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  Nostalgia ain't what it used to be

Thursday, 18 October, 2018
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Giftmas

Date: 15 December, 2006

By: Chief

Imagence again it takes longer to get to town. It is harder to find a place to park. There is traffic everywhere. People are shopping and buying all kinds of stuff, thereby placing themselves further in debt. Credit card companies are overjoyed and dependent upon how well the retail market is doing this time of year the God of Wall Street may just smile. Most importantly however is that on one single day of the year, Christmas, some people, depending upon where you live, may just be somewhat polite, civil or possibly even courteous. Though if you live in a city don't hold your breath.

It truly is 'the season'.

We should quit calling Christmas — Christmas and start calling it what it has become — Giftmas. People buy stuff for their purported loved ones, family members or friends for the most part solely based on the premise that if they don't spend money like there is no tomorrow on gifts everyone they know will think they are Scrooge reincarnate.

When I was a young lad the Giftmas season started somewhere around the first week of December. Now it starts sometime in October. More time to spend the money you ain't got. Plenty of time to drain your savings account (if you even have one after last Giftmas) max out your existing credit cards and, you hope, get some new ones before the biggest shopping day of the year hits — the day after Thanksgiving.

Little Johnny just has got to have the newest and most expensive video game and it has not even been released yet. So you pre-order the bloody thing and when it arrives you find out, much to your chagrin, that Little Johnny's video game player which is less than a year old (you got it for him last Giftmas, remember?) is to old to play the new game. So you shell out a few hundred more bucks (don't worry about the debt — it's Giftmas after all) and purchase the latest and purported greatest video game player for Little Johnny. Now the little brat has two video game players. It just proves your love for him.

Oh no, I almost forgot the Mrs. Good God, I can't do that. Heavens no. So out you go and spend all kinds of money you don't have to get that perfect gift for your wife. It will prove your undying love for her (hope she doesn't find out about the secretary you've been banging for the last six months) and, who knows, you might even get lucky one night.

Meanwhile the Mrs. goes out and purchases so much stuff for Little Johnny that she could become the majority stockholder at Sears or Walmart. And then she remembers that she has not got you a present. So off to the local hardware store she goes in the SUV that y'all are three payments behind on already (not to worry — it's Giftmas) and buys you that new ultra expensive table saw you have been drooling for. Doing that will prove her undying love for you (hope he doesn't find out about the milkman you've been screwing for the last six months) and no, he is not even going to get lucky one night.

Ah, isn't it just wonderful? A typical American dysfunctional family celebrating Giftmas together.

Hogwash. That isn't love or caring or compassion. And it sure is not giving because someone needs a helping hand. It is bribery. No more, no less.

The whole Christmas season has become a fraud. People have no clue and really do not care about what the true meaning of Christmas is or was. It has become 'Tis the season of bragging rights'. And that really wrong. However, like Denny's, Giftmas has become an American institution. Ho, ho, ho. Gag.

Here is a novel idea to try on for size — instead of celebrating Giftmas once a year why not make it an all year affair instead? Now by that I do not mean bribing that brat y'all call Little Johnny with a new video game everyday or your wife or husband a new something every so often. No indeed. What I am talking about is practicing:

I am sure there are other similar things as well.

Think about it. When was the last time you said "thank you" to the grocery checker or bag boy at your local food store? How about this, when was the last time you shut off that infernal cell phone of yours when you went someplace in public? Or when was the last time you offered to assist a little old lady or old man get into or out of their car or wheelchair? How about volunteering to spend sometime at a hospice, a hospital, a VA hospital or your local library?

In other words, money does not buy happiness. Money can't rent happiness either (except at your local red light district and then for not very long). Money cannot purchase the really important things. The intangibles.

Yet it is the intangibles which separate the wheat from the chaff. People, their attitude and their conduct are what makes the difference. Not the cash they may flash. It is not so much how a person treats their — equal. It is how a person treats their alleged inferior. Thus if all of us treated each other as equals we still might not have world peace but we sure would be closer than we are today.

You see it is not the color of a persons skin, their language, religion, wealth, lack of wealth or what-have-you. It is people's attitude and conduct. I have yet to meet a person that did not appreciate being treated courteously. People also tend to respond in kind.

People like being treated as a human being. An equal.

But because of the Giftmas institution we have forsaken what sets us apart from the survival of the fittest syndrome — humanity.

Humanity is quite possibly the most important intangible there is. It conveniently wraps up most, if not all, of the other intangibles into one tidy package. And it is quite inexpensive. Oh yes, it does take time, but it costs nothing.

So this coming year instead of racking up additional debt and buying everything your local Walmart has in stock in order to hopefully secure your bragging rights, give the gift that keeps on giving all year long — humanity.

Humanity — never leave home without it.

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