As I texted Calvin during the dinner I spent the other evening with work people, there’s nothing like Christmas to make you remember exactly how much you hate society.
I guess the Honors Program has spoiled me – while the last semester has been hectic, it’s been spent mostly at school, and I’ve consequently been spending most of my social time with Honors kids, who can, on the whole:
1) Carry on intelligent conversations
2) Make good grades
3) Make passably amusing jokes
4) Understand and relate to me when I talk about an old Nickelodeon show such as “Hey Dude!”; a movie such as “Indiana Jones”; a book such as “Anne of Green Gables”; or a hobby such as crochet.
As I say, I’ve gotten used to this, and while an idiotic or banal conversation will sometimes sneak in (“I don’t think gay people should be allowed to adopt,” or “What the hell is wrong with Britney Spears?”, for example), I’ve greatly enjoyed the quality level of the conversation, and had rather forgotten that people out in the real world are capable of less.
All you need know about my dinner companions is that the evening was tailored to the two fourteen-year-olds present.
I think these people need a Christmas Miracle or something, seriously. As much as I come down on all these crappy Christmas movies, at the end, the protagonists nearly always realize the true meaning of the holiday – after, that is, they see what the world would be like were they never born; watch their whole family die in a tragic accident; fall in love; or learn that Santa Claus is real after all.
I say these people need a Christmas Miracle because I cannot remember the last time I heard such materialistic, self-centered bullshit issue from the mouths of humans.
While fundamentalist christians and I have a well-recorded and checkered history, I can agree with them on one point: their “Jesus is the Reason for The Season” campaign may be utterly obnoxious (not to mention preposterous, considering that many scientists and theologists now peg the date of his birth at or around April 19, 6 B.C., and celebrations of the Winter Solstice were around looooong before then), but I have to applaud them for their attempt to shift the focus of Christmas away from pointless, soulless reception of gifts to which a lot of kids seem to have reduced it.
I’ve decided to jump on a modified Ebeneezer Scrooge Bandwagon, or perhaps a better title would be the Grinch Bandwagon. While Seuss posited that the Grinch just straight-up hated the”whole Christmas season,” I think perhaps the metaphor is deeper. Was the green fellow not merely scornful of a holiday manipulated by greed? Did he not free the Whos of their dependence upon the Gods of Retail by removing their false idols, and gently teach them that Christmas is really about standing in a circle and singing Kumbayah?
I may soon be adorning a dog in antlers and creeping tip-toed into living rooms in the regional area to steal presents.
Much of the conversation at dinner consisted of my boss – who was driving the conversational bus straight to crazytown – asking everyone what was “on their Christmas lists,” what they wanted and had asked for, etc.
One of the girls who had received a touch-screen iPod for her birthday not a month earlier expressed a desire for an iPhone. Oh, amusing story about her iPod, by the way. She snooped through her mother’s closet several months before her birthday and discovered it. Then she mentioned to her mother that she had done so, and her mother, rather than saying, “Hey, what the hell were you doing in my closet?”, said something along the lines of “Oh, well, ya caught me.”
Ha-ha! Isn’t that charming?
The other explained that her mother had been buying her gifts since August, and that when they walked through stores, all she had to do was comment upon something’s cuteness, and, I quote, the mom “remembers, and gets it for me!”
And in my day we walked eight miles to school in the snow, uphill both ways.
And then it came to me, the cheery, “So, what did you ask for?”
“Well, if I asked for everything I wanted and then got it,” I replied levelly, “it wouldn’t be a surprise, now would it?”
This garnered facial expressions I haven’t seen since I last watched “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” (more…)