Wednesday, December 16, 2015

28 Xmas Stories, 19: "Grrrrr!"

American Bear Celebrates Xmas, American-Bear Style
When American Bear celebrates Xmas, he goes all out, American-Bear Style.  Sure there are the Xmas trees (one in the living room, one in the den, one small one for the bedroom window) lit up like the last days of Rome, or something else that gets lit up.  There is also the house, decorated (some would say garishly, but not to American Bear’s face) with the lights and the other lights and the inflatable Santas on the roof (four of them) and the snowmen (acrylic) in the yard waving (mechanically) at the passers-by, but those are unobjectionable to most people.  Also unobjectionable is American Bear’s habit of overspending on Xmas presents, for his friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, the mailman, the paperboy, the electric utility worker from the county, and sometimes just for random people like the time American Bear handed out gift cards to Starbucks™ at the local diner. 

That’s how American Bear rolls, American Bear would say.

What people tended to get a little upset about was that American Bear also launched fireworks on Xmas Eve, at midnight. Red, white and blue fireworks. Spinning star fireworks. Roman candles and bottle rockets and M-80s and even sometimes some fireworks American Bear bought in Kentucky that are not what you would call “street legal.” American Bear would blow these up, and shine spotlights on his Santas, and put out a Nativity scene that was very nearly life-size. (It was 7/8 size and you’d have to look close to not see that it was life-size) and the Jesus in it was a good American baby, and you know what I mean by good American baby,let’s not make an issue of this. The point is, the Jesus in American Bear’s crèche was Jesus the way American Bear and his (American) neighbors wanted Jesus to look.

The people who were not overly crazy about all this were the people who had small children, and the people who had elderly relatives, and the people who were just plain tired on Xmas Eve after a long holiday season and had just finished putting together (for example) a 775-piece Lego pirate ship so that the kids in the morning could have the thing ready to play with (and anyway they’d just end up putting it together tomorrow morning, honey, so why not get it over with tonight, and here’s some more egg nog with brandy?)

These people felt perhaps it was a bit… much, especially at midnight on Xmas Eve, when kids were trying to sleep and the elderly were trying to reminisce about how much better Xmas had been under Roosevelt, and etc.

Whenever these people thought they might talk to American Bear, ask him to tone it down just a bit, this is more or less what they would imagine:

People: Hey, American Bear, do you think this year perhaps you could not do the fireworks at midnight and the spotlights and all because that’s a bit much?
American Bear: What, don’t you like Jesus and America and Xmas? Because I love those things and want to celebrate them.
People: No we love those things as much as you do American Bear we just…[they would pause, wondering how to continue.]
American Bear: GRRRRR! [and they would imagine him eating them.]

In reality, American Bear thought his neighbors loved these things too. It never occurred to him they did not share his enthusiasm for garish and loud displays at midnight in celebration of the birth of the Lord, and Santa, and The Greatest Country Ever Made™. Had they simply asked him not to make such loud noises and manic disruptions, American Bear would have politely agreed not to do so. He would have found another way to display his incredible religious and democratic (with a small D) feelings. He also probably would have given them a present to show them hey no hard feelings.

That, too, is how American Bear rolls. They just didn’t know it.

PS: To any Romans offended by that comparison, I really wish that there was something else that was lit up which didn’t cause such pain thinking about it. I am sorry for the sacrifices that sometimes literature requires of us all. 


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