- Ward Cleaver's Prozac Fever

white christmas, pink slip

The holidays are about to foist

themselves unmercifully upon us dads.

It's the worst time of the year to be

a dad in this day and age.

Particularly when you're a dad like me

with a career track record of having to

dodge bullets (usually scheduling bullets),

left and right just to ice the same

puling amount of family

holiday vacation time that old Bob Cratchit

wrenched out of Ebeneezer lo these

many Christmases ago.

But even Cratchit got to keep his job.

This time, the bullet marked with this dad's

moniker is one aimed right at my

head, and when the trigger is pulled,

I'll ring in the new year with a

gaping hole where my paycheck was,

and as such, no visible means of

supporting my family.

In short, this dad is being blown up.

Fired like a yule log. Caput-ski.

It's the same old, sad old Christmas

hard-luck paradigm. At least it's

not due to anything I've personally done.

Without boring you ceaselessly with the

Melrosian chapter-and-verse (although that

admittedly sounds pretty appealing),

let's just say it was a simple case of Lola versus

Power-man and the Money-go-round (if you're

up on your Kinks). Power-man won the

Money-go-round and sent Lola and the rest

of us packing. Last one out, do the lights

thing. Don't let the door hit you in

the blah, blah blah. Get the picture?

If you're a dad reading this and,

like thousands of us across this wonderful

land of opportunity for the

elite, you suspect your own Christmas

bonus will be a pink slip, and you've

got a couple little kids who are

all bug-eyed full of the magic of the

holidays, listen up.

Do everything in your power, summon every

last ounce of fight within you, to give

them a monstrously cool Christmas. It is simply

too easy to wallow in self-doubt and

self-pity and wassail yourself senseless

with worry. (There'll be plenty

of time for that when the new year comes).

In the meantime, look at it all as an

unprecedented opportunity to give yourself

over to the holiday spirit.

The ladder-climbing cretins infecting our

world will always try to steal your dignity

and make you a numbered cog.

It won't work.

They'll do their best to crack your spine

and tether you with beepers and pagers

and "critical communications" during

your few-and-far between vacation days.

Just say no, no, NO.

The hell with it all.

Go rent every version of "A Christmas Carol"

you can find (even the crappy 1935

one) and play 'em back-to-back.

Rent "Prancer," particularly if you've got

daughters, and let yourself

boo-hoo-hoo and bawl with the kids, because

you should. Tell them which parts of the

Mister Magoo Christmas Carol scared you

to death when you were a kid (Ghost of

Christmas Yet-to-Come, of course), and crank

Johnny Mathis' Christmas record over

and over and over again,

just like your folks did.

Just like when you were a kid,

and the wonder of it all seized you

day and night in a nail-biting countdown

to the most sleepless night of the year

when every bump in the night sent you scampering

to a glacier-glazed window, looking

hard into the cold, December night sky,

hoping beyond hope that you had been good

enough for Santa to come.

Because if Santa was ever good to you, even

only once, the eternal gift he gave you

was hope --- something no self-serving

despot can ever, ever take away

from you. And even if it seems that

right now none of your own wishes are coming

true, be sure to grant someone else's wish

this Christmas, no matter how small.

Grant a wish,

and one day,

all of that hope,

and all of that magic,

will all come back to you.

Click here for an original Thanksgiving story to read your kids
Click here for an original Christmas story to read your kids

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2003 Arhythmiacs

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