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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Mother of Jahi McGrath - child who died as the result of a tonsilectomy
Here 'tis only 3 days before Christmas and I'm no more ready than any caring adult should be admitting to ...

... I just may have o.d.'d on the Yuletide season.  Somewhere a line got crossed and the commercialism became hopelessly toxic.  Over the past several years I've started to feel abused by the demands of the marketplace to consume, and, in a world of such need by so many -- the entire Christmas charade began to eat into my conscience.  Last year,  in order to respond to some urgent compulsion from within, I actually gathered up my clean and well-folded but gently-used items and drove around distributing them directly to homeless folks standing at the entrance to the freeways and  underpasses holding up their handmade signs pleading for help.  For reasons beyond understanding there was little relief in doing so.   I only felt guilty for being more fortunate than those I encountered.  A kind of "Lady Bountiful"; ugh!

It reminded me of the discomfort experienced the last time I had a pedicure.  I suddenly looked down from my fancy elevated chair with the vibrating backrest at the pretty little Vietnamese woman seated below me busily trimming my toenails and I was overwhelmed by the irony of it all.  The implied social levels this seemed to be present in that moment gave me this same feeling of over-privilege -- even though I was aware that this was her livelihood. The feeling of luxury in the enjoyment of her service was suddenly out-weighed by the social implications of our relative positions in that moment.  I've never gone back.  Illogical? Maybe, but I left her a generous tip and walked away.

This year it seemed beyond that.  Individual acts of kindness are hopelessly inadequate and our collective support for those in need are being cruelly stifled by Congressional inaction that is seeking to reduce the food stamp programs to the most needy; deny raising the minimum wage so that families can survive these times; and refusal to reform Immigration policies.

Nonetheless, there is Dorian to consider; she, whose mental deficits will continue to need this annual return to this happy-ever-after break in our routine and to the innocence of the gift-giving season.  So in the interest of observing the season on her behalf -- I'm about to go on the annual hunt for a suitable tree for her to trim, and hope that the spirit will return to her mother in the process.

Maybe I'm just in a bah humbug mood ... .



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