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So This Is Christmas? by silvertongedevil Written on 3rd January 2006

A Sideways Study of the Festive Season

To some people Christmas is about seeing family, to others it's a time for parties. Some see it as a time for a holiday, some for charity, others for heavy drinking and/or eating and for a diminishing minority it's all about religion. Some find pleasure in missing Christmas out altogether and the mentally disturbed see it as a time to display inflatable Disney characters dressed in dubious Christmas apparel, seemingly for no other reason than they have no quality control in their lives. Depressives dust off their collection of Christmas songs and sit alone weeping about their past and Jehovahs' Witnesses pretend it isn't happening and sit waiting for the door knocking season to begin. More and more people burn off the earths recourses by gluing tacky flashing lights to their houses in the hope that their street resembles Las Vegas, warm in the knowledge that they can be seen from the moon.

I'm not saying where I fall into this list except to say that most of these groups cross over into others to make Christmas a multi-faceted season, though be it with very little of the "Good Will" that was talked about of yore.

One group of people see it as a time for bolstering their companies or careers by the use of Christmas, the most obvious of these are high street shops but some of these "high street shops" have a more sinister background. Known innocently as "Charity Shops", they are given their 'goods' by the goodwill of the populace and their 'staff' work for free. On top of this they get cheap or free rent and rates to the point that they can expand out of all proportion, like Oxfam for instance to become one of the largest shop chains in the UK. Easy to do, free stock, free staff, free everything, you don't even have to be good at business to succeed, which is good because although the management are on comparable wages with the industries top management they are crap at their jobs. Good for them, not good for the self employed clothing shop next door who is already ripped off by the government for 'rates', which no government department can explain what the shop keeper gets for this pound of flesh, and then dashed to death on the rocks because he is having to compete with a rival company which has no overheads.

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Bob Geldoff yesterday prior to 'Makeup'.
Then there are the so called 'pop' groups who never really made it until one such individual, namely Bob sodding Geldoff comes along and uncharacteristically begins a life of so-called charitable exercises that miraculously revive and restore his and his friends ailing bands careers to the tune of several million.

I heard just a couple of days ago Bob sodding Geldoff has secured himself a position on a board which oversees aid to foreign countries and spent ages trying to justify it. Good luck I say, though I'm not sure about the people who elevated a person to such a position, who decides to call his children such names as 'Trixietumbledryermouselegdipsyduckbill' or some such. Don't you know charity starts at home Bob?

There are of course another group of people who I know hide amongst the ranks of the other categories, their strange habits concealed within the ranks of the ordinary people of this world. A perverse and despicable group so bizarre that their ritual causes the hair on the back of my head to not only stand up, but to leap to the floor and go scurrying off under the door and into the nearest shadows. You know whom I mean. Yes, the weirdo's who buy bags of nuts for Christmas. Some aren't committed enough to actually eat them, they just leave the nuts to languish in the bowl. The more insidious of the group sit with the bowl at their side, nutcrackers at the ready and stuff themselves to the point of constipation.

I have always wished to know why they only do this ritual at Christmas but I have always been scared to ask lest the knowledge of such an unsocial habit may cause me to follow down the road of no return. The nuts have strange names such as "Hazel", "Brazil" and "Walnut" and they are made of polished wood. It is tantamount to eating furniture, and yet they are not alone.
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Do you buy everything in nets?

Another yet equally nefarious contingent buy bags of Tangerines and Satsuma's. Is there something wrong with the humble orange? Is the proud apple not traditional? What is it that makes these people buy these odd foods that inevitably come imprisoned within nets? Is that the connection, are they all bondage fetishists? Are there some people out there buying Christmas kitchen sponge scourers just because they are packaged in nets?

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This poor chap was caught out without his coat.
Probably one of the strangest types of person seen at this time of year is the lone pedestrian. This animal is (as the name suggests) seen walking alone, usually on roads with no pavements and no obvious signs of civilization for miles. The usual criteria for the apparition to be a true Lone Walker is the fact that though there is 20 degrees of frost and the snow is over a foot deep and there is a brisk northerly wind blowing the snow horizontally, they are always to be seen wearing just a tee shirt on the upper body. I have spotted several this year but I have to say one sensible individually did have the foresight to take along his mobile phone. Whether it was the incessant talking that kept him warm or the bombardment of microwaves that cooked his brain into tepid insensibility I shall never know because I have never yet had the fortunate situation of seeing one in daylight hours. It is also a marvel to me that I have never seen a frozen one, static, blue erect nipples thrust out in defiance on a dead, tee shirted body.

I must now move on to one of my favorite groups seen at this time of year. Perambulatus dubii. The person that has no confidence in their driving whatsoever, who as soon as the snow falls, jumps into their cars and take to the road. Why oh why do these people think that snow will suddenly make their driving better? Okay, I go out in it but I used to drive for a living, so it snowed. I don't have to go out but there is nothing on the road so I think to myself it's actually the best time. Wrong. Two hundred yards down the road Perambulatus dubii and it's cousin, Tooancientus flatcapus have decided that the driving conditions are far worse than they anticipated and have stopped on the only hill around and blocked up the road for the duration of the winter.
It never fails to amuse and also infuriate me how people who only ever drive a car from their home to the local school and back could ever entertain the idea that they could confidently drive in snow. And why is it that when you stop to help one of these people who have somehow managed to get their four by four into a ditch, they smell of tangerines and have a collection of Brazil nut husks on the dashboard?

The final group of festive fungus to be examined are the drunks who want to fight.
Alcohol I'm told is a depressant and an inducer of sleep. I cannot say that it depresses me, that is not until the next morning and I realise how much I have spent, but it can make me sleepy. Fortunately I do not come across the fighting type very often but I have to wonder what in gods name manages to cancel out a drug, which depresses and stupefies to the point that adrenaline kicks in to cause aggressive behaviour. If alcohol does this to them how do they get through a normal day?
I suppose everyone gets to choose their friends, and my friends fall into certain categories after alcohol.

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A pint of beer we interviewed last week.
Myself, I'm a talker. Get the booze down and talk all night, any old shyte will do and in truth it has to be shyte.

Then there's the sleeper. You've all seen this one, for ages pretends to be involved but steadily falls deeper into slumber until the head hits the table with a bang or the whole body slowly but inevitably slips under the table.

Then there's the singer. They don't even know a song, just the first lines of several. They sort of talk in varying pitch and volume to some odd untuneful collection of notes until comatosed.

Not so easily categorised is the stripper. The stripper likes to disrobe but due to past embarrassment the stripper knows that the consequences are somewhat embarrassing and tries to suppress the urge. Needless to say the stripper has to be well gone to indulge in their art. One friend I used to know was both a stripper and a sleeper which caused many a humorous tale and a favourite trick was to wait for him to drop his trousers, which I have to say has caused several bans from the more salubrious establishments, and then watch him dose off. At this point he would be laid face down bent over a table, two eyes drawn on his buttocks and a sprig of mistletoe hung above the pouting 'face'. Again this is apparently a barring offence at several public houses I used to frequent.

Luckily, none of my friends are of the fighting type but whilst on the subject of the fighters I have to say that there must be a kind of self-destructive aspect to them. After all, being drunk is not the best state to be in when choosing a pugilistic adversary, he may be larger, he may be stronger, he may be sober. There could even be three of them, would you know when shit faced. I wouldn't. Lastly I suppose you would have to be confident when picking a fight, this reminds me a time when walking home whilst worse for wear on beer and stumbling through a hedge (which was in the opposite direction of which I was intending) and into a dog rose bush. After getting my clothes caught in its thorns and scratching myself several times I offered the offending flora a duel. Lack of sword or pistols regulated the conflict to unarmed combat. The bush cheated for it was indeed armed and I lost the fight.

So this is Christmas, this is what my observations have concluded. I now apologise that I will not be considering the New Year in the same manner as being of Celtic extraction I will be indulging in some manic drinking of sorts, even though someone may decorate parts of my recumbent body with doodlings from a felt tip pen. Hogmanay is such a much simpler celebration. Drink, sing, fall down, sleep.

Happy New Year.


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