Shootin' the Breeze


by "Bummer"

 
 
bummer@abate.com

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December 2008

   HO HO HO!…MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!!!

   I hope everyone voted in the recent Presidential Election, and that you all voted responsibly. If not we’re ALL gonna have to pay for it. If ya didn’t vote, or you voted for somebody different than I did, shame on you and I hope each of YOU get a quart of very used motor oil poured into yer stockings.

    Please note: I have intentionally never given my opinion of WHO to vote for, since that wouldn’t be right and you probably wouldn’t care what I thought anyway. Ya see, this way I can bitch no matter WHO won (remember that I’m writing this in late October).

    Anyway, since it’s the time of year to be merry and for peace on Earth, I guess those of us who DO have our acts together can be big enough to forgive all you idiots out there who don’t and be satisfied with the fact that YOU TOO have to live with the results of what ya done (or didn’t do!). No matter how ya look at it, what is done is done. So, moving on……


    I remember a few years ago I was hanging out with an OLD friend named Pappy who was living in a local nursing home. He and I sat in his room one day talking about the Holidays:

    “Christmas just doesn’t seem like Christmas anymore Bummer.”
    “How so Pappy?”
    “Well for one thing, every year the stores seem to put out their Christmas displays earlier and earlier. Pretty soon they’ll be starting in the damned summer! Also, the stuff people buy for their kids are so screwed up!”
    “Whatcha mean?”
    “Everything is all about technology, unless it’s downright stupid! Video games! I mean, who in the Hell would want their kids to stay glued to a video game all the time, unless it’s just a convenient babysitter and a way NOT to interact with them?”
    “Now Pappy, I hear there’s some pretty cool video games out there, although I never really got into that.”
    “Oh, I bet there are. But like everything else in life, you have to be selective. What kind of violence there is in it, how much TIME you let them use it and how much they can learn from it should determine whether or not they get video games for Christmas. Do these parents actually think that sittin’ there playing a video game where the characters commit mayhem and murder is gonna teach their kids anything other than how to turn into a bunch of low life punks?........
    ....... “AND, when I was a kid we got presents that let them exercise more than their thumbs and fingers. Like toy guns and such. What are you smiling at?”
    “Toy guns ain’t violent? Pappy, people stopped buying toy guns for their kids long ago. I don’t even know if most stores even stock them. It became politically incorrect.”
    “Oh? Well I’m surprised this computer-generated crap isn’t also! I’ve looked at these video games and most of ‘em are downright BRUTAL! When we were kids we knew we were just PLAYING at some violence. But this video stuff actually gets into the kids brains! They BECOME the killers. And they stay indoors while they’re doing it. The kids in my neighborhood spent hours playing outside in the fresh air and sunshine. We played army, or cowboys and Indians. Or G-Man.”
    “What’s G-Man?”
    “A G-Man was a Fed….a Government Man. Kinda like the ATF or Home Security….an FBI kinda guy. One or more of us would be a gangster and the rest of us would be G Men trying to get the bad guys. I got the Hell beat outta me once for messing up my old man’s new Fedora (a type of hat) while pretending to be Al Capone.”
    “Ya know they have gangster video games the kids play now.”
    “Sure. And the kid sits on his ass fantasizing about drive by shootings and killing people just for the Hell of it. The word ‘Gangster’ doesn’t even have the same meaning now. They don’t even spell it the same….’Gangsta’…..sheesh!.......
........“And that’s something else…..With all these kids text messaging each other all the time, they’ve probably forgotten how to spell whole words in the English language, if they ever knew..........
.........“And THAT’S another thing. What’s with parents giving these kids cell phones? The thought of giving a kid a damned PHONE for Christmas woulda made for some disappointed kids in my day. What happened to basketballs and bicycles? A phone isn’t a toy! When I was little I used to have a big sack of toy soldiers I used to carry around. I’d spread ‘em all out under a big old oak tree in the back yard and have HUGE battles! That was way better than any toy or video game! At least it helped to develop my imagination. Video games require NO imagination!”
    “They have toy soldiers now Pappy.”
    “I didn’t see any. Unless ya mean those big things that look more like DOLLS to me than toy soldiers. How can ya carry around a bag of them?”
    “Did ya have a BB gun Pappy?”
    “Sure did! And I didn’t put anybody’s eye out either!”
    “Ya got anything GOOD to say about Christmas nowadays?”
    “Not really. It seems the only time anyone around here smiles about Christmas is when they’re talking about their PAST Christmases. These days it’s been SO commercialized there’s nothing left except the carols that’s anything like it used to be.....
...... “I remember snowy nights when me and my mom and dad would ride around in the car just to look at all the Christmas lights. My favorites were the blue ones. Mom would bring a thermos of hot chocolate. Do people still do that?”
    “They must. A lot of people have some pretty outrageous decorations on their houses, so SOMEBODY must be cruisin’ around lookin’ at ‘em.”
    “Well, that would be ONE tradition that’s still around then. How about bell ringers for the Salvation Army?”
    “We still see a few bell ringers.”
    “Good. I did that one year when I was a teenager and froze my ass off. They set me up in front of a store where I didn’t get much, so I moved to the front of a bar and got some MAJOR change! Here’s one….Do people ever put up REAL trees?”
    “Sure they do. I know quite a few that do that still.”
    “Good. What about baking cookies and all that stuff? My mom used ta go nuts on baking every year.”
    “You bet. My old lady Julie bakes up a storm!”
    “Great! If ya need anyone to take some of it off yer hands, I guess I can help ya out……I guess maybe Christmas is still sorta what it should be. We just gotta flat out ignore all the crap that big business has turned it into.”
    “What do YOU want for Christmas Pappy?”
    “A pint of Jack and a carton of smokes.”
He answered that so fast I shoulda seen it coming! I think it was a set up.

    Oh well, like I said that was some time ago and I DID manage to smuggle a pint and a carton of cigs into the home for him.
    On a related note, I’ve written a book about Pappy containing some of the stories ya might have read here, some ya couldn’t have because they were never in print and about what’s happened to him. Recently a reputable publishing company accepted the manuscript (Finally!!). Of course I’ll let ya know more about THAT, and how to get hold of one if ya like, after it’s gone to the printers.

    See ya’ll next year, and remember that there’s a whole bunch of amateur drunks out on the streets on New Year’s Eve. Be extra careful if yer goin’ out!

                    Bummer

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