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JIM SHEA Finding fault with all the fa-la-la-la

December 16, 2018

Christmas is just nine days away.

Are we merry enough yet?

Have we reached our quota of ho-ho-ho and fa-la-la-la?

History tells us we will make it through the coming week. History tells us it will not be easy.

History tells us it will all be worth it in the end.

Actually, history doesn’t tell us this. This is what we tell ourselves. This is how we rationalize the hassle, the frustration, the shop until your drop, the freaking loops of holiday tunes that are so saccharine they make elevator muzak sound like heavy metal.

At risk of sounding a bit unhinged, I have gotten to the point where the sounds of the season have me thinking the only good chipmunk is a dead chipmunk. And, also, that “A Holly Jolly Christmas” should have resulted in Burl Ives being imprisoned for crimes against humanity.

Anyway, as long as I’m in rant mode here, let me air a few other grievances I have with “the most wonderful time of the year:”

Driveway Christmas presents

If television advertising is to be believed, the only people who will be truly merry come Christmas morning are those who wake up to find a luxury vehicle in the driveway.

I hate these commercials. No other advertisements put more of a damper on the average person’s holiday experience than these obnoxious spots. They make one feel so inadequate. There the woman in the ad is surprising her husband with a new Lexus. Here, the woman in your life is surprising you with a pair of pants.

Does it make me a bad person to secretly hope that when the recipient jumps into his all-wheel-drive trinket it doesn’t start? Am I alone here? Be honest, would you chip in to fund a commercial in which the Christmas car is shown being towed from the driveway?

Sparkly things

We have been brainwashed to believe that nothing says I love you like diamonds. But do diamonds really say that? Actually, what such a gift says is I love you so much that I have just put us in serious financial jeopardy to buy these earrings. We need to adjust our thinking. We need to embrace a new slogan, one which declares: Nothing says I love you like cubic zirconia.

Personal assistant

OK, I admit having an assistant like Alexa at your beck and call is appealing. And yes, it would be convenient to just bark out orders like turn on the lights, close the garage door, answer the phone, play “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.”

But if “A Space Odyssey 2001” taught us anything it is that you never want to turn over control of your living quarters to a computer.

“Alexa, turn on the news.”

“I’m sorry Dave, I can’t do that.”

“Alexa, turn on the news.”

“No, Dave, the news makes you too upset. You’re better off without it.”

“Alexa …”

“I’m turning off the lights, Dave, and playing some Strauss. It will make you feel better.”

Digital doohickies

All the latest tablets, watches, phones, and laptops are very, very cool and can do wonderful, wonderful things. They also come with issues.

For one thing, all these devices interact with each other, usually behind your back. So who knows what goes on there.

Then there is the matter of each new gadget needing a password and logon. Anybody out there who doesn’t have enough passwords to remember?

Finally, there is the learning curve as you try to figure out how to actually use your new toy.

Is that Mariah Carey I hear singing “All I Want for Christmas Is a Geek.”

Jim Shea is a lifelong Connecticut resident and journalist. jimboshea@gmail.com; Twitter: @jimboshea.

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