You’re back?! Wow, I thought I would have lost you long ago.
But since you’re here, take off your coat, loosen up the belt, sit down and relax, while you read the third in a series of four holiday columns I wrote years ago when I was an opinion page editor for a newspaper in Northern California.
In the first column I wrote about the holiday spirit – and adults wrestling for cheap toys – and about a Texas lawmaker who irked Texas Christmas tree growers by putting in the Texas House of Representatives a plastic tree made in China. And the second column poked fun at me for my tardiness in shopping for the holidays.
This, the third in the series, again pokes fun at me for not beginning my holiday shopping until Boxing Day. This time I explain TGS, or typical guy syndrome.
And, as you see from the note at the end of the column, it did irk a few people. You never know what is gonna rile people.
Hey, call me Mr. Christmas
Editor’s note: The author was the opinion page editor at The Reporter in Vacaville, Calif., when this was first published on Dec. 22, 2004.
By Keith Michaud
’Tis that wacky season once again to be jolly and full of holiday cheer, to gather with family and friends to exchange gifts, good tidings and hopes for the coming year. It’s time to fa-la-la-la-la, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas. Just call me Mr. Christmas or Hap Holiday. Either will do.
Longtime readers – and you both know who you are – will recall that I occasionally suffer from seasonal onset TGS, or typical guy syndrome. TGS is caused by something attached to the Y chromosome or beamed into our heads during televised Sunday football games. It causes traits in guys that we just cannot shake, even if we wanted to.
TGS sufferers, who can live long, productive lives in captivity, are typically known for leaving shoes strewn throughout the living room, leaving half-eaten sandwiches on bookshelves and nightstands, and for not remembering which pile of laundry on the floor is clean and which is dirty, causing TGS sufferers to face the added ridicule associated with wearing dirty clothing in public.
And as I have written before, TGS sufferers can turn a simple house chore into a task equivalent to figuring out quantum physics. Things left in our refrigerators take on the air of a scientific experiment. (Remember, mold can be your friend.)
Perhaps the most significant trait of seasonal TGS sufferers is to postpone until the very last possible moment the purchasing of Christmas gifts. Why battle for weeks with the crowds at the mall? Just wait until Christmas Eve before starting out. The battle with the crowds goes on for a few hours and not for weeks.
Admittedly, the holiday gift selection is a bit limited for TGS shoppers. That may be why their family members sometime receive, well, interesting gifts. Sure, Aunt Girdy might not appreciate the bag of corn nuts in her stocking nor Uncle Bob the convenience-store coffee mug, but these are gifts from the heart for a TGS sufferer.
Fortunately, I was able to break the ugly grip of TGS just long enough to ship two packages to family in the Deep Dark North Woods of Maine. The packages made it there in plenty of time after a schooner trip around Cape Horn and up to Boston, a train ride to Kennebunkport, a mule train to Bangor, and two dog sleds north. So what if the packages my family received last week were the ones I sent last February for the previous Christmas. It’s the thought that counts. Besides, it’s not as if the spirit of Christmas past really comes to visit. Right? No, that’s a real question. They don’t, do they?
Like I said, call me Mr. Christmas.
Believe it or not, this column actually stirred up a touch of holiday controversy in Vacaville. More than one reader took me to task in phone calls and letters to the editor for the use of the phrase “Hap Holiday.”
One letter writer wrote in part:
“Although I applaud Keith Michaud’s willingness to be called ‘Mr. Christmas’ amid an era of ever-increasing political correctness, I couldn’t help but notice he went on to say that we could also call him ‘Hap Holiday’ in his recent column.
“This perhaps unintentional willingness to eliminate the name Christmas from this holiday has me baffled, yet not surprised.”
I really wasn’t trying to eliminate “Christmas” from the holiday, but my experience at this sort of thing led me to believe then – as it does now – that whatever I had to say in my defense would not have been accepted on face value.
The letter writer ended his rather long letter:
“Yeah, I know, this would make believers extremists. How ironic. The few who oppose Christianity have managed to turn Christians into radicals. Thus, perhaps unknowingly, Mr. Michaud proliferates politically correct propaganda and tells readers that calling him ‘Hap Holiday’ is fine with him.
“Well, it’s not fine with me. So you can call me Mr. Christmas.”
Well, at least someone is Mr. Christmas.