MARINELLI: A very unmerry Christmas

Augustine Marinelli

Yes, I know, it isn’t even December yet. But in the spirit of the times, when the so-called “Christmas season” begins the minute your fat slob of a cousin grabs the biggest piece of white meat before the turkey hits the dining room table with an appetite-killing thud, my title is justified.

As another depressingly frenzied round of Christmas-themed nonsense kicks off before the big day hits on the 25th, I have a few questions about why things are the way they are. To both of my unfortunate readers (you know who you are), please find me and answer these questions to the best of your abilities. I’m really at a loss here.

1. Why on earth does the act of people with enough money to take Black Friday off of work to shop make the front page? What is so newsworthy about a group of people lining up outside a Wal-Mart in suburban New Jersey at the crack of dawn to shop?

Every housewife they asked about this said the same thing: they were bargain hunting. There is nothing earth-shattering about wasting one’s Friday to go discount shopping. Never mind the fact that at least 150 people were killed in Iraq on Black Friday … and no, they weren’t trampled at Target. Rather than find more information readily available about this sad occurrence in the news, I was subjected to a pretty-boy anchorman prancing around a mall promoting some sort of robotic vacuum cleaner and the 10th anniversary edition Tickle Me Elmo Redux.

If I wanted to watch failed actors with too much make-up dance around products I don’t want to buy, I’d watch the Home Shopping Network. Well, at least I know where everyone’s priorities are.

2. Why are some people under the impression that “Christmas as we know it” is under siege?

I might as well get this one out of the way before Fox News starts beating this dead horse again. Godless secularists and California liberals are not going to take away Christmas. They like receiving material goods and time off, just like anyone else. And even if they wanted to end Christmas, what would they get rid of?

If it is the constant commercials, the shopping hype and the guilt-trip ad campaign encouraging me to spend my way into Chapter 11 bankruptcy to buy gifts for people I don’t like, then they are welcome to it.

Simply put, the spirit of Christmas, if there ever was one, is long dead.

Do you know anyone who really takes time to be thankful for all they have and extend charity to others? I’m not even sure if that’s what Christmas was originally for. To be honest with you, it’s hard to remember what it was supposed to be about.

3. Why would you hit a man (or woman) in the face for a PlayStation or a Tickle Me Elmo? Is a toy that your kid won’t play with after two months really worth assaulting another human being for?

All you get is the privilege of paying the marked-up price for something that will cost 75 percent less by February. Being a reasonable man, I reserve physical violence for important things, like the guy at the other end of the bar who was looking at me funny or the large, intoxicated woman who wanted to dance with me.

I’m sure incessant Christmas music has something to do with holiday violence, since the crazy man and drunken woman who so unceremoniously cracked my ribs and bloodied my nose the other night were both listening to a bad cover of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”

Which brings me to my last question …

4. Is nonstop Christmas music really necessary?

My love affair with Christmas music ended in my middle school band days when I was rehearsing the counter-melody for “Jingle Bells” in October … over and over and over again. This music does not make me and others with my mindset feel festive.

I once watched a bartender with whom I used to work nearly disembowel the Muzak machine that was piping in the bluegrass covers of our least favorite Christmas carols while we were closing up the country club one night. This music brings out the worst in people! Playing it 24 hours a day from the middle of November until Dec. 25 is cruel, unusual and entirely unnecessary.

Like I always tell myself, if I close my eyes and work hard enough, “Christmas season” will be gone soon enough. Then winter will be pleasant, cold and gray again … until Valentine’s Day decides to rear its ugly head.