Me, I stay right the hell away from stores on Black Friday. I hate shopping in any case, and the rabid crowds only make it worse. Plus, today marks the first day of the Little Drummer Boy Challenge, a yearly contest in which participants see how long they can make it into the Christmas season without hearing "The Little Drummer Boy," which ranks right up there with "Frosty the Snowman" as the most annoying Christmas carol ever written. I've participated in this contest for three years, and haven't made it to Christmas Day undefeated yet. Last year, I was taken out of the competition by a clerk in a hardware store who didn't even know all of the freakin' words, and kept having to la-la bits of it:
Come they LA LA pah-rum-puh-pum-pumAnd so on and so forth. He was singing it with hearty good cheer, so I felt kind of guilty when I realized that he'd knocked me out of the game and blurted out, "Are you fucking kidding me?" a little louder than I intended, eliciting a shocked look from the clerk and a significant diminishment in the general Christmas spirit amongst those around me.
A newborn LA LA LA pah-rum-puh-pum-pum
Our LA LA gifts we bring pah-rum-puh-pum-pum
LA LA before the king pah-rum-puh-pum-pum, rum-puh-pum-pum, rum-puh-pum-pum
Thomas Couture, The Drummer Boy (1857) [image courtesy of the Wikimedia Commons]
Oops! Shouldn't say "holiday," because that's part of the War on Christmas, too, even though the word "holiday" comes from "holy day" and therefore is also religious. Some people feel really strongly about this even so, including Harris County (Georgia) Sheriff Mike Jolley, who is so determined to bash everyone over the head with Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Men that he posted a sign at the border of Harris County that says:
Welcome to Harris County, Georgia! WARNING: Harris County is politically incorrect. We say: Merry Christmas, God Bless America and In God We Trust; we salute our troops and our flag. If this offends you…LEAVE!Because nothing communicates god's love like telling everyone who is different than you are to bugger off.
What is wryly amusing about all of this, at least in my local community, is that I'm known to be one of the more outspoken atheists in the area, and in December I tell people "Merry Christmas" at least as often as I say "Happy Holidays." Basically, if someone says "Merry Christmas" to me, I say it back to them; if they say, "Happy Holidays," I say that. Likewise "Happy Hanukkah," "Blessed Solstice," "Merry Festivus," or "Have A Nice Day."
You know why? If people speak kindly to me, I reciprocate, because I may be an atheist, but I am not an asshole. So I guess that's three ways in which I am different from Sheriff Mike Jolley of Harris County, Georgia.
Basically, be nice to me, I'll be nice to you. Unless you're singing "The Little Drummer Boy." I'm sorry, but my tolerance does have its limits.
In any case, mostly what I plan to do today is to sit around home, recovering from the food-and-wine-induced coma in which I spent most of yesterday evening. So however you choose to observe the day and the season, I hope you enjoy it, whether you get into the spirit of it or pretty much ignore the whole thing.