I spent this morning doing some Christmas shopping. Unlike many people I actually enjoy shopping on the last few days before Christmas because everyone is in a good mood… well, except maybe some of the sales clerks. I believe it’s a myth that everybody is bitchy and pissed off and crotchety on the last few shopping days before Christmas. Most people are just off from work for a little while so they’re able to be finally feel happy about the upcoming holiday… or maybe they’re just drunk… whatever…
Here are a few observations:
I was in a bookstore for about an hour. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular. I just thought it would be fun to look around. Some of you know, until this past November I worked in a family business… a bookstore… for the last eighteen years. It was a college bookstore, so we sold textbooks, rather than general reading books, but a bookstore nonetheless. Books became business to me. We made good incomes selling books, but I started hating books. The last thing I wanted to do was look at a book. Plus, as a retail store, we were always busy this time of year and didn’t get much time off. But today, I stood in a bookstore and looked through books and had a grand old time. I held them in my hands and stared at the covers and browsed the pages inside and even bought a few things. It was a renewed love affair.
I was in a store that sold wine today. When I brought my purchase up to the cashier’s desk, she asked to see my ID. I’m pretty sure that she didn’t think I was under twenty-one, this was just a store policy that they ask everyone to show an ID so they can enter their birth year into the cash register. I pulled out my wallet and flashed my driver’s license. As I was closing my wallet back up, I noticed sticking out from behind my license was the appointment card for my upcoming, long overdue vasectomy surgery. In big green letters on the top of the card, clearly visible to the cashier was the word UROLOGY. Probably not too many guys under twenty-one spending time at the urologist’s office.
I’m a pretty friendly, people-person kind of guy… but have you ever seen someone who you don’t know, a complete stranger, and think “God, I hate that person.” I saw a woman today who was all scrunched up and angry-looking and that thought ran through my head… then I said to myself “thank God, I don’t have to spend the holidays with that woman.” Then I felt bad… because that scrunched up, angry woman is probably somebody’s wife, mother, sister, aunt… whatever. Oh well, hopefully she has a Merry Christmas and isn’t so fucking scrunched up when she’s with her family.
Hip stores play great Christmas music that really gets me in the holiday mood. Not that crap Christmas music you hear on the radio where they play “Grandma got run over by a reindeer” six hundred times a day, but funky, jazzy, cool Christmas tunes that you haven’t necessarily heard before. I like Christmas music like that… it’s fun and it makes me happy. By the way… whoever the hell wrote and sang “Grandma got runover…” should be locked up for torturing us all these years with that shitty, douche-bag song.
When you shop where I live, everybody says “Merry Christmas” to you. “What’s wrong with that” you ask? Well, nothing really… except… although I’ve lived in Michigan now for the past 18 years, I grew up on Long Island, New York where there is a large Jewish population. So you didn’t say Merry Christmas to everyone because there was a good possibility that they were not Christian and didn’t celebrate Christmas. Apparently I am still under the influence of that upbringing and I tend not to say Merry Christmas to people unless they say it first.
Even then I say it with a sense of… “I know you just said Merry Christmas to me… so I feel somewhat confident that I can say it back to you… perhaps… so… Merry Christmas to you too… ummmm… I think… you know… unless you happen to be Jewish… or Muslim… or Hindu… or Atheist… and you were just saying it to me because you figured I live in Michigan so the odds are pretty good that I celebrate Christmas… you know… so have a nice holiday, whatever you happen to be celebrating.”
Lastly on the subject of Christmas… man the freakin’ Christmas cards are pouring in. We get a shit-load of Christmas cards this time of year. I never get Christmas cards in February or May… or even September… but they roll in by the dozens this time of year. We are not good at reciprocating and sending out Christmas cards to all of our friends and family. If it were solely my responsibility… frankly it would never happen. My wife pulls it together some years and sends out “New Year’s” cards sometime in January.
I’ve always wondered why people send Christmas cards with only pictures of their kids on the card. Are you and your spouse that hideous that you can’t be on the card as well? If you’re my friend, I want to see a picture of you on the Christmas card, especially if I haven’t seen you in a while… you know… so I can see if you’ve gotten fat and bald. Then I can feel better about myself and everybody needs a little bit of that, especially around the holidays.
I’d love to see a Christmas card with me on it… you know… perhaps in a red Speedo with a Santa Clause hat on. Hey, if that just made you throw up in your mouth a little… well, I hope you get coal in your stocking!
Merry Christmas… ummmm… I think… you know… whatever… just have a nice holiday, whatever you happen to be celebrating.