I hate the news this week. I’m trying to keep my blood pressure down. President Donald Trump, the Supreme Court and the city of Seattle aren’t helping.
I try thinking about puppy dogs frolicking in meadows, babies cooing, glorious sunsets and children on a playground. Then the Supreme Court lets Texas deny benefits to same-sex couples on the grounds that some marriages are more worthy than others. My puppies throw up. The babies have colic. The sunsets look like the sky in Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.” It’s the Children of the Corn on the playground, and I’m their next sacrifice.
Trump says Israel’s capital should be Jerusalem. He should just go to the Middle East and wave a pointy stick at everyone he sees.
The Supreme Court let Trump’s current travel ban remain in effect for now. They are allowing lower courts to try blocking it, but this SCOTUS decision signals that unless any such lower court’s ruling uses magic words never before uttered on the subject, any block would be lifted again.
The city of Seattle completely bollixed up homeless services by first not providing sufficient funds to meet the growth in the homeless population, then distributed what funds there are in the interest of merely appearing to do more to get people into housing. Getting promises from agencies to double efforts to get people into housing is not doubling efforts to get people into housing. It’s inviting phony promises.
Merry Christmas, everybody. Don’t look under the tree for presents unless you were looking forward to manure. There is no pony.
Defunding hygiene centers is one of the cruelest Christmas presents I ever heard of.
It’s times like this I think back to all my Christmases past, good and bad — mostly bad — and let the memories brush over me like nettles in my eyes, because I can’t control myself.
It’s hard to believe but I still remember my very first Christmas. My father took me out of my crib in the middle of Christmas Eve night and set me on the floor in the living room. So he could turn on the Christmas tree lights and catch me in a photograph stunned at the sight, having never seen a Christmas tree lit up before. He’d read in a photography magazine that was a great way to get a cool pic of your baby.
My third Christmas I was two-and-a-half years old. That one was notable because some friends of the family gifted me, the toddler, with a dog. I was not even speaking English words at the time. “Here is a living creature that requires food and water and health care that you may own until it is dead. Merry Christmas.”
“Dah, foop? Ha!”
A couple of my Christmases were pretty good. What made them special wasn’t excellent trees or excellent presents, or excellent singing of excellent Christmas carols, or figgy pudding or whatever else people think Christmas food should be. It was having people I could stand to be around sharing the holidays with me.
My all-time favorite Christmas ever was during Christmas break at my graduate school when I was poor and stuck on campus while most of my well-to-do friends could afford to leave for the Caribbean. It happened that I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t afford to leave, that also included almost all the Hindi students at the college, of which there were something like 60, and they threw an Un-Christmas Party, to which I was invited.
I want to close this pointless column with a pointless arithmetical fact relating to Christmas. Have you ever added up all the presents her/his true love gave to her/him in the Twelve Days of Christmas song? If you said no, what’s wrong with you? Here, I’ll do it for you.
There are altogether 12 partridges in a pear tree, 22 turtle doves, 30 French hens, and so forth. It works out to 364 gifts (ending with the 12 drummers drumming). That’s one present for all but one day in the year, two days in a leap year.
They should use those extra days to just sit together and enjoy each other’s company.
Because that’s what’s best.
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor and has experienced homelessness several times. He has been involved with Real Change since he supplied the art for the first cover in November of 1994. This is his weekly column Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd.
Wait, there's more. Check out the full December 13 issue.