Holding Forth no image

Published on December 18th, 2013 | by Richard Black

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Happy Friggin’ Holidays and Other Thoughts

There’s something about the Holiday Season that brings out the crabby, arthritic, 400 year old inner man in me. He’s been there for a while but he’s only summoned during the Christmas season or when I’m driving at a stately 20 miles per hour down the road and I’m cut off by some jackass grandmother in a new Ford Mustang the woman couldn’t afford in her twenties some forty years ago.

My mood these days has more to do with shopping and the fact that I’d rather chew through a plate glass window than go to a mall during the December. Once swarms of post menopausal great grandmothers infiltrate every possible retail outlet with a horde of tweens in tow I’d pretty much rather have someone jump on my balls than leave my house after Thanksgiving.

I am however, committed, to making this Christmas special for my daughter. My wife told me so.

It’s still hard to get into the spirit of the season.

Call me crazy but duking it out with a 12 year old and her botoxed up mother on the latest round of hormones doesn’t generally get me into the traditional Christian spirit, at least not the Christian spirit I’ve been taught to celebrate. Then again if I’d found that a few malls had been smitten by the hand of God and sucked down into the ninth level of hell I’d make some more changes in my life.

Until retribution is handed down to the retailers and their patrons however I will continue to shop like a I’m on a combat mission in Afghanistan and make pithy observations in the meantime.

The retail industry is really a soul sucker and never more so than during the Holiday season. These poor bastards have to cater to troops of prospective buyers and smile while stuffing a size 14 foot into a size 5 lipstick red pump during the best of times. I find it amazing that more shootings don’t happen at retail outlets during the best of times.

These men and women manning the floors used to have dreams and I’d wager that working a double in the unmentionables department wasn’t one of them. Still they’ve sucked it up and generally try to provide some modicum of enthusiasm when talking about the benefits of the latest cotton/poly blend of socks. I try to feign interest but I feel the same way about panhandlers. Once you’ve looked one in the eye you’re either going to give them a buck, buy a pair of BVDs or explain that you just don’t have any cash.

In all honesty I have difficulty thinking of a worse job than one in retail, for myself that is. I’m not much of a people person. I like the idea of them, people that is, but the reality of dealing with them is enough to put me off my breakfast most days.

Sure a job at the local abattoir pulling out cows’ anuses for twelve hours at a stretch isn’t a pleasure cruise but I’ll bet it beats the hell out of the average day of a lingerie salesperson at Macy’s during the Holidays.

It is for all of these reasons that I try to remain calm when I simply want to buy a set of overpriced dress shirts for my brother in law and am asked for an inordinate amount of information as my three year old rockets around the store like a pinball on acid. I can only perform a few tasks at once, none of them well mind you, and declining to take a 5% discount for signing up for a credit card with a 45% APR is stretching the bounds of my abilities.

Asking for my phone number, home address and email account for a “Special VIP Super Online Bonus” is really more than I can handle, and even more so when the staff is giving me the evil eye for while my daughter is tasting her way through a rack of $300 ties.

By the time Darcy is wrapping a belt around her neck that costs more than I used to make in a month it’s clear that the staff wants me to leave and I’d be happy to accommodate, but I still have to explain to the cashier that I will not be providing them with my social security number, PIN digits or next born.

Three hours later Darcy and I escaped with two shirts, minimal friction burns on my daughter’s neck and only a slight security risk to my bank account. After a quick stop at the gas station for fuel, a carton of cigarettes and enough beer to lay out a platoon we arrived at home to indulge in cartoons and alcohol depending upon our mood and need.

As as side note I should mention that I will be shipping a few gifts to various friends and family members tomorrow at the local post office. I’m sure everything will go swimmingly but if, on the off chance, I don’t post in the next few days please feel free to send me an email.

My wife has access to this site and I will be happy for any support you readers can give, be it emotional or financial, as I will most certainly be in need of bail.


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