Bewildered, I fumbled for a response and ended up saying something like, “happy....days.” I may have even given her a Fonzie thumbs up, I don’t recall precisely…it was quite harrowing, after all. Clearly this woman had not received the memo, or if she had, she had chosen so brazenly to ignore it. Suffice to say, this gray-haired, grandmotherly monster must be stopped.I don’t know exactly what year it was that the scourge of all things religious was finally removed from the month of December (and November…as previously discussed). I remember as a kid seeing T.V. station promos along the lines of “Merry C-word to all of your family from all of our family at WPIX”. Or, “Happy (other C-word…the Jewish one), from all the folks at Channel 5.” There was even a brief window where you might see a “Happy Kwanza (sorry if I am wrong in writing the word all the way through…I meant no harm) from all of us at WOR.”
Oh, the horror of it all. Such gratuitous disregard for the potential damage these words could cause. Thank Go-----…that is, thank goodness, that we, as a society, have come to our senses. (I do apologize for the near slip with the G-word…..and when I say “thank goodness”, please know that I do not venture to define goodness in any way, nor do I necessarily espouse goodness over so-called “badness” or anything in between. I am quite neutral on it. Really.) Fortunately, we’ve moved past all those once-upon-a-time relics of infernal religiosity, and have evolved as a society to the point where no one has to be subjected to such hateful words. But of course, there is more work to do.For starters, there should be some form of punishment for mavericks like that elderly woman at the store. Perhaps I could file a suit against her, and the store, while I’m at it (‘cause at minimum wage and social security, it’s not like she’s got much money to pay for damages). But besides that, don’t we realize all the other potential disasters waiting to happen? Newscasts callously cover “Black Friday.” Radio stations insist on playing “White Christmas.” Excuse me?
Santa Claus keeps getting all kinds of press in the last two months of the year. And exactly what holiday is he supposed to be connected to? And if you’re OK with that, you’re clearly an insensitive Neanderthal. (My apologies to all Neanderthals and descendants of Neanderthals. I meant nothing by it. I love Neanderthals….some of my best friends are Neanderthals!) And what of the fascists at Rockefeller Center? Sixty-five feet of bathed-in-light, trauma-inducing, Douglas fir smack dab in the middle of Manhattan. And an ice skating rink right beneath it? Really? Like we need to be reminded the polar ice caps are melting.Anyway, Rhode Island has now joined the flood of municipalities across the country callously putting up “Holiday Trees”…as if we don’t know what they’re doing. Oh, and what “holiday” might that be? Even the expression “Happy Holidays” reeks of insensitivity. Holidays, plural, implies what? New Years and take your pick…the C-word, the other C-word (the one Adam Sandler made a cool song about…unless that offends you, in which case it is an awful song), or perhaps the K-word (just playing it safe). And are you really comfortable with wishing someone a “Happy New Year?” As if the Gregorian calendar is the only calendar anyone could follow. And happy? Why must it be happy? What of those suffering from depression…as if they need to be reminded of it.
Yes, the world is still a cruel and dangerous place indeed. But this December 23rd…..or 1 Nivôse CCXX, if you choose to follow the French Revolutionary calendar, which is your right, of course…anyway, on that day, I will take my cash (focused only on the front of the bills lest I be subjected to the “In G-word We Trust” sprawled across the back), and I will walk back into that same store. I’m sure they will be playing Johnny Mathis blurting out “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” insulting the entire non-chestnut-eating population, as ever. And I will seek out that horrible woman all decked out in red and green with the little jingle bell broche her granddaughter made for her out of construction paper and popsicle sticks pinned right there for everyone to see. I will smile at her, all the while secretly filming our transaction (got to get me one of those 4G gadgets)…and when she inevitably blurts out the C-word again, visions of zeros on my settlement check will be dancing in my head.Happy Days, indeed. (Unless you were a Laverne and Shirley fan, in which case, my apologies. I meant no offense. Really.)