Friday, December 20, 2013

COLUMN: Thanksmasoween

Some column topics are so played out that I try my best to avoid them. Airplane food will always stink, bad drivers will always exist, pop stars will always be vacuous morons, and the Cubs will always lose until the one day when they eventually will win. Topics like these are no-brainers, and that's why I tend to shy away from them as a rule.

I'm about to break that rule.

we need to talk about something that all of us are already talking about. Something that I've heard people from all walks of life complaining about for the past two weeks, and something that further complaints won't affect in the slightest. I don't care. I've had it up to here, my whine-o-meter is in overdrive, and lucky for me I'm blessed with a little slice of mass media to do said whining.

IT IS NOVEMBER. Specifically, it is Monday, November 18th. The holiday of Thanksgiving is a week and a half away. But I could sure swear that it's closer to Christmas than Thanksgiving. In fact, I'm pretty sure somewhere along the way, we greenlit (and redlit... and then tinseled) Christmas into a three-month long holiday. And this madness needs to stop.

Autumn is worthless these days. It's clear that our society is just itching to eliminate it as a season altogether. From a climate perspective, it barely exists. It seems like we go from 70-degree days to snow practically overnight, so what's the point? It's long since lost its usefulness, it's clear that it serves no commercial benefit, and the way we treat autumn, we may as well just file it alongside the former planet Pluto in the folder marked "Stuff We Used To Care About."

Don't worry, we still have four seasons to fall back on: the winter season, the spring season, the summer season, and the holiday season. The minute we cruise out of August heat, big business is already booming for the double threat of Halloween and Christmas -- and hey, if we can sell some turkeys in the middle of those two, all the better. Thinking of it as three separate holidays is so yesteryear. No, thanks to the power of capitalism and greed, we now get to revel in a three-month-long orgy of consumerism I like to call Thanksmasoween.

Every year, we pull the trigger and jump the gun on Christmas earlier and earlier and earlier until one day we're going to wake up in a world where no-one's home on Christmas because we'll all be lining up outside of stores for pre-pre-pre-pre-Black Friday sales. I'm pretty sure we need actual legislation to ban the "C" word until December 1st at the very earliest. Each year brings ugly infractions in the world of egregious yuletide jumpstarting, but there have been some especially bad offenders in 2013.

Don't worry, though - I have a plan.

OFFENDER #1: MIX 96. I love the fact that we have a local radio station that switches to a format of all-Christmas songs. It's fantastic to have that kind of a playlist at your disposal... at Christmas. But to hear "Winter Wonderland" in early November when I'm still deeply in cold weather denial is 100% unacceptable.

MY PLAN: Remember those vacuous pop stars I mentioned earlier? We force all of them to quickly write and record a surplus of songs about Thanksgiving. "Ohh the weather outside is mild, but the rice pilaf is wiiiild, and since we've got lots of meat, let us eat, let us eat, let us eat!" It could work. Someone call Ke$ha.

OFFENDER #2: CIRCA 21. Our beloved dinner theatre's current stage production of "A Christmas Story" is winning rave reviews, but it shouldn't be winning them while I've barely cracked my bottle of Caramel Pumpkin Latte hand soap from Bath & Body Works. (Had I bought such a thing. Which of course I never would have, since I'm so manly and macho and such.)

MY PLAN: A couple quick tweaks to the script and presto: "A Thanksgiving Story." All little Ralphie wants for Thanksgiving is a jar of Red Ryder cranberry sauce. Hilarity ensues when his friend somehow gets his tongue stuck up a turkey. I'm a genius.

OFFENDER #3: THE HALLMARK CHANNEL, which has already started running 24/7 low budget made-for-TV Christmas movies. There are literally hundreds of these flicks, and they all seem to involve down-on-their-luck-yet-improbably-attractive leading ladies who find the true meaning of Christmas at the hands of some Fabio-looking dude who they hate for the first half of the movie before realizing they're in love in the last 20 minutes.

MY PLAN: "CANCEL THE WHOLE NETWORK!" Yep, that's exactly what I'd say if these movies weren't my biggest secret guilty pleasure of all time. Truth be told, I'd watch this insipid trash year-round -- but in a column where I've already owned up to Caramel Pumpkin Latte hand soap, I'd better just mumble something, call it a "chick channel," and make a quick sports reference. Go Bears!

OFFENDER #4: GOD. Or Mother Nature. Or the weather-producing deity of your choice. Whoever's responsible, it might've done my holiday jumpstarting argument some good had you not already treated us to TWO snowstorms prior to Thanksgiving. Sure, it was kind of funny -- but I'm pretty sure you gave one of our cherished local meteorologists a full-on snowgasm before the poor guy even had a chance to dry-clean his holiday ties. Accurate or no, Youtube videos telling us there's a foot of snow on the way should be banned until January at the very least.

MY PLAN: Pray. Or winter in Florida. But the only thing more off-kilter than October snow is December palm trees, so I'm staying put. Just try to go easy on us, please. The first day of winter isn't until 4 days before Christmas -- can we hold off the really nasty weather at least 'til then?

In the end, the whole thing is out of our hands. Everyone I know is just as appalled as I am by the annual holiday jumpstart, so I don't think the general public's to blame here. This one's all at the hands of big business, who want our holiday dollars earlier and earlier. It might be a free country, but it's an awfully expensive one this time of year. If you want to fall into their trap of Black Friday sales pitches hidden under premature yuletide glee, feel free. I'll be at home drawing hand turkeys and dreaming of pumpkin pie. Autumn's not quite played out in my world yet.

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