Having waxed eloquent about Christmas last week, I will now bring a counterargument.
I’m not a great fan of the holiday, to be perfectly frank. It, like so many holidays, is so absolutely fraught with commercialism that the meaning of the day has become completely lost in translation for many.
I had the utter misfortune to go to a well-known store the other day. I don’t name if for fear of retaliation, but suffice it to say it originated in Arkansas. What a depressing place it is – oh not Arkansas which I find to be quite fabulous – but the store itself.
Entering stage right, I naturally had to go all the way to the other end of the store to find what I was looking for, and in so doing, I passed the men’s and women’s clothing areas. Good golly, Miss Molly. It was like a YouTube video of the Ugly Christmas Sweater syndrome. Apart from the quality of the merchandise – God forbid there should be a natural fiber anywhere within a bull’s roar of the joint – the designs were eye-wateringly shocking. A sight guaranteed to suck the joy right out of Christmas right there.
Then you hear of the loopies. In California – sigh – somebody has symbolically installed a nativity scene, complete with Joseph (in cage number 1), Mary (in cage number 2) and Baby Jesus (in cage number 3) to signify their status as refugees and therefore completely mistreated by He Who Must Not be Named. Come on, people. Let’s leave politics right out of religious symbolism, shall we?
Back in the day, it was the very thing to send Christmas cards, and it was with joy that one would romp to the mail box every afternoon to revel in what the postie had brought. Nowadays, especially at the office, you get cards advertising various goods and chattels you have no intention of buying, and nine out of ten declare “Happy Holidays” – oh, bah humbug.
But the great sucker of joys of all time has to be the timing of our various local governments in the sending of the dreaded property tax bills.
I remember when I first met Sir that he was absolutely horrified at the cost of my little Mazda 323. If memory serves – and that was back in the late ’90s – the little car set me back around $25,000. A lot of money I grant you – but with one very big saving grace. The cost included sales tax – and that is the last tax you pay on the car. There’s none of this year-in, year-out clobbering of taxes. When you buy a house, the same thing goes. You pay sales tax when you buy it, and then you’re done as far as the government is concerned.
As I romp down the road of the senior citizen, I thank heaven Sir and I both have good jobs, because I have no Earthly idea how those who just depend on Social Security manage to find several thousand dollars each December to feed the authorities’ coffers.
So good will to all, but mind where you spend your dough. Uncle Sam’s got his hand out.
Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.