So I was almost arrested last Saturday for causing a whole heap o’ trouble. About 20 church friends and I flash-mobbed three places to sing Christmas carols, and nothing but joy was spread at the first two places. Ninety-percent of the audience ignored us but 10% joined in. You’ll always find a Scrooge somewhere, though, and when we arrived at the food court of the local outlet mall and began our six-minute routine, the grumpy food-court manager bah-humbugged his way to a telephone and called the fuzz.
Cops were already at the outlet mall to catch people stealing stuff so it didn’t take long for them to get there, all of one officer, and not a large one at that. The manager came out while we were in the middle of “Joy to the World”, went up to the nearest female in our group (of course, because women are allegedly easier to intimidate than males), and said, “We can’t allow this.” I wasn’t close enough to hear the entire exchange, but basically m’lady told Scrooge that we only had one song left and then we’d be gone. “This is against our policy,” he said. Or something. He turned to the cop to appeal for some law and order, because the Christians are making trouble, you know. But the cop shrugged. “What do you want me to do? Let ’em finish.” The manager went away in a huff. The cop wandered to a corner and watched us for the remainder of the routine, presumably to make sure we didn’t start knocking over tables or set the place on fire in the name of the Lord.
If I may be allowed a digression, let me say that I finally have respect for one of the carols we sang, “Little Drummer Boy,” whereas previously I hated that song the way some people hate spiders. But have you ever looked at the lyrics? It’s not a bad song once you realize how much rum is in it.
Christmas is a funny time of year, with a split personality. On one hand it’s a religious holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus, who, if you actually line up the ancient calendar with our own (or so I read once), was born closer to the middle of August. But nobody wants to be holy during bikini season so the calendar makers decided Christmas should be at the end of the year when it’s bitch-ass cold. It started as a pagan holiday, as everybody knows, but the Christians stole it from the pagans, the department stores stole it from the Christians, and now the atheists want to steal it from everybody.
On the other hand Christmas is a time when capitalism shines and reveals that we as a people really are just evolved monkeys with limited brain capacity. Stores turn on the big flashy signs and find ways to attract customers who buy all kinds of junk and sometimes kick, stab, and shoot their way through other customers to get to the junk. We fought a war to free ourselves from the British only to enslave ourselves to Best Buy. That’s ‘Murica!
I prefer the first hand rather than the other, but not everybody shares my beliefs, and my Jewish friends have their own thing going on, too, and I’m not going to interfere with that, so the dichotomy we must live with.
Christmas is a tough season for a lot of people, for a variety of reasons, and we need not review the causes of stress this year that stem from items in the news cycle. I can’t even address half of the personal issues people deal with that make one depressed, but I understand them.
And because of monkeys racing after junk and the things that make people depressed, it seems to me that we need as many people from the first hand to get involved as possible to try to show not only the other point of view but also display the kind of love and goodwill that Jesus told us we’re supposed to share. It can’t hurt. But there’s always a Scrooge. He’s like death and taxes, really. One must learn to deal with him in a way that, you know, doesn’t get you thrown in jail or cause you to die while choking on vomit or watching 2 Broke Girls. I think we dealt with our Scrooge in a peaceful way, but I don’t think he got the message. Like the police officer, he could have chosen not to make a fuss and let us sing. Maybe by the end of the season he’ll understand. If not, there’s always next year.