Friday, December 22, 2006

The Bitch Of The Magi, or It's A Whinerful Life

Here's an old tragic tale from Gregg Easterbrook, who was forced at gunpoint to celebrate Christmas in an ostentatious and over-indulgent manner.

It's Christmas, festive season of goodwill, time of sparkling delight for the little ones, and... argggghhhhhhh, how many hundred chores left? For parents of young kids, the run-up to Christmas is the most exhausting period of the year. A dozen large boxes of decorations and lights to string. Two trees in our household, plus miniatures for each kid's room. The Tyranny of the Presents: dozens of relatives are present-qualified in our extended family group, and each of the five of us gives an average of 2.5 gifts to each, meaning uncountable gifts to buy or make. Plus toy drives and Secret Santa events, parties to attend, parties to give, stockings to stuff, the wrapping of those uncountable gifts, rehearsals for the pageant (our offspring are two camels and a shepherd this year), all the while regular homework and housework and income work continue. By Christmas morning, my wife Nan and I are in a state of pure fatigue. Then the event goes by in a blur and it's time to start cleaning up. As a child, my favorite moment each year was Christmas Eve, when bells were ringing and everything was in prospect. As a parent, my favorite moment each year comes around the morning of December 29, when I've finally caught up on sleep.

....Doctor: "Then stop doing that."

Now if you're not registered with The New Republic (and why would you be?) you might think the whole article is about Easterbrook the status-driven, self-pitying yuppie. Or that he ends by blaming his ordeal on avaricious Jewish movie executives.

But Easterbrook isn't quite that dense. He goes on to assert that you should send a dollar "to the needy or to charity" for every dollar you spend on family and friends. Strangely, Easterbrook never actually says whether he follows that standard himself.

And then he goes on to gripe about how Amazon overcharged him for shipping on a toy order exceeding 99 bucks, and how Amazon is hostile to workers -- which doesn't stop him from using Amazon.

My suggestion: Take that $29.95 the New Republic keeps asking for, and buy a DVD of An Inconvenient Truth instead. You could even send it to Easterbrook.

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