Look, everyone! It’s the happiest time of the year again, filling New York City with the hustle and bustle of an extra fifty thousand people clogging up Sixth Avenue, the happy squeals of travelers who found both shoes on the air side of JFK security barriers, and merry phone calls from my mother asking, yet again, if I’m coming home for Christmas.
News flash: I am home! New York City is my home. And since I am a true New Yorker, it’s time to give my ire free rein and crank out a list of some of the tiny holiday moments that make this season so special.
The Grinch Who pissed off New York
First on my list of holiday cheer is a toast to all you Hollywood marketing folks who trade in fulsome stereotypes. Yes, you’ve slowly been cleaning up your act over the years. Gone are the egregious images from my youth, lamented only by Megyn Kelly and the merry band of elves over at Fox News. Yet despite these cultural achievements, it still seems to be socially acceptable to pretend that all New Yorkers are bitter, angry, rude people. And what’s making us angry, bitter, and rude?
What the hell is wrong with you? Has your role as Dream Merchant to the English-speaking world so gone to your head that you think you’re being clever? Did you learn nothing from the Kendall Jenner Pepsi fiasco? So, Hollywood Marketing Infants, let’s get one thing straight. New Yorkers are loud, plain-spoken, intolerant of assholes, pretty flexible when it comes to following official policy, and filled with an antic sense of fun in most situations. We’re only bitter when we see ads that talk over our heads to the tourists who are meekly lining up for the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Show like lambs to the slaughter.
A Very Big Tree
Back in the 1920s, electricity was the next big thing. No more messy coal bins! No more oil-filled lanterns! Lights could go on with a flick of a switch! It happened in an instant! To prove the point, some smart promoter put a really big tree up, strung lights all over it, and then asked the President of the United States to flip the switch. Note to youngsters: back then, the President was considered a national treasure rather than a diverting spectacle, and was often asked to perform interesting ceremonial functions such as light-switch flipping, delivering eulogies at important public funerals, meeting with other world leaders, and speaking in public. But I digress.
Now, it’s Christmas 2018 and boy, look at us now! We’ve got a big tree. It’s all covered with light bulbs. Someone flips a switch, and the lights go on! For this, the police barricade a five-block radius so twenty thousand extra people can cram in to see the amazing sight. Couldn’t Elon Musk at least launch the thing into orbit? That, I’d pay to see.
Miracle on 50th Street
We’re both busy people on our way to work, but we’ve both decided a quick stop at Starbucks would hit the spot. On the way in, I notice you trailing a scant 5 paces behind me. I briefly consider slamming the door in your face the second I step inside, but today I am filled with holiday good will. I pause, and hold the door open for you.
You, lost deep in your thoughts, breeze right by me with nary a word, and jump in line first. I smile politely and say “you’re welcome!” with a hint of acid in the tone, and loudly enough to cause the child in front of the counter to flinch, spilling hot chocolate on her mother’s special new holiday shoes. This is sad. Those shoes obviously made it through JFK security, only to be felled by an unhappy accident in Starbucks 30 minutes before curtain time in Radio City Music Hall.
The surprised look on your face tells me it’s never occurred to you that other people exist on this planet.
What am I, the Starbucks doorman? You know, we’re living in a society!
Gifts for Everyone!
Ah, I feel better already. Now that I’m in the proper holiday spirit, I’ll ask Santa to help me with some appropriate gifts.
For the Hollywood marketers, bleacher tickets to Yankee Stadium and some Red Sox caps to wear during the game.
For the Rockefeller Tree Watchers, a visit to the Redwood Forest, where there are some much MUCH bigger trees.
For my unknown friend in Starbucks, a smack upside the head and some fresh hot chocolate poured into your shoes.
Merry Christmas, everyone!