It was 3:15 p.m. on Nov. 6, and I was leaving school early for an orthodontist appointment. If only I had known of the holiday horror that I was about to experience.
Halloween had been only a week ago, and as my mother and I drove down American River Drive, there were still a few spiders and skeletons in some people’s yards.
However, once I entered the orthodontist office, I was played.
During my year-and-a-half of braces, I have always waited at least 15 minutes before I’m told to go in and have them do the “back-breaking work” of snapping rubber around metal in my mouth.
But that day, it was only a few moments before I set foot in what soon would become Dante’s “Inferno.”
I was lying in the orthodontist chair with my eyes shut. If Van Gogh were to paint me there, he would name the piece “Innocence before the Truth.”
Just as the assistant began looking at my mouth, out of nowhere I heard something more horrific than Hannibal Lecter, more annoying than Alvin and the Chipmunks on caffeine, and more out-of-place than Sarah Palin at a mosque envelop the office.
The painful chains wrapped around my teeth, squeezing my gums, were nothing compared to the swell in my ears from the “slay” bells ringing.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the holiday season. Its music isn’t all that bad either. But why do people start celebrating the December holidays with Thanksgiving still weeks away?
On Nov. 15, my ballet teacher started class by saying, “I know it’s a little early, but I just love this music.” She then proceeded to blast holiday music until students were forced to sit down due to a month-early case of déjà vu.
Anyway, it’s not just the music that is out of place; it’s also the consumerism. Target began broadcasting holiday commercials around Halloween, pushing shoppers to buy toys.
The pressure to buy holiday gifts in November just creates a problem. And when I say “problem,” I don’t mean a fundamental society issue. I mean a problem that is a perfect scenario for a math word problem, such as…
“If Johnny buys Sally three holiday gifts on Nov. 2, how many will he have misplaced by Dec. 16?”
Also before Thanksgiving break, Arden Hills Resort put up holiday-themed ads on billboards encouraging people to join.
As if people want to work out during the holidays – smart!
And the media isn’t any help. By early November, almost every feature story on the local television news relates to holiday spirit or shopping.
In fact, on Nov. 16, Fox 40 ran a story on what people in New Zealand put on their Christmas trees.
You’re probably guessing, “Oh, now he’s just going to say that journalists need to wait longer to talk about the holidays, and that by waiting, the news outlets wouldn’t be encouraging this premature holiday spirit, which would then cause people to wait just several more weeks before celebrating the holidays, ending the malevolence that is impatience in spirit.”
No, I wasn’t going to say any of that. I was just going to commend the beauty of the Pōhutukawa tree. So sue me.
—By Jackson Margolis