Deck the halls, breakout the egg nog, and hang up the stockings! Christmas Season is upon us again. Oh, and Happy Holidays to those of a politically correct persuasion. BTW, whatever happened to Season’s Greetings? Hey, do you suppose we could get a nativity scene by you folks if we called it a three-sided homeless shelter? Get back to me on that, will you? |
Like most, I’m normally filled with joy and goodwill this time of year. Love the music. Love the decorations. Truth to tell, I’m not much of a shopper, and I don’t care a fig about receiving gifts. It’s the overall atmosphere—the Holiday cheer—I enjoy, which is a probable holdover from my happy childhood. I suspect many of us experience that end-of-year ethereal sentiment. Unfortunately, this year several incidents have tried to put a damper on happy, jolly me.
First, while listening to a station that features Holiday music, courtesy of an electronic gizmo named Amazon Echo, a metaphoric lump-of-coal intruded upon my serenity. A popular female vocalist took liberties with the musical chart and lyrics of a timeless Holiday tune. She did something the clownish judges on television talent shows find endearing; that is, “she made it her own” by making up lyrics and screwing up the melody. I found her so-called version to be quite grating, and told Alexa, Echo’s android hostess, to shut it down. I suppose being a writer I’m more sensitive than most, but before you decide I’m an old, nitpicking fuddy-duddy, hear me out.
Writers as a whole are treated with little respect. Hollywood abhors them constantly chastising us to remember how many words a picture comprises. (“Don’t fall in love with the words you gave birth; remember how many a picture is worth.” – from City of Angels) Well and good, except many directors also demand to be given screen writing credit. Singers give the same treatment to fledgling songwriters, which is why goofy-voiced composers like Willie Nelson start singing in the first place. As a starving college student and musician, my brother sold two songs to ASCAP for $50 each; and ASCAP resold them to a popular rock group who put their own names on the tunes, and raked in massive royalties. Where is the honor (let alone honesty) in taking credit for another person’s work? Writers are the nerds of the trade; the lowest on the pecking order. Yet the craft of writing is the engine that drives the industries of music, motion pictures, and stage. There’s a disconnect somewhere; a societal autism. We observe the same phenomenon by the way government tries to hamper American industry, the engine that drives the economy.
Writers sweat bullets over a phrase, sometimes even a single word, or a musical quarter note—editing over and over. We put our emotion and soul into our work, much of which is rejected due to subjective opinions of agents, editors, and/or publishers. That’s life, and being hardened to rejection we accept that reality. However, when some vapid adolescent with a whining voice fronting a dance line performing musical aerobics makes our work “her own”, I admit to seeing red. Same with the written word. For example, the “honorable” Joe Biden has been busted twice for plagiarism.
Second, there’s holiday travel that can be, at its worst, a robber of seasonal joy. Last week on a Southwest flight from Washington D.C. to Phoenix, the experience turned into one of those surreal moments from Hell. Three separate ladies were among the last to board. The first weighed in at a robust 300-plus pounds, and drove a battery powered scooter to transport her considerable girth. The second arrived in an airport courtesy wheelchair, and was a bit larger than the first lady. Finally, the third appeared. She was the size of the others, but younger—probably 20-something. Oh, and the first lady had an emotional companion in the form of a large, smelly dog. None of the three fit into their seats, which I grant you are small to begin with. Still, one had to feel for others sharing their rows.
Isn’t it amazing how some naturally noticeable people continue to draw attention to themselves by outlandish behavior? These three were no exception. The first two had a litany of loud complaints including 1) airline service, 2) feet that hurt, and 3) being short of breath. Really? The youngest was nervous about the flight, and started wailing, which continued nonstop. But noise pollution was minor compared to what came next.
The companion dog for Ton O’ Fun No. 1 had diarrhea. The cabin reeked. The attendants put the dog in a plastic bag tied around its neck, which contained subsequent emissions, but not the dizzying bouquet. Passengers got upset, and voiced their opinions rather loudly. This set the stage for Ton O’ Fun No. 2.
She hoisted her bulk to an upright position, and stepped into the aisle. (What! She can walk? OMG! It’s a freaking miracle!) Amid the complaints about the dog from other passengers, she walked up and down the aisle, subjected the captured audience to a rambling harangue about mistreatment of animals, and how people should be more accepting no matter what the inconvenience. “Shame on all of you!” she concluded. Attempts by the flight crew to return her to her seat failed.
ASIDE: At this point in the story, my mind tripped back to a film clip from Italy I saw last week where a group of socialist protesters wearing ISIS/Antifa masks and carrying placards stating their demands decided to break through a police line. Big mistake. The police enthusiastically clubbed the crap out of the protesters who fled in panic. In the PC-society of the USA, you would rarely (if ever) see that.
Anyway, this lady decided to protest (she said) against the opinions of those who did not agree with her point of view. Her form of protest was to lie down in the aisle and block passengers from disembarking upon landing. After threatening and cajoling, the crew finally got her to agree to discontinue her inane protest. Except she couldn’t get up, and laid there wallowing around like a beached whale. After a massive struggle, and a lot of perspiration, three attendants finally got the lady upright. She sat down with a huff amid sarcastic applause and jeering.
What a flight. Within days, Southwest mailed a $75 travel voucher to passengers who had to endure that long cross country flight.
Other than writers being treated with little respect, and the unfriendly skies; the Holiday Season is getting off to a good start what with great neighborhood events and three gigs over the next two weeks for our local vintage rock band. With that in mind, cheers to all!
BTW, the final line of Clement Moore’s timeless classic poem, A Visit from St. Nicholas, is written, “Happy (NOT Merry) Christmas to all; and to all a good night.” I’ve observed the error in voice and print. Now I’m annoyed again.
By Gene Myers, your jolly Christmas elf.
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