Archive for recession

December 25th – Santa

Posted in Advent Calendar Entry 2009 with tags , , , , on December 25, 2009 by K-Mo

Merry Christmas, Fuckers!

So the presents have been shredded, the food has been devoured and the family has gone apeshit insane — must be Christmas Day, huh?

To celebrate the end of one of the most miserable Christmas seasons ever (thank you, economy!) I’d like to spend today taking a shot at the biggest Christmas icon of all time — no, not Jesus Christ, I’m talking about the other guy with the facial hair, Santa Claus.

First of all, why are we keeping the whole Santa tradition going anymore? Who are these psychopaths who are filling their kids heads with flat-out lies only to turn around and take it all back once puberty hits? Sure you want little Susie-Face to fit in with her classmates and friends and participate in a long-lasting tradition, but at the cost of what? Teaching your kids to be deceptive?

Santa is the representation of a primarily Christian holiday (with Pagan roots, but shh everyone decided to ignore that awhile ago) and is really the first lesson kids get about faith. They’re asked to believe in a magical man who knows if they’ve been bad or good and will reward them once a year for having clean souls.  So when the kids are good (or even when they’re not) and there are toys under the tree come Christmas, they’ve learned to put their faith in something and are rewarded with a material object. It’s not hard to then move them up to the big leagues and make them be good for their whole lives and be rewarded in the afterlife by this Jesus fellow, who is a lot like Santa in many ways.

So okay, great, you taught your kids about faith, how nice for them. But then! Once they start to get too old for Santa Claus,  you pull the rug out from under them, that the whole thing was just a ruse based on years of tradition and that it was really mom and dad supplying the rewards. Okay, so how hard is it for a kid to jump to the conclusion that there’s no God either? That in the end, they’ll die and it’ll be mom and dad just yanking their chains all over again. Fool me once, shame on you and so on.

Santa is basically corporate Jesus. Since it’d be tacky and offensive to use Jesus to hock merchandise and to teach kids how to be good little consumers, it’s this similar-yet-different guy who sweeps in and does the job. At the end of the day, when you find out Santa isn’t real, it doesn’t mean the presents stop coming because it’s money, not Christmas magic, that is bringing them.

People love to joke that Santa is a communist because he wears red and gives presents to all the children of the world. That’d be funny if it were true because he doesn’t exactly give presents to everyone now, does he? Certainly anyone who doesn’t follow Christianity in any way shape or form isn’t getting a present, so that actually rules out entire countries.

And what he doles out ain’t exactly equal either. Kids from high-income families come to school after Christmas break with new iPods and Playstation 3’s while lower income kids get less flashy stuff, or sometimes nothing at all depending on the financial situation that the family is in.  So why is it that Santa seems to distribute presents unevenly to kids in different economic households?

Doesn’t it seem cruel to anyone else for a kid to have to come to school and find his classmate got all these lavish gifts from Santa Clause while he barely got anything? I mean, Santa is supposed to be this all-knowing magical genie or whatever, he’s supposed to make every little kid’s dreams come true, not just the rich ones.

Do we even need Santa (besides to sell Coke bottles) anymore ? Do kids even play with toys and do they really believe some elf out there is building him a goddamn iPhone for Christmas? You see all these specials and movies with elves making wooden trains and rag dolls and then you wake up to Christmas morning to pre-packaged consumer goods that are still a little sticky from where Santa apparently scratched off the price tag when he picked the gift up from Target on his way over.

Want to know how I found out there was no Santa? I was digging around for gum in my mom’s purse and found a receipt with all of the presents Santa had supposedly brought. Well okay, actually it was Easter and it ruined the Easter Bunny for me, but it only took me about 30 seconds to draw my own conclusions about Santa based on that event.  Maybe discovering that holidays were just thinly-veiled consumer events at an early age is what has made me so cynical towards Christmas all of these years.

Or maybe this time of year just really, truly does suck.

Either way, I blame Santa.

Well… that’s it folks! Another holiday in the can and only 365-or-so days of freedom until we get to do it all again.

Don’t Forget! I’ll be back on Monday to countdown to 2010 with my 5-Day I Hate New Years special! See ya then!

December 22nd – Christmas Cards

Posted in Advent Calendar Entry 2009 with tags , , , , on December 22, 2009 by K-Mo

I understand the concept of Christmas Cards quite clearly and I can see how they could have been a convenient way to keep in touch with people during the holidays– in 1953.

Anything involving an actual stamp and paper these days is an out-dated practice. Yet Christmas Cards continue to be this phenominon that, much like the rest of this holiday, people have yet to see as the antiquated process that they really are.

Christmas Cards come in two varieties. The first is just your standard greeting card fare, nothing more and nothing less. Just some generic seasonal sentiment or maybe a big “Happy Holidays” scribed in gold cursive across the front with a signature and equally generic greeting inside. “Hope your holidays are the best!” or “From our family to yours, Merry Christmas” or “No more holiday suicide attempts, Grandma, we’re having you put in a home!”

The other version is some sort of long-form epic poem detailing the life of you and your family for the last 365 days like someone actually gives a shit.

“Oh things are just peachy here. Bobby graduated from high school last June and is doing well as a Freshman at State. James was laid off and I think he’s been sleeping with another woman when he’s supposed to be filing for food stamps. The twins are no longer trying to have sex with each other, but they’re still wearing ladies underwear. The dog is still a dog!”

Who cares!? Get a fucking phone and use it every now and then so you don’t need to write “my average family life is average” a million different ways each year!

And again, do we need more wasting in the holiday season? All you’re really doing is creating more garbage when you send these cards because you can be damn sure nobody is treasuring them for years to come.  I’m betting if we cancelled all Christmas cards just once, the government would save billions on the gas and manpower it takes to deliver all of these worthless pieces of paper each year.  Then we could finally have health care reform!

Yes, that’s what I’m saying about Christmas Cards. All you greedy people sending cards out are just taking money away from sick and possibly dying babies.

How about you write that in your card this year?

Bonus Post: A Few of My Favorite Things!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on December 21, 2009 by K-Mo

Since I missed two days this month, I’ll be making them up tonight and tomorrow with bonus posts.

I’ve been doing some form of the Cynical Advent Calendar for quite a few years now (about the same amount of time I’ve been working in retail…) so I’ve gotten kind of a reputation as somewhat of a Grinch or a Scrooge or some other Christmassy villain. Nothing could be further from the truth! I don’t HATE Christmas, I just hate certain things about Christmas.

So, to be a good sport, I thought I’d make a list of the ten things I like most about the holiday season.

Christmas Crunch!

Fuck yes!

10. Christmas Crunch – I know, I know, it’s just normal Crunchberries with a Christmas theme, but goddamn if I don’t love this cereal to death! Nothing says Christmas to me than that malted corn taste and that sick greenish/pinkish milk that’s left over.

9. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – There’s a small list of Christmas movies I can stomach, but this one is just tops. It’s the kind of movie you wouldn’t mind watching in the middle of the summer (and admit it, you probably have!) It was a hard toss-up between this movie and A Christmas Story but ever since TBS started playing it for 24-hours straight on Christmas Day, it’s gotten kind of played out.

8. The Simpson’s Christmas Special- The episode that started the whole phenominon! It’s a little dated by today’s standards and the Simpson’s characters hadn’t exactly developed completely yet, but I still laugh every time Lisa pokes Bart and he goes “Ow! Quit it!” after getting a tattoo for Christmas and then having it removed with a laser.

7. A Muppet Family Christmas – Not to be confused with any of the other Mupper Christmas specials, this one was from the late 80’s/early 90’s when the Fraggles were in full swing and featured not only the classic Muppets but the Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock gang as well. As a little kid I was completely in heaven whenever this special aired on TV. Unfortunately it’s like impossible to find nowadays.

6. Christmas Cookies – Surprise! Fat kid loves cookies! I’m a glutton for sweets and Christmas is just the best time for these things! My mom always makes a ton of cookies but so does everyone else I know so I’m constantly at cookie maximus each December.

5. Stocking Stuffers – Despite being insanely too old to have a stocking, my mother still stuffs one for my brother and I each year. It’s mostly stuff we need like deodorant, a toothbrush, shower gel, etc  with a healthy dose of candy added in. Every year I tell her I don’t need a stocking anymore, but really I think I’d be lost without one. I always seem to run out of the essentials by this point and its nice to get some freebies.

4. Coca-Cola in Glass Bottles – This is what I imagine the three wise men must have drank on the way to see baby J. I’m a glutton for pop, but pop in a glass bottle is like the elixer of life.  They’re usually gone by the time I go to sleep on Christmas night, but it’s still a treasure to behold each year.

3. X-Entertianment’s Advent CalendarEvery year the only thing to keep me going during the holidays is this website’s annual advent countdown.  Something as simple as showing off the contents of the Playmobile and Lego advent calendars has spun into an annual epic episodic tale of hand energy, the many clones of Mare Winningham, giant coconut crabs and Christmas magic.  You must check it out!

2. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – The best holiday special of all time. Sure, I love the Peanuts, but this has it beat. I used to watch our taped-off-the-TV copy of this movie all the time, despite the season. The Bumble? Amazing. The Island of Misfit Toys? Amazing.  The whole thing is just amazing.

1. New Stuff – What can I say, I like getting new things! What’s the point of Christmas if you can’t restock your inventory a little bit? I know I’m looking forward to not wearing tattered clothing anymore.  Yeah consumerism is ruining the holiday, but that’s not going to stop me from accepting presents. Me love presents.

December 10th – Secret Santa

Posted in Advent Calendar Entry 2009 with tags , , , , on December 10, 2009 by K-Mo

Coming in off of yesterday’s economic rant, here’s another tradition that was made up to make sure you end up spending every scrap of money you have this holiday season. The whole idea behind a Secret Santa gift exchange is innocent enough, in fact it’s almost downright noble, but in practice it never works.

First of all, Secret Santa is usually carried on in places where people are only slightly familiar with one another, places like work and school. If you’re doing it with a group of actual friends or family, I’ve noticed it’s customary to call it “drawing names” and not “Secret Santa.” And that’s because society has recognized that there is a distinct difference between the two.  One is a custom of buying a gift for a randomly chosen person while recieving a gift from another randomly chosen person while the other is Secret Santa.

In Secret Santa you never get anything you want, need or really care for. Often times Secret Santa gifts are joke or gag items because the person giving them doesn’t know you well enough to be sincere. And Secret Santa gifts are always always always the most awkward things to both give and get. Everyone has on their best poker face, trying to stay cordial and genuine while unwrapping useless items.

It’s even worse to have to get a gift for someone. There is some ancient Christmas black magic that is cast over any set of Secret Santa names that guarantees you will always get the one person you’ve barely even spoken to. Then there’s always some sort of price cap and depending on how low it is, it can be downright impossible to find something of any value.

This is when you start resorting to the generic gift ideas like food, gift certificates, stocking stuffer doodads and gift sets of booze. I’m pretty sure Secret Santa was actually invented by the stores that hawk this shit so that they can move it out before they roll out the Valentine’s Day garbage.

Whenever there’s an option to decline a Secret Santa, I take it. It’s not that I don’t like giving gifts or recieving them, but I save that pleasure for the people I actually know and care about. When I give a gift I want it to be something the person actually likes, not something that ends up just being shoved in a closet and sold in a garage sale come spring.

December 9th – Christmas Debt

Posted in Advent Calendar Entry 2009 with tags , , , , , on December 9, 2009 by K-Mo

Today I had the lovely experience of discovering that my cell phone’s service has been shut off until I pay my late balance which I think makes today’s entry so much more pertinent.  You know who hates the holidays even more than me? My checking account.

If I see one more goddamn Christmas special where the main characters discover that the joy of the holidays comes from love and family and all sorts of intangible feel-goodies I’m going to vomit blood all over my television screen. That’s all nice for TV land but it doesn’t really translate well into real life. You can’t wrap up goodwill and peace and stick it under a Christmas tree.

Although part of me wants to just try that. I could give all of my loved ones wrapped boxes that are empty and when they open it I can go “that’s filled with my love.” All they’re gonna think is that I’m just a cheap ass who can’t afford real presents. And the truth is that’s exactly it!

I’ve got no money for Christmas presents this year thanks to this roarin’ recession and the fact that I’m still trying to pay off my debt from last year.  Every December it’s always the same thing, your money just goes every which way except for where it needs to be.  You can’t just not pay your bills but if you do, you don’t have any money for presents.

The whole tradition of exchanging gifts just really makes the season have an entire damper. You get one day out of the whole month where you get all this shit from people, but spend the rest of the time ignoring debt collectors and scrounging up change (which will then just end up in some Goodwill bucket anyway– but that’s a different rant.)

It’s shitty. This is supposed to be Jesus’s Pagan birthday celebration or whatever. It’s supposed to be some time for miracles. So why is it that I can’t tell the guys who shut my phone off that and get to make calls the rest of the month? Or why can’t I just pay my bill off and say “fuck Christmas” this year?

What’s the point of a holiday that’s traditions force you to buy and consume to the point of complete misery? And how can you even get off calling it a religious holiday when it’s such a blatant celebration of gluttony?