Once upon a time while I was waiting to pay a bill, I heard a 92-year-old man say something pretty profound. Quote he, “If we live, we’re gonna get old.” This point, while obvious, merits further consideration. I was reminded of his observation on reading that Mick Jagger is about to become a great-grandfather. Yep, the Street Fighting Man’s granddaughter is going have a baby. Jagger’s new status has implications for the rest of us. If Jagger is going to be a great-grandfather, perhaps time is passing by more quickly than we think. Undoubtably, time will ultimately take us with it.
Armed with the knowledge that life is fleeting, what should we do about it? I personally suggest deep denial, but that is just me. However, despite the alleged war on Christmas promoted by Fox, you may have noticed that it is Christmas time again. Christmas brings all kinds of events, some deeply theological and some highly commercial. It’s Ying & Yang time. I shall leave the theology to those more knowledgeable about such things. I shall remain in the shallow end of the Christmas pool to ponder the wonders of Yule Tide commercialism.
Christmas comes but once a year, but it starts in August and lasts until January. It means Christmas movies, TV specials and buying stuff. Let us count the pretty ways of commercialism. The Christmas season begins in earnest with the Pamplona Running of the Bulls style traditional trampling of the customers on Black Friday at the Big-Box Stores. This year Black Friday has moved up to trampling customers on Thanksgiving. How festive!
My favorite holiday movie is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, which theoretically stars Chevy Chase. The real star is Cousin Eddie. Cousin Eddie is the reason I watch this movie. We all have Cousin Eddies in our lives and Randy Quaid is the Cousin Eddiest of them all. Cousin Eddie shows up at the Griswold’s house in his worn out RV and settles in for the duration. Have you ever had relatives show up at your house and outstay the three-day fish rule? Yep. I knew you had. The great thing about Cousin Eddie is that he doesn’t actually show up at your house. He’s on the TV and you can change the channel. Try changing the channel at your own dinner table when Uncle Howard starts his political rant about the wonders of nuclear power with Aunt Donna who is a dues paying member of the Sierra Club. Ah, Christmas cheer.
It is not really Christmas until I hear the Barking Dogs canine chorus howl “Jingle Bells.” How can we celebrate the true meaning of Christmas commercialism without the musical accompaniment of “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer?” As for me, Grandpa, and the trial lawyers we believe. If Grandma really got run over by a reindeer driven by Saint Nick we are talking serious money damages. Grandpa’s mailbox is going to be jammed with letters from lawyers wanting to bring a wrongful-death action for Grandpa against the jolly old elf who carelessly, reckless and with wanton malice ran over Grandma while she was in a position of helpless peril due to her consumption of egg nog. It’s an ill sleigh accident that doesn’t bring a contingent fee.
I admit to slightly misting up when Charlie Brown decorates his scraggly Christmas tree at the end of A Charlie Brown Christmas. The tree magically becomes beautiful as the Peanuts gang sings “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” lifting their heads skyward looking like coyotes howling at the moon. It is a beautiful moment. I always look forward to it.
We get 24 hours of the Christmas Story wherein Ralphie dreams of owning a real carbine action 200 shot range model Red Rider BB rifle with a compass in the stock with which he may very well shoot his eye out. As Ralphie’s mom says “It’s always fun until someone shoots their eye out.” Isn’t Christmas about getting new stuff so as to ward off the misery of the lurking wolf of bitter January winds just around the corner? As John Lennon once wrote, “Happiness is a warm gun.” Ralphie puts up with wearing a pink bunny suit and gets his Red Rider BB gun. This teaches us all the value of persistence in getting what you want at Christmas.
As John Lennon wrote, “So this is Christmas/And what have you done?/Another year over/And a new one just begun. “ Merry Christmas but don’t shoot your eye out.