It was Tuesday, Nov. 12, when I heard the first Christmas song at the mall: "Everybody's Waiting for the Man with the Bag." A more easily disproved sentence is hard to imagine. No one, two weeks before Thanksgiving, exists in a state of vibratory anticipation for the appearance of Santa Claus.
The next song informed me that "We Need a Little Christmas! Right this Very Moment!" — as if I should go to a store and buy an ounce of Artisanal Christmas Chunks. I left before I could hear about Santa Claus coming right down Santa Claus Lane, which suggests a streak of megalomania. You could accept "Here Comes Donald Trump, Here Comes Donald Trump, Right Down Donald Trump Lane," but Santa's not like that.
You resolve not to get into the Spirit on their schedule. On the other hand, Christmas is imminent, and it's not too cold; let's get the lights up before you're stringing stiff wires with hands so numb you might as well have canned hams attached to your wrist.
Yes, this is the year! I'm going to be that plan-ahead guy! Then I'll file my taxes and get a tetanus shot!
When I took down Christmas lights 10 months ago, I tested them before I put them away, neatly wound around spools. I get them out and they've managed to tangle themselves up into a hideous wad; they will be as easy to untangle as a can of fish hooks that spent an hour in a paint shaker.
Tested them; half didn't light. There's a surprise. The box always says "One goes out, the others stay lit," but this actually means "when three people from our factory are drinking heavily at the bar, one of them returns to work, sobered by the long walk, and the other two stay behind and remain intoxicated."
So what happened with the lights? wife asks. Oh, the Stuxnet virus. I don't know. Point is, it's not even Thanksgiving and I feel behind: Some neighbors not only have them up, but TURNED ON.
Ahem. Turning on the lights before Thanksgiving is the equivalent of holiday music in the mall a fortnight before Thanksgiving — which is to say, a battle we lost before we heard there was a war.
When it comes to rushing the season, we need a little patience. Right this very moment.