Arkansas’s first environmental education state park interprets the importance of the natural world and our place within it.
Season's greetings, right jolly little old elf dude.
If you're still making your list and checking it twice, you'll notice my improved deportment this year so you might be less kneejerk with the stocking anthracite.
And less merriment would be appreciated of the sort that would substitute a copy of “Going Rogue” or “A Simple Christmas” for the usual coal. That sort of thing isn't funny, Santa. It's like having Ann Coulter play Mary in a manger scene, or Charles Krauthammer as one of the Three Wise Men. You know what I mean? It's like cruelty jokes, or celebrity roasts, or old-fashioned razzing. It just doesn't resonate Christmas — tidings of comfort and joy, good will to men, etc. etc.
Anyway, I'm writing to tell you I'm good this Christmas not only in the behavioral sense but in the material sense. It's taken six decades but I think I've finally outgrown the huckalust for ever more stuff in the Christmas morning pile. Not that I'm immune to a vagrant hankering for one of those dime-thin big-screen TVs that you hang on the wall, but I'm not eat up with the idea any more, and in the cold light of Christmas day would just as soon you'd unloaded the thing on somebody foreclosed or jobless who might could hock it for grub or shelter or new baby shoes.
(More likely for lottery tickets, I guess, but that's not in keeping with the Christmas spirit either.)
I'm also writing to apologize for the selfishness in my letters of Christmases past, so much like the urchin correspondence in the current issue of the hometown weekly asking that you bring them — or more like demanding that you bring them — every glitzy noisy faddish costly piece of crap that's been advertised on the cartoon networks for the last four months. With not a glimmer of the shipping burden that this must put on you.
I guess they think sleigh storage is measurable in terabytes like computer storage. Well, it's not. And it's not cheap, either. I know this old boy — I don't really know him, but heard him holding forth at the daily idlers' coffee club at the local diner — who day-manages one of these mini-storage facilities, and I got it from him that it'll cost you $50,000 a month to rent a storage unit no bigger than an old-time single-family outhouse. You might get an old TV and a chiffarobe and a duffle of old clothes in there, but not much more than that.
You'd be better off burning it. Or buying one of these jumbo RVs and stashing the stuff in there, but even then you'd have to rent a place to park the RV, and that could cost you a Third World GNP. If your luck's anything like mine, it'd break down in the parking lot of that new Dallas Cowboys football stadium, and they charge you $50,000 an hour to loiter there, even if you're broke down. That's twice as much as Jerry charges his players or members of his own immediate family to park. The upshot is, in one day it can cost you a million dollars to park a rig in there that doesn't contain anything but a bunch of old broken furniture. And there's no tail-gating. That's how surreal life in 21st Century America has become.
So I know storage (or in your case stowage) is a mess, a big problem for the small businessman such as yourself, and I sympathize sincerely, and I also know that these little bring-me-this and bring-me-that whippersnappers don't know and don't care and don't wear any underwear. All they want is their stocking filled, and leave them alone till this time next year.
As evidence of my new and improved Christmas attitude, I eliminated nearly everything worthwhile from my gimme list, like the Senate did the health-care reform bill. For example, I took out all four of last year's major requests (which you ignored anyway, and thanks a lot for that) — for a massive personal bailout, a giant executive bonus for really pisspoor on-the-job performance, a humongous wardrobe allowance of the type gifted on high-jugged tundra tooties seeking elective office, and a stupendous signing bonus in the range that ball players who can hit .242 and drive in 18 or 19 runs a season have come to expect. All scratched from the list.
And this year I've also scratched the longstanding request for a Nobel Peace Prize. I mean, it would be nice — the stipend part particularly — but they've become so common that who needs ‘em. It's not like there's any longer an element of having earned one.
I don't think it betrays over-acquisitiveness to say we could use a few more Christmas doodads or whatnots to set around the house. We don't have more than a hundred thousand of them already, and there are all sorts of shelves, window sills, countertops, commode water-tank lids, and other surfaces with entire square inches yet unoccupied. Just a few dozen would brighten up the storm cellar, and give a nice holiday gleam to all the silverfish in the crawlspace.
Have a good trip, Santa. Don't forget click it or ticket. We'll have nosh on the bar for the pullers.
Your pal, Assmunch.
Bob Lancaster, one of the Arkansas Times longest and most valued contributors, retired from writing his column last week. We’ll miss his his contributions mightily. Look out, in the weeks to come, for a look back at some of his greatest hits. In the meantime, here's a good place to start.
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