Monday, December 22, 2014

I hope you can handle some sad stuff for the Song That Vaguely References Xmas, Plus Photos

The song, to listen to in the background while you read my rant, perhaps, is "Darling Lorraine" by Paul Simon:

It's a really sad song, but it mentions Xmas, so it makes the list.  T

It seems like sad things that happen around Xmas (or any holiday, but Xmas is the big one) is sadder, somehow, and I have a thought about why that is. If a terrible thing happens on, say, August 3, well, big deal. While there's lots of August 3rds, it's not like you are aware that August 3 is coming around again, so there's nothing special about August 3 (or whatever day) to trigger that bad memory.

But when something bad happens near Xmas, every year you have all these Xmas things popping up to remind you that "Oh yeah it's that time of year again where that terrible thing happened."

I've always been of the opinion, therefore, that you cannot make something bad happen to someone during the holiday season without being an awful person yourself.  You can't fire someone, or break up with someone, or do anything awful to that person from about mid-November until mid-January.*

*Yeah yeah blah blah blah what if you really have to? Companies lay off people all the time during the holidays, because managers of those companies are a**holes.  Seaworld and their related companies just laid off a bunch of people. Do you think they didn't know that their company was in trouble? Do you think back in June and July and August they had no idea that their company was doing bad? They could've cut those people loose so they might have new jobs by now, or at least the shock would've worn off.  Instead, they sent those people home about a week before Xmas with terrible news.  I hope the executives who made that decision die choking on a bone from their fat Xmas goose. As an owner of a business for the last four years I can tell you that you absolutely know how your company is doing all year and that there is no reason to fire someone for economic reasons at the holidays. If you don't cut them loose by November 1, you suck it up until January 10. Jesus.  Seriously: Jesus, take a look at those people. They deserve some scrutiny.
That's something to think about for the next few days: should you patronize companies that lay people off in December? I say boycott them and destroy them economically.  All the energy that goes into protesting Black Friday (which helps spur sales and saves jobs, and provides jobs for people more on that in a minute) should go into protesting EVERY COMPANY THAT FIRES PEOPLE JUST BEFORE XMAS.

I mean, HONESTLY.  99.9% of our Xmas traditions come from "A Christmas Carol", a major point of which is that rich employers shouldn't be so horrible to their poor employees, and yet we protest people having money to spend and meekly sit back and take it as company after company after company fires people at Xmas.

The companies laying people off include Seaworld, which finds it uneconomical to be the target of protests for torturing semi-intelligent marine mammals, and I don't have time for a discussion of the irony inherent in Seaworld being more punished for torture than the Republicans, Princess Yachts, Inpex, Holden Hardwood, among others I found in 0.00001 seconds.  There's probably one near you and you should definitely not do business with that company anymore.  So don't buy Princess Yachts or go see Shamu this Xmas, at the least.

This is my Xmas guilt trip before I get back to having fun.  There's lots to think about in the final two days before we all take a breather to spend time with our families and lose the gift cards in the wrapping paper and have to go empty every bag of trash on Xmas morning.**

**That is an annual tradition in our house. I am the one who gets to search.
As we all head off to two completely useless days of work this week before being forced to return for a completely useless day on Friday -- companies know that you will not get much done this week but force you to come into work rather than give you a paid day off out of spite and again I know this for a fact.  (I would myself have given people at least Friday off with pay, but I was outvoted), here are some other things to think about:

More and more people are working two jobs to get through the holidays and have some money, reports Huffington Post. 30% of Americans now have incomes that vary week-to-week or month-to-month.  And it only recently became illegal in some small parts of the country to use computers to create horrible schedules for low-wage employees that make it impossible for them to use regular daycare or plan their lives at all.  For an idea of just how bad it can be for low wage workers -- many of whom are trying to better their lives -- read this New Yorker article about Jaime Navarro and terrible it was for her to try to go to school and get a driver's license while she worked at Starbucks.  I don't know how she kept going.

Did you order something for yourself or someone this Xmas? Here's a story on Grantland about what the order fulfillers' lives are like.  They walk 8-12 miles a day and have to wear belts to work because they lose so much weight during their shifts.  LOVE THAT KOBE BRYANT UNIFORM YOU GOT ME BRO.

Amazon, by the way, requires those workers to wait 25 minutes to leave the building for security screenings.  The US Supreme Court just ruled that the workers don't get paid for that time.  Tonight, when you leave work, finish up everything you had to do, clock out, put on your coat, grab your stuff, and then stand by the door for 25 minutes before leaving.  BUT HEY, they should be trying to better themselves, right? It's their fault they got stuck in deadend jobs and they should get out of them.  (Now go back and actually read that New Yorker article)

And the picture:

Whenever I get down at Xmas, I just talk to Mr Bunches.  Mr Bunches loves Xmas more than anyone loves anything.  He's gone from not being sure what it was all about to embracing everything that makes Xmas good. Sometimes he just sits and looks at the Xmas tree, and then says "Dad, do you love Xmas?"

I do.  And that's why I worry that what other people do will make Xmas terrible for someone.  This whole rant was brought on by the fact that I have, personally, had to fight against that happening -- with mixed results, and I can't discuss it much, yet (if ever) -- and now it's Xmas week and not only am I drained from that, but I have to worry that the people I couldn't help have a better Xmas are themselves suffering in their homes this week.  Of course, they're not -- they're suffering in their offices.

I frequently say on here how much I hate people. It's not true.  I don't hate all people.  I just hate the people who need hating.

The fun stuff'll be back tomorrow.  Happy Monday.

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