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Christmas Carols, Charlie Brown and a Book That People Won’t Read

Christmas Carols, Charlie Brown and a Book That People Won’t Read

I can’t believe I’ve been here since August and have only written one blog entry. I guess it says a lot about the kind of hard slave labor we endure here in editorial, plus it’s even harder to get work done with all the sweet jams that design is always kicking out down the hall. On a side note, if you plan on being a design intern, I hope you’re a fan of The Beastie Boys’ “License to Ill.” It’s apparently required listening.

I haven’t had time to think of another elaborate tongue and cheek story where my experiences are laid out in a humorous but educational list order, so instead this post is just going to be some random thoughts I’ve had lately, so hopefully it’s not too boring or self-indulgent.

Coming Soon (or never): The Life and Times of a Non-Alpha Male
I’ve had this idea for quite some time about a book that would be a collection of semi-autobiographical essays chronicaling the many awkward social experiences of my young adult life. I was originally going to call it Stranger in My Own Skin, but have since given it the title, The life and Times of a Non Alpha Male. I abandoned the first title because it’s a little contrived and resembles the double-meaning title of Tobias’ book in the T.V. series “Arrested Development.” That’s a connotation I definitely want to stay away from.

The idea for this book came from an experience I had about a year ago. I don’t want to get into too many details, but it involved me sitting on a shrimp boat in the boonies of coastal South Carolina, eating a freezing cold venison sandwich that was made just for me by my best friend’s boyfriend. After we left the boat, I got in the car and said, “You know what, I’m going to write a book about how awkward my life is.” I know that doesn’t give you a whole lot of context to the story, but you’ll find out the rest of it, including why I wasn’t bold enough to say, “Hey, shouldn’t you heat this sandwich up?” when the book comes out.

haven’t told many people about this idea until now, and I’ve gotten mixed reactions from the few friends that I have told. One of them said, “I don’t think you’re as awkward as you think you are, at least not enough to write a whole book about it” Another told me, “It sounds cool, but I’m just not into that completely self-absorbed, Chuck Klosterman-type writing.” It’s hard to justify writing a book about someone’s life that nobody knows and there’s no apparent consequential message or aspiration in the book. I’d like to think I’d enjoy reading something like that, but maybe that’s just because I enjoy “completely self-absorbed, Chuck Klosterman-type writing.”

“Killing them with Carols” and other thoughts on the Christmas season
I recently got a job at a major clothing retail chain where they specifically hired me to work the most unholy day of the year, a.k.a. “Black Friday.” I’ve always found the concept of Black Friday kind of strange. To most, it represents the first shopping day of the Christmas season, but I’ve never been one to celebrate Christmas so early. It’s seems so crazy that we give ourselves one day to reflect on what we’re thankful for, while the very next day we jump start into Christmas by maxing out credit cards and fulfilling someone else’s lust for high def T.V.’s or designer couture. Needless to say, I wasn’t planning on shopping that day, so I was available to work.

Working retail on Black Friday isn’t so bad. For one thing, employers always over compensate for the rush, so it’s not like the store is understaffed, and despite the news reports of people being trampled by fellow Black Friday hellions, most shoppers are courteous, friendly people just trying to get some shopping done. The thing that bothered me the most was the amount of Christmas Carols that were pumped into the store throughout the day. I know it makes me sound like Scrooge, but you know there’s at least one Christmas song that you rather never hear again (there’s a good chance it’s The Little Drummer Boy, but there’s an even better chance that it’s Jingle Bells).

My problem with the overplayed Christmas songs played at work isn’t with the songs themselves, (accept for “Santa Baby,” which I think should be renamed “The Anthem of Anna Nicole Smith”). I just don’t see the point in trying to play Christmas songs all day when there’s only been 20 of them ever written. Sure you can play a few different versions of the same song, but it’s still the same song we’ve been singing since the virgin birth. How is it that it’s been over 2,000 years since the birth of Christ, but there have only been a handful of Christmas songs written since then? Needless to say, while at work I’ve heard “Winter wonderland” sung by Judy Garland, Dean Martin and Annie Lennox all within the same hour, and frankly, I’m tired of that song.
he overplay of Christmas songs at the mall isn’t the only reason I’ve developed a somewhat negative attitude towards them. It also has to do with the number of holiday themed slapstick comedies coming out every year that use these wholesome songs as background music for elaborate and unrealistic blunders throughout the movie. Think about all your favorite scenes from Jingle All the Way, The Santa Clause, or Home Alone. If I remember correctly, While Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern were being tortured by a resourceful little 8 year old, there was a heavenly chorus of angels (or Bing Crosby) joyously accentuating their plight with a beautiful Christmas song.
Now, I know playing “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” while Arnold Schwarzenegger Sumo wrestles Sinbad in the middle of a toy store is supposed to make that scene seem lighthearted and slightly ironic, but now every time I hear that song I’m convinced something really bad is about to happen, and most likely Christmas décor and a comedic actor will be involved. Those movies have brought on a whole new frightful feeling when I hear Christmas songs. When I was working over the weekend, “Jingle Bell Rock” came on, and I was positive that any minute now, Danny Devito was going to crash through the storefront in a red convertible while wearing a Santa suit. At the very least, someone was going to get trampled by a herd of reindeer.

ere is one thing I love about Christmas that no retail store or big box office hit can ruin for me: The Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack. No matter how many times I hear the opening song, “Christmas Time is Here,” I instantly feel at peace with the holiday season. It’s jazzy. It’s youthful. It’s perfect, and somehow, it embodies everything I love about Christmas. I must have heard that song 20 times this weekend and never got sick of it. I probably never will.

You know, Charlie Brown is just awesome in general. Sure, he gets stressed during the holidays, but who doesn’t? Plus I like the fact that he’s probably the most self absorbed cartoon character ever made, yet he’s still a cultural icon. if he would’ve written a book chronicalling his social anxiety during “the Christmas tree fiasco,” I definitly would’ve read it.

P.S : Yes, that picture of me and Chuck Klosterman was doctored terribly in paint. Maybe one day I’ll get a better computer with descent photo editing software so that you won’t be able to tell whether or not I really do hang out with self-absorbed authors.

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