Once again, Walmart has provided me with one of the most unusual and unsettling experiences I’ve had in some time.
I hate to support Walmart but it was necessary to do some big box store shopping in order to finish up my Xmas capitalism blowout. After twenty minutes of pushing, shoving, and regretting my recent renouncing of cigarettes, I finally arrived at the cash register. No feeling of relief here, as the woman in line in front of me is holding a gun.
Now don’t panic, this woman was no robber. She had mom-perm like mad, and no self respecting armed robber would be caught dead with such a terrible ‘do. No this woman simply walked into the store, picked out the biggest, shiniest gun she could find, and bought it. For $59.95. Taxes in.
I’ve heard rumours of this sort of thing happening, mainly in gun happy USA. But here in Canada you can apparently arm yourself for less than the price of a more respectable perm than the one modeled by Shooty McHousewife. To make things even weirder the cashier took this all in stride and made jokes about being married to a hunter.
‘Har har har. My fat husband likes to shoot defenseless animals. He doesn’t even like deer meat, he just thinks they look better mounted on a wall. Har har har. By the way, I love your perm. Har har.’
And people wonder why I look shell shocked when I come home from the mall. I found out recently that the original inventor of the shopping centre was so depressed by what he had created, he moved to Europe to escape it. Turns out he hated cars and intended malls to be a social gathering place for pedestrians. Undoubtedly he’s buried under a parking lot somewhere. Stupid poetic injustice.
Xmas shopping did help me learn a valuable life lesson today. I cannot, under any circumstances, shop for underwear for myself when the men’s underwear department is filled with middle aged women buying tighty-whities for their sons and husbands. Sure I would look oh so fashionable in comparison as I picked out my somewhat stylish striped boxer-briefs, but I just couldn’t do it. Something about hordes of middle aged biddies knowing exactly what I’ve got on under my jeans makes me feel terribly vulnerable.
In retrospect, I should have camped out in the bra section. How fun would it be to snicker and point as they pick out their 68 double F’s? Turn about is fair play after all, but I probably would have been asked to leave after I’d laughed myself to tears.
Oh it’s hard to be a Jew at Christmas… But I bet it’s harder to be a recovering Christian at Christmas. As a former Christian now happily in remission I have no idea how to deal with the holidays. I couldn’t care less about the religious significance, and I’m disgusted by the blatant commercialism. Not that I won’t indulge, but that’s expected. It’s hard to sit around on Dec. 25th explaining why you didn’t buy anything for all the people who thought long and hard and still bought you a $10 gift certificate to Cotton Ginny.
Every time I see the hordes of acid wash jean wearing, donut eating, chain smoking, child dragging embodiments of all human misery running through the malls with rapidly melting credit cards I just want to scream. Why all the panic to find the perfect gift? Nobody is going to remember anyway. Anyone out there remember what you got last year from your parents or siblings or various far flung relatives? Of course not. What did you get them? Didn’t think so.
Christmas is not the most wonderful time of the year. It’s the one time of the year when people can feel good about verbally assaulting anyone who refuses to conform. Don’t like Christmas? Well then you’re a Scrooge. You’re a terrible human being who believes only in misery and hate. How dare you be allowed to live during the month of December? Cold hearted bastard. You’re as bad as that atheist vegetarian from work. She absolutely ruined my turkey dinner last year!
Not a Christian? Well that’s okay. We’re PC now. We respect your diverse beliefs and customs. But you’re still coming to my kid’s Christmas concert right? And you got my Christmas card in the mail didn’t you? Don’t forget you’re working Christmas this year too. I didn’t think you’d mind since you’re not Christian and all. I’ll be busy with all my Christmas dinners and parties, so thanks again for covering for me. Have fun!
And who decided that Christmas is a month long deal? (ordeal?) Some places drag out the decorations as soon as Halloween is over. Speaking of Halloween, that’s a holiday I can understand. Don’t like Halloween? Peachy. Turn off your lights, lock the door, and go out for dinner somewhere. If you’re lucky you won’t see a single trick or treater. And in case you make that fatal mistake of admitting in public that you don’t like October 31st? Big fucking deal. In fact, lots of people will agree with you. No ridicule or public condemnation, guaranteed!
So this is my plan for Christmas this year. I’ve devised a single, scripted response to deal with any Christmas related interaction. It goes like this:
The real beauty is this works almost anywhere. Someone wishes you Merry Christmas? “Fuck off!” Carollers fa-la-la-la-laing at your door? “Fuck off!” Hot guy pulls you under the mistletoe for a little Christmas cheer?
Well, I guess that’s the exception to the rule. Merry Christmas!
Am I the only person who finds the automatic grammar check included with most current word processing programs really offensive? Let’s just imagine for a moment what the world would be like if everyone obeyed the rules indicated by the little green underlining. I’d be bored as shit! Canadian literature would be non-existent without colloquialisms and randomly inserted vulgarity. And sentence fragments? Love them. Lost without them.
I am fully aware that I do not write, or talk for that matter, in perfect grammatical form. I happen to enjoy not obeying all of the rules. In fact, I enjoy it when other writers bend the rules from time to time. If we all obeyed the little green lines then every blog hosted on this site would read like an instruction manual for a microwave or universal remote.
Now I’m worried that this feature is having an adverse effect on the quality of written material available today. Nobody in their right mind writes with a typewriter or a pen anymore, not if they’re writing something of any length. Is it possible that the computer grammar police are leading to books and magazines written in bland, colourless style? Like that utter piece of shite, 2 ‘The magazine for couples’. Absolutely nauseating, although I doubt WordPerfect is to blame for that helpless mess.
In order to improve on the quality of today’s reading materials, I’m asking all my faithful readers (I’m looking at you three!) to do two things. First, turn off the little green lines. Your grammar is just fine. And if it isn’t? Fuck it. Who really cares about grammar anyway? I’ll take artistic expression any day, thank you very much.
Second, make sure that your word program is set to the proper language! In a disgusting display of American imperialism (sorry, had to throw in a little propaganda) most word processing programs are set to American English for the default language. This results in writing atrocities like the words color, splendor, center, ad nauseum. Not only do these words when properly spelled get a little red line, they actually get replaced automatically! Try all you want, you will never write about the colourful splendour of the shopping centre ever again! (Not that you should, down with materialism and all. Again, sorry.)
And finally a few helpful suggestions. omitting capital letters is not cute omitting punctuation is annoying AND CAPS LOCK IS FOR EMERGENCIES ONLY. And pleaz, leav the spel cheker on. It’s their four a reson.
For homework, read my blog every day. Nine out of ten doctors agree that reading my blog prevents prostate cancer.*
*Test subjects were women aged 12-14. Doctors may not be medical doctors.
Obviously I changed my mind re: the whole protest thing. How could I really miss out on one of the largest political protests Halifax has ever seen? And try as I might, I am still mightily offended by Bush, and it’s my democratic right (Remember those America? You had them once too) to show my frustration with his administration any way I can.
Besides, Barrington Street looks really fucking cool when you’re marching down the centre of it with 5000 other angry people. I can’t understand how my parents grew up in the 60’s and 70’s and have never gone to a demonstration of any kind. Obviously a terrible oversight on their part.
But on to the biggest news of the day. I saw Bush. I actually saw him and got to give him the finger. Not my most mature hour I’m sure, but I feel much better anyway. Despite feeling great and socially active and all, I’m very disappointed with some of my peers. One actually railed against protesting because she thought we should all be excited that a celebrity was coming to Halifax. Um, hello, this is your conscience calling? Remember me? Yeah well that ‘celebrity’ is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis, and lord knows how many Texans. (Down with capital punishment too while we’re in a protesting mood.)
Others were being ridiculous in more subtle ways. A surprising number of usually lucid people were actually impressed by Bush’s speech. He was so funny! Yeah he’s a fucking knee-slapper. Oh wait, no he’s a fucking fascist, that’s it.
Fascist is a word I hate to use. I think Dan Savage yelled at people for it once, telling them to keep it in reserve until we really need it. Well I’m sorry folks, but is anyone else out there worried that we might be headed in that direction? Let’s see, stirring up hate of minorities (me, etc.), declaring war on sovereign countries, stripping away civil liberties (hello ‘patriot’ act), and weakening the UN. Add in the fact that he’s a religious nutball and a big old fan of the death penalty and I actually feel pretty bad for Americans.
From the excerpts I heard of Bush’s speech it looks like he was going for folksy and down home charming, as usual. For a pretty folksy and down home province, I really don’t think Nova Scotia bought it for the most part. From what I hear he made jokes about PEI potatoes and Alberta beef. Since he’s doing nothing to stop the US ban on these two products, maybe he should just shut the fuck up rather than go for the polite chuckle. Or here’s an idea. Make some jokes about common sense, decency, and responsibility. Stick with the theme George, those have all been banned from the US for at least four years now.