X X-Mas


I was having a cranky holiday chat with my good friend Mr. Tito when suddenly he broke into song (something about a reindeer with a shiny nose) and I suddenly felt compelled to get up and remove his vocal chords using a delicate operation I learned while serving time in sing sing (pun intended because I've had too much apple cider today). I felt a twinge of remorse as I untangled my fist from Mr. Tito's larynx and that's when it occurred to me: why the heck am I forced to endure/celebrate Christmas at all? Isn't this supposed to be a secular society? I asked Mr. Tito this question, which created an uncomfortable and awkward silence. After seeing Mr. Tito to an ambulance I called up my Grandpa Schlomo and asked him what the true meaning of Christmas is. His answer: "Oy, your asking an old Jewish man the meaning of Christmas, what, do you have plum pudding for brains?" But this got me thinking, something I try to do only when I'm doing laundry, or fantasizing about ways to convince Cate Blanchett that what she really needs is a cranky man who will take her on long walks along the beach in Venice, CA and who will attend all her preview screenings, even when critics are incorrectly comparing her performance to other actors who can't hold a candle to her grace and elegance, and who will give her all the love that any woman could possible require. Wait, what was I talking about? Yes, I was thinking. I was thinking that Christmas and Christians have imposed this holiday on all the rest of us who would rather use this day for something constructive, like going to work or helping our neighbor with her virgin birth (talk about defective condoms...). And for what? What, exactly, are we celebrating here?

Well, first off: Christmas ostensibly is the celebration of the birth of Christ. At least, that's what I think it is. But I don't care about the birth of Christ. So why must I, Jews, athiests, Muslims and stockbrockers be forced to take this day off? It's a holiday for Christians, no? Why must all the rest of us suffer for it? But I have a feeling that if I let my views about all this come to light, I would dramatically reduce my chances of winning the upcoming presidential campaign. Come on, all you Christians, lighten up. Err. Sense of humor, it appears, is inversely proportionate to religious faith, which is too bad because if religious folks could laugh at themselves they'd realize that they look really funny wearing those god-awful sweaters (I can't stop the puns tonight, so accept my apology in advance).

Second off: Christmas really isn't a religious holiday and Christians who say it is probably are trying to kid you or themselves. I'm no religious scholar, but I'm American and so this sense of entitlement permits me to say, with little authority, that December 25th has been a holiday as far back as the Romans. It's essentially a pagan celebration and many of its trimmings (someone stop me!) have absolutely nothing to do with Christianity: like Christmas trees and lights and It's a Wonderful Life. Heck, even most religious folks agree that Christ, if he actually lived, wasn't born on December 25th, but folks were already celebrating that day way back when so someone around 1,800 years ago decreed it ole Jesus' birthday. And you know what? Christmas didn't really take off here in the states until Mr. Washington Irving wrote his famous, "A Visit from St. Nicholas." Then people (lets call them "Americans") started imitating the Christmas traditions that he'd mostly made up (including exchanging gifts) and within 50 years Ulysses S. Grant declared the day a national holiday so everyone could shop til they dropped (Ulysses could never get enough socks, apparently). So even the tradition of buying last minute scarves isn't yet 200 years old. (I've truncated greatly the history of Christmas here, but it's easy to look up if you're really interested, which most scholars are not because for them, one sad fact remains -- beliefs matter more than facts).

Which brings me to third off: Christmas is and has been and always will be (at least until this country undergoes a religioscopy) a day celebrating capitalism. I'm fine with that, because I like to have a job and I like other people to have jobs because, while it makes me cranky, it tends to make the economy rather happy. And even though we all may be pathetic slaves to the almighty dollar, that question (whether or not we should all rebel and move to Aruba with Cate Blanchett) is one for another blog (or several hundred-thousand Marxists Phd dissertations collecting dust on thousands of university shelves around the country). My point is: why do we have to dress this day up in religious garb, and if we do have to dress it up in religious garb, why must it be the religious garb of a man named Santa Claus who was invented by a German cartoonist in the 19th century? Err, why must we dress it up as a pagan disguised as a Christian? It's all so much kidding ourselves, and for what? So families can gather annually and make each other really miserable while they exchange gifts, eat fatty foods and increase dramatically their collective chances of having a massive coronary?

I call upon all civilized, secularized humans everywhere to stop celebrating this bogus holiday. Buy your friends socks and silly trinkets, but call it "Save Our Economy's Ass Day" or "Socialized Medicine is for Pussies-Mas". And spare me the heaping helpings of hypocrisy and self-denial.

Okay, I've written plenty for today. Have a lovely "I'd Rather Be Having Sex Day" and try to stay away from TBS' insane 24 hour "A Christmas Story" marathon. You're likely to shoot your eye out.

Charles Dickens bless us, everyone.