Monday, December 24, 2007

Today is the eve of what is most certainly the most festive day of the year for the mass of the Christian -- or simply commercial -- populace: December 25th, God's birthday, observed! Lucky for us, He's already got enough stuff, so WE end up getting the presents! I've tried to work out the same arrangement with a few of my friends for THEIR birthdays, but, well, I'll put it this way: God they aint.

Anyways, I sincerely hope you're all having a great Christmas and/or other holidays of various faiths and ethnicities Season. I don't usually store much by way of sap, but as Scrooge's nephew Fred observed, "it's a good and charitable holiday, so shove that up your coal chute, you crusty old turd." May that truly be said of all of us. And, not to point out the obvious, but if you haven't been charitable this year, you're right at the deadline; it's time to toss some cash to the needy. PAPER cash; quarters hurt at high speeds. We may not have a perfect country (or countries), where we have to worry about having our lame phone conversations tapped or having our video games censored for violent content, but we've been extremely fortunate to live in areas where those are considered legitimate complaints, as opposed to lands where you have to fight jackals barehanded for your dinner, or where they hook electrodes to your genitals for noting that your dictator has an unsightly mustache.

This is especially troubling, as unsightly mustaches are the stock and trade of most  current third-world dictators. Anyways, let's spread the blessings around a little.

Before I leave you all to your Christmas dinners and parties and binges and depressions, I'd like to share a little -- completely true! -- story from my own Christmas past. It occurred when I was very, very young.

Christmas, of course, was a big event in our young lives, and we kids -- my brother, sister and I -- we tended to wake up right at the crack of three A.M. on Christmas day, fidgeting and making unevenly-whispered conversation and giggling until our parents couldn't take the racket anymore and bowed to the inevitable. As we kids raced to the tree, our father would grumble to life and lumber out into the bitter cold to grab some firewood. As we were not allowed to open any presents until he returned, this was considered an excruciating inconvenience on our part.

This particular Christmas, however, shortly after dad had stepped outside, he came back in looking rather excited -- he wanted us to look at something that the wind had just blown off of the rooftop. In his hands, he held a very ordinary-looking piece of paper. As we drew closer, we realized it was a note. It read:

"Merry Christmas! -Santa Claus."

Now, we weren't total rubes, so we wouldn't have been convinced by anything as superficially magical and wondrous as that... except for the fact that directly under the jolly old elf's own handwriting, there was an honest-to-goodness reindeer hoofprint, in ink! This thing wasn't drawn on -- this was one hundred percent real hoof! Holy crap! We kids all agreed it was one of the most magical Christmas mornings we'd ever had. It's possible our reciept, that year, of an NES had contributed, but, cripes! A real reindeer print! Merry Christmas to all, and God bless us, every one!

A few years later, I recalled that dad had been hunting the week before Christmas, and had bagged a deer, which me and Jason had assisted in the butchering. I also recalled a number of dismembered hoofs resulting therefrom, which, it goes without saying, I didn't keep too careful track of, afterwards. Oh, well! It was a nice gesture at the time. Yuck. Merry Christmas, everybody.

photo: Rachel Miller

copyright 2007 Spookingtons


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