For Christmas this year I received an unexpected and unwanted gift from my grandchild. I went to bed early Christmas eve with a storm brewing in my gut and a dread of farting, as with Russian Roulette the one bullet in the chamber could well deliver the coup de grace.
On Christmas morning I was wakened early, i.e. as the sun was getting out of bed. Never an advocate of the ‘early to bed early to rise’ aphorism the bah humbug moment was within easy reach. The rattle of plastic wheels on tarmac on the street accompanied by a child’s joyful strains of jingle bells almost pushed me over the edge. If words be needed refer to Yossarian’s diatribe on reasons not to be thankful on Thanksgiving in joseph Heller’s book ‘Catch 22’.*
I don’t want to paint a picture of a grumpy oul’ fart but I realise the base colour is already down. So from here on in I’ll try and unpaint myself out of a corner using the Yossarian Methodology.
The nub of this whole Christmas festival is, we are reliably informed, to celebrate the birth of Christ. Now I take issue with that right away for several reasons.
- The date coincides with several ancient festivals, Druidic celebration of the winter solstice, the Romans holiday of Saturnalia, so is a convenient hook on which to hang the Christian festival.
- Christians are wont to wear a cross as a sign of their guilt for crucifying the Christ. So why not wear a baby Jesus at Christmas to mark the event of his birth.
- The whole myth starts to unravel when the Christmas hat and jumper become the symbols of the season.
Bah Humbug. The hat and jumper. The Santa Hat. Oh the Christmas Spirit what a jolly jape. The myth perpetuated of a once saint who became a marketing ploy of many a corporation. Ever wonder where those Santa hats are made, what ill lit dungeon of low paid workers employed by Scrooge in some near or far flung corner of the world stitching red and white hats to enhance the Christmas Spirit.
Christmas Spirit and that jumper? A friend once told me that as a student he took to smoking a pipe as he thought it would instill a sophistication and savoir faire but concluded he was just a young man smoking a pipe.
The other staple of Christmas is the Queen’s speech at 3pm Christmas day before we all sit down to dinner feeling the world is a better a safer place for it. The speech’s theme of reconciliation mentioned N.Ireland, Scotland and sport, specifically the Commonwealth Games in Scotland. Bah Humbug. Common wealth now there’s a misnomer. Another myth given credibility by those it best suits. The ‘common wealth’ was created by a continued system of land and wealth grab that has now homogenised into an elite to include the notion of royality. As with all prevalent myths that our sophisticated, Santa hat and Christmas jumper-wearing society subscribes to the game is up. We are gauche and backward looking society caught in the headlights, in thrall to celebrity and corporations, that has lost sight of our humanity and the consequences of our greed.
Have a Happy New Year.
* exchange between Lieutenant Scheisskopf’s wife and Yossarian. P.179