Well, here I am listening to seasonal songs courtesy of that sultry-voiced virtual femme fatale from Amazon Echo. This while sucking down an Old Fashioned. Her name is Alexa. I requested she send me a provocative photo of herself, but she declined unless, that is, I purchase a certain APP. I also asked if she knows Siri. Her answer, “Only by reputation.” I wonder what that implies? Is Siri a skank? |
The cheerful Holiday songs being played by Alexa are mostly by dead people, a fact that doesn’t cheer me up at all. In fact, it’s a sobering reminder that I can count my remaining Christmases on my fingers, which seem older than the rest of me. At least the stiffness and sporadic pain makes me think so.
Kay has gaily decorated the house as usual—an explosion of red and green and lights, which should cheer up the grouchiest Grinch. Meh. To boost my mood, I’ve been watching the usual cheesy, insipid Holiday movies courtesy of Hallmark, Lifetime, ION and UPTV. In the past, I’ve enjoyed the predicable plot line (pretty much same year after year), but this year find the same-old-show with different faces and locations somewhat annoying. It goes something like this:
Heroine (could be hero) returns to idyllic winter hometown for the first time in years because her toxic relationship ended, and surprisingly meets old hometown beau whom she threw over due to her ambition and desire to succeed in the “big” city. They have an uncomfortable reunion. A nosy friend or relative continually attempts to get them back together. The couple is “forced” to work with each other on a Christmas community project (for a noble cause naturally). Sparks rekindle. Boy gets girl. Girl’s ex-fiancé turns up, says he made a mistake by dumping her, and wants her back. She is torn. Plus, girl must return to city on Christmas eve for “the job” and a big promotion. (Uh-oh—unresolvable conflict!) Boy loses girl. Girl returns on Christmas declaring rediscovered love for boy is more important than job, and her ratbastard ex. Boy gets girl; snowflakes fall; big smooch—and that’s a wrap. Print it!
Further, the so-called major channels haven’t telecast upbeat musical Christmas specials for years—not real ones like the old Andy Williams and Perry Como Holiday Shows. If they do, some group or artist stands on a stage with Christmas trees and decorations, and proceeds to sing (or lip-sync) their auto-tuned “hits” with an aerobic dancers working up a sweat in the background. The overall mood is ho-hum gray. Apparently, Christmas songs are now politically incorrect. Can’t atheists and agnostics simply turn the channel?
On the other hand, some cable channels DO present Christmas musical shows like the Nutcracker Ballet, but most are rather bland. For example, I just watched a special featuring The Band Perry, a sibling ensemble with two brothers and a sister who sings lead. They were dressed in white, but everyone and everything else on the set was black. They sang Christmas songs, but with such a somber background, I had a hard time feeling joy. Plus, it was like listening to three soft voices like Richard Carpenter with no Karen Carpenter. The flaccid presentation was the epitome of mediocrity. More gray. More blah.
Normally, we spend Christmas in Southern California with the kids, and enjoy a New Year’s Eve black tie gala hosted by my brother and sister-in-law in Palm Springs. This year California is shutdown to protect citizens (according to vacuous Governor Newsom) from the latest Coronavirus outbreak imported from China earlier this year labelled COVID-19. I derive a bit of nostalgia from this Oriental sponsored reality by recalling when I was a lad that if your toys were produced in Asia, it was going to be a pretty rough Christmas. Then, products imported from that part of the world were classified as junk. Of course as a child, you figure there are many Christmases left to get even, which is not the case for me in 2020.
Our son and daughter thought they might spend Christmas with us, but that looks improbable, although our daughter may make it—if she can sneak back into California without Newsom and his gestapo finding out. Even though I am truly blessed to have Kay with me, my disposition is as subdued and colorless as a bleak black-and-white photo of a barren landscape in January. (sigh)
The malaise seems to have captured Kay as well. Here we are into the third week of Advent, and as yet, not a candle has been lit nor a verse read. The Advent Wreath sits unattended and ignored. Ho-hum, phooey, and blah.
The local NO NAMERS BAND in which I participate had four cheerful events booked in December, but alas, three were cancelled due to COVID protocols, and the ensuing ramped-up public hysteria. I find it amusing that, according to survey after survey, only about 20-percent claim to trust government and media, yet most hang on every syllable the talking heads utter about COVID-19. I can only conclude that Orwell had it right.
Hear me out.
Our keyboard player, Roy, tested positive for COVID-19, thereby requiring the rest of us to be checked. We were all negative as was Roy’s wife. Eleven days in Roy still hadn’t shown any symptoms suggesting he was a “false” positive—about 40-percent fall in that category. Nevertheless, false is not differentiated from true, which artificially bulks up the numbers. Likewise, the CDC admitted (quietly) that of the 240,000 or so people with the virus who expired, only nine-percent died because of it; and they were predominantly senior citizens with other health problems. More numbers: One has a 98.3-percent chance of NOT getting the virus; and less than one-percent die. Meanwhile public hysteria has the overreacting government shutting down small businesses. My question: Who benefits? I know what George Orwell’s answer would be. So, my advice is to either live in fear of statistics or make them your friends. Even though the virus is highly contagious, the probable outcome is incredibly positive.
Other than several Christmas seasons that I spent alone as a young man, this yule promises to be one of the most spiritless. Another 2020 downer for me was the loss in July of my best friend going back to high school. Dennis Hull was also a writer, and a demanding holier-than-thou editor. He criticized everything. He had no filter or dimmer switch. The fact that he consistently liked my essays was for me the greatest praise I received. Somehow I hope this one makes it to wherever he is on the other side.
Meanwhile, Christmas Cheer for me is that I have not descended into the realm of the dead. I am still alive, which is something we should each celebrate every waking morning. There is that. Sooo, HOO-HAH! (versus HO-HO-HO)
By Gene Myers, whose heart may be two sizes too small this year.
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Alexa, Holiday songs, Holiday movies, Christmas musical shows, COVID-19, false positives, George Orwell,