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I was at my monthly meeting of the Jews. You may have never heard of this meeting. We hold it at a bank and we sit on bean bag chairs filled with money that are covered with Jewish stars.
Most meetings consist of deciding what will entertain the country and LOTS of complaining. The complaining is so constant that you barely hear the words. It’s just this din that sounds like a whine you’d make while trying to squeeze out an unusually shaped dump. We’ve all made that noise. Well, you know what complaint never happened? The one where someone stands up and says they were wished a merry christmas and it totally ruined their day. Actually, as a Jew, I’ve never heard that complaint in or outside of our meetings. Now that I think about it, I’ve never heard one example of this ever happening in my entire life. You’d think that since the “War on Christmas” story seems to pop up every year that I, a non-celebrating person, would have had at least one other non-celebrator pull me aside and say, “You’re never going to believe it” and then go into that story. Not even at the Chinese food restaurant on Christmas does it even get brought up. In fact, I’ve been wished a Merry Christmas on Christmas at a Chinese restaurant and you know what? I was flattered. “Merry Christmas” meant I was a handsome enough Jew to maybe pass as an Italian with no family.
I fully understand that I can’t speak for everyone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas. I’m sure someone reading this has their own story about a person getting angry that their ears were burdened with “Merry Christmas” as if they yelled “Screw Kwanzaa!” Maybe you have a story about a tall, lanky guy wearing jeans that were so tight your own penis hid behind your leg like a frightened puppy. He wore a giant scarf that could have been a comforter. He had such a perfect man bun that, when you saw it from behind, you accidentally checked out his ass to see if you’d bang (once again, your penis hid behind your leg). Maybe you said “Merry Christmas” to THAT GUY as you served him a cup of fair trade coffee and he angrily asked for your manager. He became the epitome of awful. A character all of us would agree lives in the non-subjective definition of suck.
But I’m willing to bet that most of you have never met the person who gets mad about “Merry Christmas.” Most of us have heard about this person. We might have even read an article or saw a hashtag or, more likely, had a friend complain that the cups at Starbucks didn’t say “Merry Christmas” because of the type of person who would complain. But the complainer never seems to exist. The person who gets angry about “Merry Christmas” is about as real as (spoiler alert) Santa. After thinking about it, this person seems more urban legend than anything else, yet we are actually abiding by this ghost’s rules. I have a friend who used to have a big “Merry Christmas” sign at the entrance to his town. That sign was changed to “Happy Holidays,” which I guess is nice to a person like me — but I doubt it happened because someone complained. It happened for the fear of a complaint. The fear that one person with a loud enough whine would roll up to a big enough twitter account to give them a retweetable headline. The sign gets changed, the town gets its fictional villain they probably imagined as the man bun cartoon I drew earlier.
The truth is, the person who complains about Merry Christmas is there to make us feel better. He’s a person we can bring up safely at a party, roll our eyes at, and make a joke about because there’s not one person who will take their side. It’s better to live in a world where there are categorically awful people, because then at least we are a little better than “that guy.” But really we are all “that guy.” We are all a little bit shitty, a little bit complain-ey, a little bit trying to eat, make money, and cum by any means possible. We’re all a little gray, and the people we read about online who are “outraged” are just a little too hateable to be true. We read about them and retweet their awful stories so we can think, “Phew, I’m not the bad guy.” Maybe the person you hate is as made up as a ghost in the sky who created heaven and earth and, for some reason, cares about when you eat fish or meat.