What Jesus Christ, Bill Murray & 9/11 Have in Common
Christmas is a fraud. Let me be clear about my feelings concerning this cash-grab of a holiday right now. From my understanding of the olden days, the Christian church needed to offset Pagan rituals that occurred at this time of year and came up with a date that featured a lovely, squeaky-clean hero baby that didn’t drink, smoke or spit on public sidewalks.
Over the years, national and local retailers have been screaming like banshees about the need to buy early and often, and Black Friday – a day which used to be a sad commemoration of the total collapse of the American stock market and the ruined businessmen who took swan dives out of skyscraper windows – is now a day held in holy reverence as a holiday tradition, to the point where underpaid employees are forced at gunpoint by their employers to leave their homes on Thanksgiving so that thousands of shoppers in too-tight stretch pants can trample other humans in their quest to buy shitty door-buster specials. The same shoddy merchandise that will overflow this country’s landfills in less than a year.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe that Jesus was a decent carpenter and a hell of a nice guy who basically told the phony Pharisees to get lost while he sought out the companionship of the cast-offs of society. I could do a lot worse than to follow his teachings. As John said (not the apostle, the Beatle): “All you need is love.” But I’d like to know what the idea of the Virgin Mary giving birth in a stable – “Hey dad, swear to God, I never even thought about having sex. Some angel visited me and well, I seem to be preggers.” – has to do with television ads for diamonds and sports cars with red bows attached to them in perfect upper middle-class driveways on December 25, along with thousands of dollars worth of presents under expensive holiday trees. And don’t even get me started about the idea of some fat guy in a red suit hanging out with red-nosed reindeers and wee folk, driving a big red sleigh like a maniac around the world and breaking into houses.
But at my advanced age, just today as a matter of fact, I’ve found my happy thought that will keep the season alive for me.
Remember the nightmarish days immediately following the tragedy of 9/11/01, when we were all together, on the same page? Someone drove past with an American flag attached to their car. Hell we all had flags hanging from our houses. We nodded to total strangers. We were all in this shitty thing together. Despite the horror of the attacks, we forgot our differences and became closer. People in Kansas were sporting “I Love New York” bumper stickers on their car. Let me know what other time in this country’s history that you’d see something like that.
I realize now that we’re getting the same chance each year. The holidays are the opportunity, without all the tragedy of a terrorist attack. It’s OK to nod pleasantly at folks and let someone ahead of you in a busy store line. With folks in a giving mood, food pantries fill up their shelves and fundraisers for the needy do pretty well, too. In the words of Bill Murray in one of my fave movies, Scrooged, you can make someone a sandwich and say, “Here. I made this for you.” As I walked my dog today, I saw that somebody has a cardboard pallet as a makeshift bed on a bridge underpass. We’re not doing great here in Buntworld, but I bet I can find a couple of blankets to bring there.
So I’ll trim my Charlie Brown tree that I’ve appropriated from the middle of the woods, ’cause it was free, put up those cheap velvet ribbons in the windows, and turn on dopey Christmas movies that make me cry, which will make my daughters point at me and laugh. That’s OK. They’ll be here at Buntington Manor for the holidays. That’s good enough reason for me to keep Christmas each year.
when i first read this it put tears in my eyes! ok, the whiskey may have had something to do with it. the people demand more rod bunt writing!
“For a couple hours out of the whole year, we are the people we always hoped we would be.” Oh, dammit to hell, I’m starting a boo-hoo fest again.. Nothing uglier than an old fat guy with a puffy, tear-stained face!
….and I’m not kidding about the blankets. People like Mark Rondeau, the First Congo free meal and other programs can only do so much. This is a dinky little city of 14 thousand or less, and there are people sleeping outside in this weather.
Remeber when I thought Scrooged would be a great movie to show my 7th graders? Woops! HAHAHAHA See I can still laugh!
i wish i had been in your class!
Hi Jordan! I think your sister may have been in my class that fateful year. Some teachers just can’t take a joke. 🙂 Ok.. it was inappropriate but the boys loved it.
OK..let.s start from the beginning…the Christians didn’t invent a squeaky clean Jesus or his birth to counter pagan holidays. Christians do however celebrate it on a day that is not his proper DOB. It was put on Saturnalia. This was done to try to garner more paritioners.
Black Friday was named so becauae thats when businesses go into the black. I for one think a successful business and not a failing business is a good thing…as far as being named after the collapse of Wall St. circa 1929…that was Black Monday.
Businesses holding employees at
gunpoint?..ok.really??.underpaid?? Are you suggesting
that these stockboys and cashiers have
qualifications that warrant a huge raise in
salary?? The Oxford schooled cart guy isn’t
getting paid enough?? As far as the Virgin
Mary goes..forgive we Christians our unenlightened foibles.We aren.t lucky enough to have the secularists’ vast wisdom and
insight.We do indeed believe in divine
miracles…Fools that we are. As far as gifts
given on Christmas..whether they be a Lexus
or a pair of socks stem from 2 places..God
gace us his only son and the Wise men gave
Jesus gifts…Santa evolved from St.
Nick..another gift giver…Your closing did come
around.Yes..Frank Cross’ oration describes
well the warmth and magic one can derive
from helping and giving to others.Needy or
otherwise. Giving !!!!
bill just served you, dad! you gotta just sit there and take it??
It was his little brother, Tim. He’s had a rough year. He’s a republican. AND a Mets fan.
blah blah blah blah. as long as you keep reading, son.
Excuuuuse me but “the Oxford schooled cart guy isn’t
getting paid enough?” . you bet your ass that PLENTY of educated people are now working at exactly such jobs. And if you dare tell me it is Mr. Obama’s fault I will be at your house puncturing your blow up Frosty the Snowman that I know is there. Your comment simply missed the point. Poor people should feel pressured to work on a holiday? Naturally, they feel pressured because they need the freaking money. Go watch A Christmas Carol…again!
don’t argue with Tim, Rochelle. He’s a sweet man, but he just wants to show me how much more than me that he knows.
Fools that we are.. your words..Oh and the wise men thing was recently adjusted . Damn, I hate religion. Never was one for fairy tales.
I got all verklempt reading this .. damn PMS
more importantly, where in the Frack is Scrooged!!!!! I need a Christmas Boo-Hoo fest for tonight!
I think that what he is saying here is that a non-drinking, non smoking hero baby who’s birthdate was not the reason for the season, rather the end of winter solstace and bringing life back in the spring in true pagan ritual. And for that we shouldnt trample over people the day after we thank the non smoking, non drinking hero baby for everything we have to go buy more and more shit. which is actually why they named iy black friday for the voracity in which greedy shoppers black out in excitement of their lords upcoming non-birthday and trample under and over paid employees who MIND YOU if are an employee are required to work. Oxford schooled cart boys included. I like this though, someone else who shares my confusion of American traditions.
thanks for the comment!!!
Right, what Angelica said. She doesn’t have the anger issues I have, apparently. Nevertheless, peace and love to all.
That was beautiful. Sorry I didn’t read it sooner. The idea that someone can be encouraged to ask for a Lexus or diamonds as a gift, when people are sleeping on the streets or choosing between eating or paying bills, is obscene. Blankets for the homeless is the true spirit of giving. Black Friday is epitomized by the Walmart riots over cheap goods produced by Chinese prisoners.
Before hectoring over history, economics, and the reason the Christians invented a squeaky clean Jesus, one should learn how to spell parishioners. Just a thought.