June 20, 2013
Written by Joe Pisani
Tuesday, 07 December 2010 23:00
Christmas is coming. I can tell by the spam cluttering my inbox with special holiday offers for Viagra and great deals that let you buy one suit and get two free, along with three shirts, four ties and an oil change. Christmas is coming. I can tell because my daughters are starting to pay attention to me.
“Dad, are you growing hair again? It looks great!”
“Dad, I loved your column. You’re such a deep thinker!”
“Dad, thanks for my college education, my car insurance and all the terrific advice you gave me over the years. ... Can I borrow $50?”
Around our house at this time of year, there’s no more naughty and so much nice that I get nauseous.
I’ve seen this kind of behavior before. When my secretary started to get to work on time, I figured the talk I had with her about tardiness paid off, and I was really proud of my management skills until she sent me an e-mail that said, “Don’t forget I’m due for a raise!!!”
Yes, Christmas is coming. Everyone wants something big and costly from Santa, and they’ll say and do anything to get it. My wife is kinder and gentler.
Even the puppy stopped misbehaving, which means to say she hasn’t missed the wee wee pad in weeks, except for the time she defiantly pooped on the carpet to send me a threat from the doggie Mafia: “You can expect more of this if I don’t get what I want from Santa. .” It was canine extortion.
Christmas is a time for giving gifts no one wants, like ugly ties and ghastly perfume that makes everyone’s nose hairs writhe in pain. For 29 Christmases, my mother gave me underwear that were too tight, and I’d say, “Mom, I’m a middle-aged man. I haven’t had a 30-inch waist since I was 18.”
“Oh, no big deal,” she’d chortle. “They’ll stretch.”
They never stretched enough, and once while I was at midnight Mass, they cut off my circulation, and I thought the ushers were going to have to wheel me out on a stretcher during the collection so they could rescue me with the Jaws of Life.
This year, many people won’t be getting gifts because they’re out of work. Wouldn’t it great if all of us who have jobs got one less gift and gave one to a friend who has no job?
At our church, there’s a Christmas tree with tags you can take to buy a present for someone needy. After I read a few requests, I realized how desperate some families are for simple things like winter coats for their kids and gift certificates to the grocery store.
During the Depression, people instinctively helped one another, but now that we have social service agencies and charitable organizations, we figure someone else will carry the load. That someone else is you and I. It certainly would make Santa happy, and as a reward, you just might get something special under the tree, like a pair of tight underwear.
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