Well, 'tis the season to be merry, or jolly, or homicidal, if you happen to be me, in a mall, looking for a Christmas present for my wife. In an easy to misconstrue attempt to be imaginative, I end up stumbling around Victoria's Secret. Like every other male in the store, I'm pretending not to notice the huge photographs on the wall. Everything here looks really uncomfortable, especially me.
"Can I help you sir?"
"Er, yeah, can you try this on for me?"
That would never work, unless I happened to be in the men's department at Neimans, and that's another thing. Don't you hate it when a shop assistant hovers around you like a blowfly? My favorite comedian, Billy Connolly, has a great line for that one.
"Are you certain I can't be of some assistance sir?"
"Okay then pal, you take a look around, and I'll wait here."
I would find this whole experience considerably less painful, if it didn't last so long. I must have missed the meeting when we decided that Christmas would start the day before I got rid of my Thanksgiving indigestion. The people in my neighborhood are taking the whole decoration thing way too seriously, too. The minute it gets dark around here, it gets even brighter. In parts of Dallas, there seems to be a contest going on, to see who can keep Ross Perot awake the longest. There are millions of tiny lights, giant plastic reindeer and horrifyingly kitsch nativity scenes that actually move. We have a couple of them that involve sheep! What the hell is that about? If it had happened like this, the donkey would have kicked down the stable door, and trampled the three wise men to death on the way out.
I don't know, but I suppose at this time of the year, most people have a tendency to be a little more generous, and there can't be much harm done, if we start feeling that way a little earlier. There are more hand-scrawled cardboard signs at the stop lights, too. Every year, I have a little Feherty tradition for some of these folks. I keep a case of Jack Daniels in the car, and a few $20 bills. There is one old guy in particular, whom I look for every year. He always has a sign that reads, "No home, no family. Need money for booze."
I don't feel like such a sucker when I'm giving to this guy, and I'm guessing I'm not the only one. It's nice to be reminded occasionally, how lucky we are, and that some folks are easier to buy for than others.
However, I'm starting to get a little worried about Valentine's Day.