson
By Ian Robinson
Christmas is coming and I want to punch somebody.
Not because I hate Christmas. But because I love it.
It is the birthday of the Prince of Peace. It is a celebration about giving selflessly to others and candy and presents and happiness. It is about peace on earth and good will towards men.
Note to any outraged feminists out there: The phrase “good will towards ‘men’” is meant to include women. And children. And transsexuals, I presume.
Don’t take offence because of old-school semantic shorthand because frankly, I don’t think I can stand to live through that argument again.
I was there for the Great Manhole Cover Debate of the 1980s. Hard as it is to believe today, there was a time when women wrote outraged local government claiming the term “manhole cover” was sexist and oppressive to women.
When I was a boy reporter, I once had to sit through an entire meeting of a small-town council where elected representatives argued over whether they should change the names of “manhole covers” to “person hole covers” or “worker access ingresses.”
And not one person in the room laughed or said, “Hey! This is nuts.”
It was a very sincere decade.
We spent all our time having dumb debates and listening to the Pina Colada Song by Rupert Holmes and Every Breath You Take by The Police.
The first one is all about a couple who decide to answer personal ads so they can have sex with other people but wind up with each other. That’s what passed for romance in the Eighties.
The other song is flat-out about stalking. “Every breath you take … I’ll be watching you.”
’Cause that’s not creepy at all.
But I digress.
Actually, this may be a new record for me. Not only did I digress … I then digressed from the digression. And then by talking about how I’m digressing, does that count as a third digression?
Does ADD stand for Attention Digression Disorder?
Did I mention anywhere that this column is being written while the writer takes regular swigs of codeine cough syrup?
Not recreationally. I’ve come down with something vile that has me trying to cough up a lung. Hence the heavy duty medication. The label says I should avoid operating heavy machinery. Says nothing about refraining from writing.
Back to the topic at hand … Christmas, Prince of Peace, good will, joy to the world, et cetera.
So if this season is supposed to be all about the big fun happiness, why do I spend the the weeks leading up to December 25 wanting to punch other people in the face?
And not just a single, light punch either.
I’m talking full-on-trip-the-bastard-ride-him-to-the-ground-straddle-his-chest-and-go-to-town. Real Timmins Saturday night stuff.
I’m tired of the Humbuggers. I’m tired of the Scrooges. I’m tired of of those who seem determined to take all the fun out of the holiday.
And they are determined.
There are Lifestyle section articles and segments on TV newsmagazines with chirpy TV people discussing “How To Survive Christmas.”
How big a wimp do you have to be for Christmas to kick your ass?
Put up a tree. Decorate. Buy a few presents. Put them under the tree. Smile when small children open them and are delighted. Mull some wine. Get drunk. Cook large meal. Eat large meal. Pass out in turkey/mulled wine coma in your favourite armchair with one hand down your pants like Al Bundy.
It’s not like organizing the invasion of Normandy.
You “survive” a plane crash. You “survive” World War Two. You “survive” cancer.
Christmas? The word you’re looking for, doofuses, is “celebrate.”
You “celebrate” Christmas.
No wonder the rest of the world hates us.
People in northern Mexico wake up every day to piles of human heads in their front yards because warring drug cartels like to do that stuff.
It’s their idea of public relations. “Hey folks, in case you forgot to be afraid of us for 10 minutes…Ta Da! Here’s a gigantic pile of human heads to remind you to be afraid!”
People in central Africa, along with soul-crushing poverty, bouts of hunger and governments that qualify as ongoing criminal conspiracies, on top of all that — Ebola.
That’s right. They live in a place where occasionally, large numbers of people bleed to death from all their orifices. They’re just walking down the street and all of a sudden they’re weeping tears of blood.
And people on this continent are worried about “surviving” an afternoon at the mall buying Christmas presents that will make a small child happy?
Type “how to survive Christmas” into Google and you get 75,000,000 hits.
That’s a lot of whining.
By contrast, Google “how to survive cancer” and you get 57,000,000 hits.
We actually live in a world in which fewer people are writing how to survive life-threatening diseases than are writing on how to make it alive through an afternoon in a shopping mall.
One writer on the subject suggests that in order to get through the horror of a Christmas family gathering, you close your eyes and imagine that your entire family is dead. Then when you open your eyes, you’ll be glad to see them.
You know what that means? From now on at Christmas gatherings, every time I see somebody close their eyes, I’m going to think they’re imagining that I’m dead.
On the plus side … when somebody’s got their eyes closed?
It’s pretty much the best time to punch them.