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Maxed out

Santa Claus is coming to party

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‘Tis the season to be jolly. Fa La La La La La La”...etc.

In honour of the jolly season upon us, I have resolved to be not just jolly, but jovial, jocular, joyful, jubilant, merry, mirthful, and just plain happy. I might be even more things next year if Santa brings me a real thesaurus this year instead of the quickie I found at www.needawordtakeaword.com .

But in light of the impending holidays — you did know The Holidays are just around the calendrical corner, didn’t you? — I will embody the spirit of goodwill and holiday cheer for the rest of the year. If I practice hard enough and ignore global climate change, the threat Bush may indeed start WWIII, the Olympics, muni budget guidelines, and the large expanse of blue ice I tried to ski across yesterday, my eyes may even twinkle and my voice go all ho, ho, ho.

Oops! There you go; it’s just that easy to let a little negativity creep in and ruin your holiday cheer. Better have another shot of holiday cheer. Come to think of it, better keep that tank topped up.

All holidays are, apparently, stressful. But this holiday, and all those other quasi-religious, secular and just plain silly holidays people around the world celebrate between now and the first holiday of next year, is particularly stressful. The good people who make their living off our collective stress always stress this point. They advise us of ways to combat the sorts of stresses we’re likely to face over the course of the next couple of weeks.

This kind of free advice used to seem rather self-defeating to me. I mean, if stressed-out people are your bread and butter, why would you try to help people avoid stress?

Like so many things in modern life, the answer was diabolically clever. And simple. Simple and clever. Kind of like the bill of goods the neocons tried to sell… darn it. And I try so hard. Obviously being jocular is difficult. Probably even stressful.

Okay, where was I. Ah, yes, simple and clever. You can’t pick up a magazine or newspaper right now — perhaps even this one — without reading solemn advice about how to avoid stress over the holidays. For example, in even so dry a periodical as Modern Office Manager, there’s an article entitled, Ten Ways to Keep From Making An Ass of Yourself at the Office Party.

Even people who have no intention of making an ass of themselves at the office party get a spike in their stress level just knowing there’s someone in the world who (a) cares if they do, and (b) advises them how not to. Ironically, most of the 10 ways involve abstinence of one sort or another. Don’t pound tequila shots even if they’re being served from the receptionist’s cleavage is one. Leave your automatic weapons at home is another. Nowhere in the 10 is the suggestion you simply not go to the office party, which seems the most logical solution considering you already spend 40 hours a week with these losers.

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