Now that the government has reluctantly admitted that our country is in a recession (a fact the rest of us have known for months), a big load has lifted from my mind. I no longer have to stammer and squirm awkwardly when explaining to my friends and family that my Holiday gift giving will be severely curtailed this year. Unfortunately, a few callous, insensitive folks are unwilling to graciously accept this reality. These hedonistic monsters respond by irrationally lashing out with the cutting retort that I have told them the same thing every year for the last two decades, including the year I bought the Porsche and took a Bermuda cruise. As if that had anything to do with anything. I don’t let them get under my skin, though. I just take a deep breath, look them serenely in the eye and firmly but kindly quote the old proverb, “You can beat a dead horse to water, but you can’t kill two birds of a feather up a creek without a paddle.” That always shuts them up. They quickly hurry off, reflecting deeply on my sagacious wisdom.
I have a little more trouble keeping my cool with another group of jokers, though. I guess a recession brings out the worst in human nature. There is a surprisingly large contingent of characters on my Christmas list who have responded in a much more brutal way. When I explain the fiscal circumstances that necessitate my withdrawal from the gift giving process, they will smirk out a snide little grin, which I suppose is intended to simulate empathy, and twitter, “That’s no problem. I understand perfectly. In fact we’ve decided to do the same thing this year. After all, Christmas is more than gifts, isn’t it?” Then they reach out and paw me condescendingly on the shoulder. I tell you, when they do that, it takes all of my self control to restrain myself from grabbing them by a big fistful of armpit hair and yanking like it was a starter cord and they were a snow machine!
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