Being a “glass half empty” sort of guy…I often notice and dwell upon the negative. In this season of joy and thanksgiving, I would like to share some things I am NOT thankful for. It starts when we are still recovering from the sugar-high of Halloween. Retailers began bombarding us with sales and commercials that hint of Christmas. Family and friends descend, like seagulls, with well-wishes and invitations. Children produce substantial literary works that pass for a Christmas list these days. I literally want to “deck the halls” by Thanksgiving.
Who wraps those packages?
When preparing Thanksgiving dinner, one of my tasks involves probing the turkey’s cavity in search of the little white envelope. It’s not a manufacturer’s rebate, or a coupon for stuffing. It’s not even the instructions for properly cooking a turkey. This little wax paper package contains the major internal organs of the turkey. Heart, gizzards, and liver…and the neck. No one eats this garbage…it’s like medical waste. They just put it in the turkey to avoid the cost of disposal.
I’m sure someone out there is saying “I use that stuff to make giblet gravy”. Well, I don’t use the organs and still make a great gravy. My personal favorite is when a host uses the heart, liver and gizzards in the stuffing and fails to mention it. A good indicator a host has pulled such a holiday prank is that they gleefully heap mounds of stuffing on everyone’s plate, but take very little themselves. Beware…you may be about to take a mouthful of nasty that will be with you for the rest of the meal, and perhaps the day, ruining the chance for leftovers and desserts as well.
In a turkey factory somewhere there is a special kind of sadist. I’m not talking about the guy who kills and butchers the tasty bird. I’m thinking of the little basement dweller who lovingly cleans each turkey organ and places it carefully in a little bag. He alternately sings and giggles to himself as he violently plunges each package deep into the turkey carcass. I’m sure he hopes it will be missed and cooked right into the main dish, infusing it with gamey flavor.
Good Will Toward Men
Most of the year we are terrible to our fellow human beings. We cut each other off in traffic, fail to hold doors for one another, and crowd in line at every opportunity. Common courtesy is dead, and instead of being grateful year round, we reserve one season to give thanks and share joy with others. This is akin to raising hell six days a week and asking for forgiveness on the seventh. Except for the giblet sadist…he gleefully commits atrocity without remorse year round.
Amidst the beauty of this time of year, is the ugliness of shoppers violently vying for the same discounted item at Best Buy, professional panhandlers preying on the goodwill of shoppers at every intersection, and pedestrians targeted in the crosswalks by traffic enraged drivers. Even donating to a charity is a gamble, and rarely benefits those in need.
In the Spirit of the Season
I must stop myself. What I envisioned as a light, funny piece about the irritations of the holidays has turned into the whining rant of a grinch. Even though I despise the commercialism of the season, and the excess in every aspect…I must say that I love the Christmas shows.
Christmas Vacation is a family favorite, probably because we can relate. My wife says that I am a melding of the characters “Clark” and “Cousin Eddie”. I’m pretty sure that is not a compliment in any way. The problem I have with watching the shows on television, is the commercials. We are constantly bombarded on our phones, internet and tv, but at Christmas they squeeze a few extra minutes into every commercial break. It’s better to record and watch later and fast forward through the commercials.
My four year old daughter, however, waits eagerly for the commercials. They show her amazing things she never knew she needed, and she falls in love with every single one. She enlisted her older brother to help produce her Christmas list. It is very comprehensive including a fish tank that cleans itself (as seen on tv), and cheese.
Rather than a fun, enjoyable event, Christmas shopping has become a dreadful outing. Every year we vow to start months ahead and avoid the busy time of year…and every year we manage to battle the crowds, traffic and weather the week before Christmas. Secretly, I think my wife enjoys seeing me mutter to myself when someone blocks the center of an aisle with their cart, or cuts me off in traffic.
I am also a little hard of hearing. The background noise in stores and restaurants makes it impossible for me to understand what store clerks and wait persons are saying to me. In Victoria Secret, a young lady with a name tag came up and asked me to stop fondling all the bras. Embarrassed, I explained that I was helping my wife and was not a pervert. She wandered off with a funny look on her face. Jenn said, “She asked if we were finding everything ok.”
“Well, I bet that’s not what she was thinking.” I replied.
As I plunge my hand into the carcass of the Christmas season…I want to grasp the little envelope of hope and goodwill and share it with all of you. I am truly blessed with friends, family and good health. I live in a beautiful state in a great country and have much to be thankful for. Dwelling on the irritations of the holidays may suck, but Idaho does not.