Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Getting into the spirit

So it's Black Friday, in which we Americans follow up a day set aside to give thanks for everything we have, with a day set aside to trample each other to death trying to save money on overhyped garbage we really don't need.

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-pum
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
And 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.

Thomas Couture, The Drummer Boy (1857) [image courtesy of the Wikimedia Commons]

And of course, the Christmas season wouldn't be complete without the hyperreligious types ramping up the whole imaginary War on Christmas thing.  We atheists have allegedly been waging this war for what, now... six years?  Seven?  And yet if you'll look around you, just like the Grinch's attempt at banishing Christmas from Whoville, the holiday season still goes right on, pretty much exactly as it did before.

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.


1 comment:

  1. *sings*
    If science differs from the bible it's actually a ruse designed to test your faith which makes God a disingenuous trickster, pah-rum-puh-pum-pum
    In the Bible Satan is evil but only kills a handful of people meanwhile God is holocausting the bejesus out of everything nonstop, pah-rum-puh-pum-pum
    Most Religion is just a convoluted criteria allowing one to revere non-tangential things and be offended when others don't as well, pah-rum-puh-pum-pum
    Very little of Christmas has anything to do with Christ-Mass and everybody knows it but nobody knows it, pah-rum-puh-pum-pum