Skip to main content

Blue Christmas Lights


Despite all the tinsel and glow, all the shinny faces and families rushing around in their SUVs and minivans, Christmas can be a difficult time of the year for some people. An example? Recently a friend of mine was talking about grocery shopping with her husband and children. She came across the seasonal display of Little Debbie cakes, and began to pick up two boxes to mail to her grandfather. Upon putting them in the cart, she remembered that her grandfather passed away this year, she quietly, and sadly, placed the boxes back on the shelf.

Before you get me wrong, I'm not hating on Christmas. I love this time of the year, genuinely, not in a “Up next on the Donnie and Marie Christmas Special is Andy Ross and he's gonna read that off some cue cards” way. I suppose why I feel a need to talk about this, is that I felt a little down last Christmas. It was odd, I didn't even feel enthusiastic about making my annual Christmas Mix CD, which has become something people actually look forward to. Seasonal Holiday Depression? Maybe. I hesitate to say that was it, but perhaps it was a mild version of it.

My friend's story about the Little Debbie cakes reminded me of this. Because it doesn't matter how happy things around her might be this Christmas, there will be moments when she is reminded of her grandfather. It may be on Christmas Eve, or it may be when she turns and sees a photo of him, or catches a glimpse of his favorite ornament on the tree. Whenever it happens, she'll be sad for a moment, and I feel like it may be that for more people than we realize. I know I feel a little this way again this year, because my grandmother is in the nursing home for the first time during Christmas.

It breaks my heart to see her there. To see her one day and things are fine, then the next someone is having to feed her. It's hard sometimes to deal with the juxtaposition of that, and the other residents in the home, with hopping into your car and hearing “Jingle Bells” on the radio. You see this, your friend's heartbreak, and you think of how ridiculous it all is that this season starts with an event in which we shoot each other just to get a deal on a damn TV. When we die, no one is going to stand up and talk about how we once saved a lot of money in 2011. Instead, I would hope they would say what a good person we were, and how we made a point to make those who needed to feel less alone, less alone.

If we all took the amount of time and energy we spent to shove people out of the way for that TV, on actually helping people, we could make this world a better place. I suppose the point that I'm trying to make with all of this, is to tell you what I'd really like for Christmas. Humanity. I want a little more humanity in the world. I hinted at this a little bit at Thanksgiving, but I feel it's ever more important at this time of year to mention it again. Small gestures, nothing too big, just more kindness in the world.

It's my sincere wish for you and your family to have a very Merry Christmas, and that the coming year will be much better for us all. However, do me one favor, and remember that there are those who are hurting, those who—despite not showing any sign of pain on their face—may be doing all they can to not cry this season. So let's raise our glasses in hope. Hope for a better year to come, hope for those who will one day see light at the end of the tunnel, and hope that we all might—in our own little way—leave this world a better place than we found it. Merry Christmas to you all.  

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Where The Blues Are

I come to you again this week with another pair of blu-rays from those master celluloid handlers at Warner Archive. First up we have 1960’s “Where The Boys Are,” a defining teen picture of the era by MGM, and the film largely responsible for kicking off the whole cycle of 1960s beach films. The other is 1955’s “Pete Kelly’s Blues” a film starring, produced, and directed by Jack Webb--TV’s Joe Friday. Part of a deal Webb had made with Warner Brothers when he was setting up the original big screen version of “Dragnet” in the ‘50s. 
“Where The Boys Are” was set for the screen before the book it was based on had been released. Producer Joe Pasternak snatched up the rights to the book by Glendon Swarthout, which was originally titled “Unholy Spring.” Pasternak, strongly feeling “Where The Boys Are” would be the better title, persuaded Swarthout to change the book’s title. Pasternak also felt he could use the film as a starring vehicle for one of the stars of MGM’s record label, Connie Franc…

Red, White, and Blaine

In 1996 Christopher Guest returned to the mockumentary genre with his look at regional theater “Waiting for Guffman.” Guest, most famously, being one-third of the fictional rock band Spinal Tap in the perhaps the best mockumentary ever made, “This is Spinal Tap.” “Guffman” also kicks off the cycle of Christopher Guest directed mockumentaries. The films all using the same group of actors, and all written by Guest with Eugene Levy, both of whom also act in the films. Guest’s films are largely improved by the actors, with the written material serving as an outline for the film’s story.

“Guffman” takes place in the fictional town of Blaine, Missouri—a small town that is celebrating its 150th anniversary. Big dreamer and New York Transplant, Corky St. Clair (Guest) has created a musical celebration of the town called “Red, White, and Blaine.” The show within the show appears towards the end of the film, Guest teamed up with his "Spinal Tap” cohorts, Michael McKean & Harry Shearer, …

Twelve-Nine-Three

Picture it! Scilly, 1922! OK, actually Andy Ross’s Childhood Bedroom 1993. I had been given as a gift the dream attachment for my beloved Sega Genesis, the amazing Sega CD. For those of you young children who have only grown up in the era of XBox and Playstation, it may seem strange that there was once a time when the idea of playing a video game off of a compact disc was mind blowing. But it was, and I was fully ready to have my mind blown. To use a slogan of Sega’s ads of the era, I was ready to enter “The Next Level.”

The Sega CD model I had was the second one, the smaller model designed to go with the slimmer Genesis that had been introduced to the market. I had the first Genesis, the larger one, but the Sega CD came with an extension block that allowed it to partner it on the original model. You attached the Sega CD to your Genesis by a special connector on the side of system. The Sega CD came with a game to get you going, as was the norm with gaming systems at the time. The game …