Not many strangers walk in the door here at the offices of Bah & Humbug, Inc.
Most times, when the front door opens, a familiar face follows.
In keeping with our motto (Helping you suck all the joy out of life since 1270 A.D.), we keep the lights turned low at Bah & Humbug. We find a dark interior helps lower any optimistic expectations our, um, clients might have when they pay a visit.
But you dont need much light to recognize the regulars.
They shuffle into our drab facility with bowed heads and stooped shoulders. Their body language fairly screams, Im a victim. Ive given up on finding the joy of life.
Ive never looked, but I almost feel like some of these lost souls might have a Kick Me sign pinned to their backs. Might as well have, I dont think it would make them any more miserable than they already are, and it would be kinda funny.
So imagine my surprise (and annoyance) the other morning when the office door burst open and young fellow came bursting inside.
Merry Christmas, he beamed, tossing me a smile brighter than a 1,000-watt light bulb.
Oh, how we hate hearing that here at Bah & Humbug!
Kind sir, please refrain from using that sort of language in this establishment, I hissed back through my clinched yellow teeth. We cant help you feel bad about yourself and your life if youre going to go around spouting that kind of nonsense.
And its true. Ive been here since our founders (Beez L. Bubb and G. Loom Anddoom) opened up shop all those years ago.
We enjoy helping the world throw a giant Pity Party, one client a time. Its not just a job, its a passion, you might say.
Folks like this Sammy Sunshine fellow give me the heebie jeebies, to tell you the truth.
Well now, old timer, thats why Im here, the stranger boomed. To put an end to this nonsense about telling folks they cant wish each other a Merry Christmas.
Oh, stop it now, I said. Youre hurting my pointed ears with that kind of talk.
But I wont stop, the stranger slowly said, still flashing his pearly whites at me in a way that made my ancient skin crawl. Headquarters has had enough of your spreading gloom and doom to the good people of this planet. They sent me to spread the word. From now on its okay to say Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa or whatever it makes you happy to say this time of year.
Thank goodness the bosses dont come around here any more. If they heard this kind of optimistic talk, theyd spin around three times and fall through the floor. Ive seen it happen.
This is the time of year of counting blessings, giving thanks, eating fruitcake, enjoying a cup of Wassail, this Johnny Just-Keep-A Smilin was saying. Its a time for celebrations, enjoying family and friends and remembering the real Reason for the Season.
Geez, this fellow could ruin our whole Its Cool To Be Politically Correct campaign with that kind of talk.
Greeting folks with Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah is not some sort of religious put-down, the stranger was saying. Its meant as an expression of gladness in the season, no matter what your beliefs might be. Its okay to be happy. Its not okay to put other people down or feel superior, but folks should be able to express their feeling without feeling like the Politically Correct Police are going to issue them a citation for opening their mouths.
Tell your bosses theres a new sheriff in town, Harry Happy beamed at me as he walked out the door. And tell them I wish them a Merry Christmas, you hear. And one for you too, little fella.
Ill do no such thing, of course. The bosses would probably melt into a puddle of goo if those words were uttered in their presence.
And our customers might actually start feeling good about themselves if they heard that repeated often enough.
I know, because when the stranger wished me a Merry Christmas, my own spirits lifted, if just for a second.
No way Id keep my job here at Bah & Humbug, Inc. if the bosses ever found THAT out.
Wayne Knuckles is the acting-Publisher of the Dawson News & Advertiser. He can be reached at 706-265-2345 or firstname.lastname@example.org.