NEWS-LEDGER — JAN 29, 2014 —
With another lengthy holiday season finally behind us, I am reminded of a friend who doesn’t think too highly of the Christmas holidays and is always thrilled when they are completely over. And she gets especially upset by the fact that they seem to start earlier each year.
“It wasn’t even Halloween yet,” she told me the other day, “and all the same useless garbage they sell every year during the holidays was already popping up in all the stores, not to mention all the items that were marked `sale’ when in reality they weren’t truly on sale at all. The whole holiday season has become much too commercialized and I simply refuse to participate in Christmas anymore.”
“What do you mean?” I asked with interest.
“Well,” she explained, “a few years back I just decided that enough was enough. I was sick of slaving away making Christmas cookies and spending countless hours in crowded shopping malls picking out gifts that just got returned anyway. Plus it was really starting to cause problems for me and my husband.”
“Christmas?” I asked, wondering how my favorite holiday could possibly be detrimental to a marriage.
“You see,” she continued, “most men just don’t realize how much time and effort goes into making the Christmas season the merry old time it’s supposed to be. They don’t have to do all the shopping, the cooking, the stupid Christmas cards, the thank you notes, nothing. In fact, once the football season is underway, I can’t get my husband to do much of anything. You’re not like that, are you?”
“Of course not,” I lied.
“For instance,” she said, “just before Halloween, I took the grandkids over to the local pumpkin patch and I had to chase after them all by myself because my husband’s favorite football team was losing by 150 points and he still couldn’t get off the couch because he was sure they were going to make a miraculous comeback. Anyway, we always seem to have lots of fights during the holiday season and when we started throwing Christmas ornaments at each other a few years ago, I knew I had to do something.”
“So what did you do?” I asked with interest.
“Well,” she said matter-of-factly, “now that the kids are all grown and on their own, my husband and I simply don’t do Christmas anymore.”
“Nope. No more lighted reindeer in the yard, no outrageously expensive Christmas tree to take up half the living room, and best of all, no having over a bunch of relatives and cooking a big dinner for people I can’t stand for more than a few hours at a time. We don’t even exchange gifts.”
“Really?” I asked in awe. “You completely ignore Christmas?”
“That’s right, except for going to church, of course. You ought to try it. It’s heaven.”
“But I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone totally ignoring Christmas.”
“Believe me, more people are doing it every year. We even leave town. In fact, next Christmas we are going on a cruise. Have you ever been on one?”
“No, I haven’t,” I admitted.
“Well,” she said with excitement in her eyes, “you just float around on a huge boat with all the comforts of home and then every now and then it pulls into a port and you get to spend the whole day going in and out of all these cute little shops. It must be wonderful!”
“Well,” I said, knowing that my friend is extremely weight-conscious , “I don’t think you want to be taking one of those Alaskan cruises.”
“Why do you say that?” she asked with interest. “It’s actually right up there on top of our list.”
“Well, a friend of mine went on one and said that they served her five meals a day, including lots of fancy desserts, and that she gained ten pounds and came home fat as a cow.”
“Ten pounds?” said my friend with horror. “You can’t be serious?”
Quickly realizing I had said the wrong thing, I decided to try and change the subject, but for some reason, the following words came tumbling uncontrollably out of my mouth:
“You know, I just read somewhere that there’s this new scientific study which shows that women – particularly those of European descent like you – are actually designed not only to store fat, but to resist losing it. In fact, it turns out that women have an enhanced ability to accumulate fat and are supposed to maintain at least a two-to-one fat-ratio to men. You see, these scientists were dissecting these female gorillas, and underneath all that furry skin, particularly around the thighs, they found this really impressive layer of fat. So they asked themselves why that should be and they came up with this new theory – that women just aren’t supposed to have thin thighs, narrow hips and flat stomachs. Apparently women were given a body shape by evolution designed to store fat for lactation and hard times. Now, unlike rabbits, who average only four percent body fat because a slow rabbit is a dead rabbit, women are…..
“Stop it!” she suddenly shouted.
“But all I’m saying is that it’s just not fair for society to hold women to a low-fat standard of beauty and that you ought to be able to eat anything you want on your holiday cruises.”
Although she didn’t say so, I got the distinct impression that had a Christmas ornament been available, she would have thrown it at me.
Copyright News-Ledger 2014