Saturday, December 31, 2011

Somebody stop that Lord a-leaping, we're trying to have a meeting here.

Hey, here's a little pre-Christmas whimsy that I never got around to finishing. Still haven't.

Sign at the Post Office: "Your Official Shipper for the Holidays."

You see that "official" tag all the time, usually on those cash-in-quick-on-the-bandwagon paperback humor books, such as The Official Preppy Handbook or The Official I Hate All Memes Especially Baby-talking Cats Handbook.

But apart from sheer meaningless chutzpah -- which, as a putative author, I do not denigrate -- what makes anything official if there's no governing body or proprietorial issues involved?

It can't be that the Post Office is a branch of the U.S. government. Those "Holidays" are rooted in religion, and that gets us perilously close to certain First Amendment issues. And let's face it, despite the political correctness, we're basically talking Christmas here, because none of the other seasonal holidays seems to require the ceremony of standing in line at the Post Office for three hours with a stack of boxes in Target gift-wrap. Anyway, nobody knows how to spell Hanukkah.

Now, even without exhuming Mithras and Saturnalia and a bunch of druids, you can argue that Christmas has long had a secular significance as well as a religious one. Atheists can enjoy singing "God Rest You, Merry Gentlemen," even though his existence and thus his ability to rest anyone, merry or morose, a gentleman or a vulgarian, is a moot point -- just as we can do karaoke without being convinced that somewhere, over the rainbow, bluebirds fly or that the Flintstones really were the modern stone-age family or that Bruno Mars would really catch a grenade for ya.

But if there is any official body for the holidays, you can bet that religion is still well represented . . .


Judas Maccabbeus presiding, George Bailey minutes secretary (Apology for absence: Jacob Marley. No apology for absence: Ebenezer Scrooge)

ITEM 346: Appointment of an official shipper.

Mr. Wenceslas reported that he had received fifty-seven requests for the position of official shipper, which the subcommittee had narrowed to five finalists: the United States Postal Services (USPS), United Parcel Service (UPS), Federal Express (FEDEX), two guys in Bensonhurst with their own van, and a runner with a cleft stick who knew all the words to "Santa Claus is Coming to Town"* . . .

And that's where I basically lost the will to live and shut down the blog for a month. It was going to end with Santa bursting in and complaining that he was the official shipper, but then you could see that coming a mile off. You want Christmas humor, go see The Muppets.

*And for future reference, Mr. Bieber, they don't include the phrase "Shake it, baby."