Friday, December 03, 2004

I may have to kill myself...

...if I hear another goddamn Christmas song before December 24th. Contrary to my crumudgeonly facade, I really do like the holidays. Hello, there are presents involved! People give me shit for no real reason! Who wouldn't love that? And I'm ready. I wasn't before, but I am now. It's cold (possibly flurries tomorrow!), Chanukah starts in a week, parties abound, decorations are pretty and make me smile, and on a purely technical level, it's December.

But enough is enough. New York has terrible FM radio (which has always surprised me, 'cause it's, you know, New York, and we're supposed to have good everything except manners and air) and I hardly ever listen to it. When I do, it's often around other people (at work, say, when there's no other means to entertain ourselves), so I tend to gravitate toward the bland and inoffensive adult-skewing Top 40 station (more Sheryl Crow, less Jessica Simpson, and a reasonably entertaining and almost intelligent morning show), or the bland and inoffensive "light" station (hits of the 70s, 80s, 90s and today!). (Other options include the younger-skewing Top 40 station that plays bands with names like Hoobastank that make me feel very old indeed, a dance station that's bad enough in the background at the gym, an R&B station whose DJs do things to the English Language that I wouldn't wish on Osama Bin Laden, and a "classic rock" station that apparently only owns four albums.)

Both of these stations -- not one, but both -- switched to an all-Christmas format on Thanksgiving. Is that really necessary? TWO radio stations in a single broadcast area playing 24/7 Christmas music? Who on earth thought that was a good idea? People seem to forget several key points here. One, that most holiday music is bad. Sure, we all have our favorites (of the modern ones, "Do They Know It's Christmas" is mine, and the U2 version of "...Baby, Please Come Home"), but even a classic carol can be ruined by a bad arrangement or Mandy Moore. Second, there just aren't enough holiday songs to fill a month. Sure, there are multiple recordings of the same songs, but those wear thin. And especially since in our travels we hear holiday music in many different sources, we tend to hear the same handful of the most popular numbers endlessly. Third, who wants to listen to one and only one style of music (and an awfully specific one, at that!) for an entire month?

The radio, at least, can be turned off or tuned out. It's shopping that kills me. And not just in the obvious Christmasy places like Macy's (not that I would ever set foot in Macy's this time of year), it's drug stores and supermarkets and Staples. There's no escape at all.

It was bad enough "Jingle Bell Rock" (perhaps the most hateful modern holiday song this side of "Christmas Shoes") was playing in Bath and Body Works, but one of the sales clerks had the chutzpah to actually jingle some bells at me. I nearly hit her. Lest I be accused of complete Scroogery, one of the items in my basket (and actually, the best bludgeoning weapon there) was a pine scented candle. I've got the fucking holiday spirit, dammit!

I didn't even notice until I got back to the office that my shopping bag says "I'm a Santa" on the side of it. No, actually, I am not a Santa. Leaving aside that I'm Jewish, I did not, in fact, buy a single gift at Bath and Body Works. I bought three items for myself. I am only a little bit chubby, am most certainly not jolly, and will freely admit that little people creep me out a little bit. How dare you label me, Bath and Body Works?

Give me my presents and stop singing already. I can't take another 23 days of this.

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