When my last ex-wife and I would celebrate Christmas – and Chanukah – I would plead with her each and every year NOT to buy more gifts for the kids than could fill a supertanker. At least keep the massive quantity down to an elephant’s graveyard.
And each and every damn year, something was lost in translation. Even her parents were embarrassed by the decadence of the inundating deluge.
Our two kids would end up spending most of the day feverishly ripping open gifts in a sort of ambiguous, if not exhaustive, debauchery. It wouldn’t have mattered if the packages were empty. They were just gashing and cleaving wildly at the wrappings.
And each and every year I would go seething off to my study detesting the indecency, while also wondering about the practical aspects: Like how I was going to pay off her credit cards.
Of course, she would hide the bills for months until I would have to call the credit card companies and request them to fax and e-mail the bad news to me so I could transfer our dwindling funds.
It was during these times that I learned there is evidently a way of transferring funds that is even faster than electronic banking – it’s called marriage.
And every year this time of year starts earlier and earlier…and earlier than it did the previous year. Obviously we aren’t forgetting the true meaning of Christmas… you know, it’s the birth of Santa.
And that other guy, too. Remember Him?
But Christmas has sort of changed from its incipient days when the Wise Guys came bearing a few gifts.
Just a tad…Don’t you think?
Today, before we’ve even finished burping up our artificially inseminated Thanksgiving turkey we are dashing off to the guerilla warfare: punching, macing, shoving, kicking, pepper spraying and stomping our fellow neighbor to get the latest toy or doll or computer game that we somehow figure our children can absolutely ‘not’ go without. Otherwise they will undoubtedly go postal or Columbine in the near Freudian future.
I am not some party-pooping anti-Christ. I used to enjoy the cheerfulness and bon vivant of this time of year.
But it ain’t happening no more.
We don’t enjoy the season – we buy it. We bid on it. Don’t kid yourself, our economy depends on it. If Xmas didn’t exist it would be necessary to invent it.
And, just like we are told to go forth and propagate so we have more contributors to our Social Security System, we need more consumers to support our consumer society that is based mostly on the holidays.
This ain’t no bull: Holiday shopping can account for 40 percent of annual sales. Hello, out there! Can anyone put down their overextended, usury-interest-charging credit cards and listen in for a moment of clarity?
In the midst of a major recession that seems destined to get worse for most of us 99 percent, we outspent this Black Thursday night and Friday by at least 7 percent to $11.4 billion (the largest amount ever spent) and at least 22 to 33 percent to $1.25 billion on Cyber Monday – also the biggest online day ever.
And we’re crowing about it. I mean the debt crisis in Europe may doom us. Our own recession, rising cost of food and gas, and discombobulating unemployment could sink us past our broke kneecaps. China’s got its own banking crisis. Russia is still being robbed, raped and pillaged by the thugs that used to be politburo communists. The Mideast is always verging on some disorganized radical temerity. And Africa, well Africa ain’t going nowhere but back to machetes and AK47s.
In case you couldn’t locate the appropriate shopping aisle, lend me your ear: Peace on earth, good will to men is not something you buy in a bloody department store or order on line!
And my ex, the youthful Stephanie Blatt, was apparently too busy overspending at the time to comprehend the lyrics: Money can’t buy you love.
Apparently, youth wasn’t only wasted on young Ms. Stephanie it was clearly an extended period of missed opportunities.
Look, it’s not as if we have much choice anymore. We don’t make much of anything significant in America any longer. So, we don’t seem to know how to make Christmas into something much more than a cannibal feeding frenzy in all the duplicated stores carrying all the duplicated merchandise at all the duplicated and expanding malls.
In other words, we consume it. In a consumer society there are inevitably 2 kinds of slaves – prisoners of addiction and prisoners of envy.
And they – the marketers – have got our number. It is not as if we buy things we need or, many times, even want. We don’t buy stuff – we are ‘sold’ stuff.
Big, buxom, beautiful curves of pulchritude and toothy, male Adonis’s pitch us the shill of erection pills, perfume, liquor, cars, phones, insurance and lots of lingerie. When was the last, or even first time, you saw a sound-minded woman open a car hood and explain why the most important part – namely the engine – is better than sex with her in the back seat?
No, what they sell is the T&A – the sizzle, not the steak. And we all swallow it.
Christmas is not a holiday, but more like a war in a gluttony asylum. And you’re trying to survive – not only the savage spending thirst, but the untamed blues of memories. It’s like attending a strip club where the smiling estrogen beauties are kept out of reach by a muscled cabal of over-testosterone goons. And at the end of the night you are left with an empty wallet and fraught with aching frustration.
Come to think of it, that was just like being home with my ex-wife – goons and all.
Aw, hell, just give me a girl with a high skirt and low self esteem.
The problem isn’t merely that a fool and his money are soon parted. That’s a given. It’s that we, for the most part, are being led like future eunuchs along the path of castration. Sadly, we go so willingly… so easily. And we don’t even get what we want – we get what comes. We get what we’re told we want.
Once more: We don’t buy stuff; we are sold it.
My step-son, Hanz — who Ms. Stephanie had by seducing a Palestinian she thought was an Arab sheik before he escaped and ran home to live in a cave in the Gaza Strip — told me one night in the aftermath that he enjoyed the Christmas overabundance we had and didn’t understand why I was bothered by it.
I studied the man-boy. After all, I loved him. Still do, though I haven’t seen or heard from him since he contacted his father. He was the reason I ended up with his mentally challenged mother, and raised him from five until college.
And I simply replied: “Hanz when you’re a father, you can have Christmas any way you want for your children. Start your own traditions.
“But son, next to a circus there ain’t nothing that packs up and tears out of town any quicker than the Christmas spirit. And I never got the chance to impart the best part of Christmas past.”
And dats yDrewIS on DIS penal colony.