I usually am the last person to get excited about Christmas in my house. But the Christmas bug finally bit me. Yes, it's less than a week before Christmas. I went through the mall tonight to run errands. I always manage to ignore the decorations and music. That stuff's been up since Halloween. So the lights and garland are just part of the background, generating the same feeling as furniture being in the same place too long.
I went to stores to drop off payments for a few charge cards and still avoided doing any shopping for people on my list. A snowstorm sent me home from work and I ended up missing our company's Christmas party, casting an additional bit of disappointment upon my mood. The mall looked even kind of grim, with the Christmas music belying an empty mall from the nasty weather and consumers fatigued from a weak economy.
After parting with my cash to Verizon and being in a somewhat foul mood over the inflation of the family's cell phone bill, the Christmas finally bug sank its fangs into me. The Salvation Army kettle was gone, but the tree with the names of kids needing gifts was there. My kids were already taken care of this Christmas and they're too old to believe in Santa anymore. The tag immediately erased my disappointment and renewed my spirits.
An 8-old-boy named Elvin needed a Santa to get him a Laser Tag set and the Salvation Army puts the kid's sizes on the tags. I've never met Elvin and I don't plan on meeting him. His tag is the first one I saw. It soon dawned on me eight is a crucial age in the Christmas lexicon. That's when a lot of kids start becoming Christmas agnostics when it comes to Santa Claus. The kids start talking about spying on where parents hide the gifts or start expressing disappointment about what they didn't get. I hope this year he still keeps his belief a little big longer. Elvin, I hope the Laser Tag set brings you the same joy that I had when I got my Star Trek walkie talkies. Merry Christmas Elvin, you brought some joy to a 41-year-old man's heart.
If Bruce Springsteen can lend his image to an advertisement for a foodbank, I can lend some real estate on this sacred bit of cyberspace to support the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. The recession has placed heightened demands on the foodbank, while contributions through retailers (the slips at supermarket checkout counters) are down 17 percent. This organization deserves your support. The FoodBank distributes over 21 million pounds of food and groceries a year, ultimately serving 1,656 non-profit programs including 436 programs served by its Partner Distribution Organizations (PDOs). Through their combined efforts, they assist three-quarters of a million low-income people in 18 of New Jersey’s 21 counties. So instead of buying that Michael Vick jersey for the animal lover in your life, kick over some cash to the foodbank. Click here and do something right during the holidays. The Michael Vick bobblehead doll or Topps card is cheaper than the jersey anyway. It will still elicit that same reaction from the animal lover in your life and your donation will give you the sense that your heart is in the right place.
Dave Kingman, a New York Met during the 1970s and early 80s, could have been a great ball player, but was relatively disinterested in hitting for average or defense. This blog entry captures a lot about "Sky King." He had an anemic batting average, but heaven help the pitcher that slights him.
Language pet peeve: The use of "as per our conversation (meeting or whatever)" in business communications. Doesn't it make more sense to say "regarding"? Anybody else besides broadcaster Edwin Newman have pet peeves about language?