It's clich to write serious stuff, stuff that's designed to make holiday revelers spend less time thinking of themselves and more time thinking of those who're experiencing anything but reverie this holiday season.
Just cause it's cliche, doesn't make it wrong. (See Dickens, Charles Shultz, Dr. Seuss)
There's Rob, who nine months ago had "a pain in my side," that when checked turned out to be only a bit of the cancer that was present throughout a great deal of his body. Hmmm, one day you're eating kale after a hearty hike, the next you're hearing you've less than a year to live. Rob did well through treatment, continuing his workouts and happily communing with friends ... for six or so months, then his health went south. He died a week ago.
There's the ma and pa and extended family that received a call one early July morning notifying them their twenty-one year old boy died in a car accident. The wood the son and his buddy had earlier that morning blocked hadn't even spilled from the bed of the truck. It's still laying in the bed, five months later.
Another "I had a pain in my side," that less than a year later turned into a "two months to live," verdict, has Joe living a quarter mile from the wife he's separated from and divorcing. She brings him food, says he's depressed. So for Joe's Christmas there's the dying, and the hard feelings from the bitter divorce that pre-dates his diagnosis. And a Fa la la la la to you too.
The doc called Polly in for a second mammogram to make sure a bit of calcification shouldn't be a major concern. Turned out it was. The calcification turned out to be a stage zero cancer, which is the stage you want if you have to have cancer. Polly had two choices; have a lumpectomy and radiation, or, a more for sure cure, have a breast removed. She went for the for sure cure. The operation went perfectly well, and better yet, the biopsy of the surrounding lymph nodes showed not a trace of any cancer. None. All systems for more life lived long are go. Polly will be home for this and many holidays to come, but still, not a treat of an experience to go through, and a good deal of adapting lies ahead.
I'll not suggest during this holiday season (or any time) we should go around being sad, or trying to feel empathy for those who're going through very trying times;
I'll not suggest we should spend any amount of time sending positive thoughts to folks who're suffering;
I'll not suggest we volunteer somewhere, if only during the holidays;
I'll suggest we clear our fantastic lives of all crazy thoughts and ill feelings and self-imposed bull crap "stress" we stew about much too often, and realize we've got it made.
Yeah, that includes you guys who say you dread Christmas and like Thanksgiving better because Christmas has become too commercial. Big damn deal man. You know, you don't have to pay attention to the commercialism. I should say if you're too often getting nailed directly between the eyes by the commercialism, you might be spending too much time paying attention to the wrong thing, ... so, turn off the television, go to the kitchen and make yourself a ginger ale float, then put on your jammies, set in your comfy chair and read a Christmas poem. Or do something.
Christmas is what you want it to be my buddy.
Shape and wise up, cause next year you might wish you could be bothered by all the commercialism our modern Christmas season might bring.
Rusty DeWees tours Vermont and Northern New York with his act "The Logger." His column appears weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Listen for The Logger, Rusty DeWees, Thursdays at 7:40 on the Big Station, 98.9 WOKO