Monday, July 25, 2016

And so this is Christmas (in July)

I was careless with the candy and the dog ate all the chocolates so this Christmas-in-July will be a little less special than ones from the past.

Well, for everyone but the dog.

I’ve been busy moving Mom so C-in-J feels rushed. You can tell, too, because that’s maybe the first time in holiday history anyone’s felt compelled to abbreviate Christmas-in-July.

But I got some gift cards, some candy, a couple crappy presents and the weird Bob Dylan Christmas album is ready for its traditional blare in about an hour. 

What’s missing?

A Christmas movie. I usually go to the video store and snag a rental of one of the favorites.

Not this year.

I didn’t have time and I couldn’t settle on one that fit.

I didn’t want “It’s a Wonderful Life” because this year it isn’t. To anyone with a passing familiarity with the headlines it seems like an unrelentingly dark and brutal life.

George Bailey feels like jumping off a bridge? Who could blame him?

Every day seems to bring another bloody episode of either terrorism or mass shooting.

Really, the special I’d most like to see is the one that for me has the most resonance in this sad time.

That would be “How The Grinch Stole Christmas,” maybe the most misleadingly titled program of all time.

Because the Grinch most certainly did not steal Christmas.

If anything it should be called “How The Grinch Failed to Steal Christmas.”

Maybe that didn’t rhyme.

I ask you to recall the 1966 show now and anytime you feel saddened by grim news.

It is, of course, revered for its nostalgic charm, wit, animation and message about how a Grinchy heart can change over time.

But that’s not at all the most relevant message.

To me, the most important message has nothing to do with the Grinch and everything to do with the Whos.

They wake up Christmas morning to find everything gone, laid to waste. The most special day of the year has been ruined by incarnate evil.

What do the Whos do?

They celebrate. They party. They embrace the day.

They react as if it doesn’t matter that evil has struck.

The message isn’t really that the Grinch changes. It’s that the Whos do not.

I’m heartened that every time after every bloody attack that things return right away to normal.

We still attend parades, concerts and live each day to its fullest. There’s no decrease in zany contests or absurd, joyful behavior.

That’s tells me that, as scared as people are, everyone realizes that none of the threats we’re facing is existential. None of the enemies who seek to destroy our way of life will ever succeed.

We still have the option to enjoy so many splendid days.

Despite our divisions, we’re all on at least this point happy little Whos.

I think people get that.

I say it again: Anytime you hear of anyone dying suddenly, it ought to reinforce the need to always be living suddenly.

To me, the most inaccurate cliche of all-time is “You only live once.”

In fact, you only die once.

You can live each and every day.

So Merry Christmas in July!

That’s what it’ll be here in the Rodell house.

The kids won’t even care that the dog ate all the chocolates.

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