Steve Stunning, of the Ajax Advertising Agency, has spent every day since the Fifth of July working on television spots for the three most important retail merchandising days of the year. All them arrive within 60 days of each other: Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
In the malls behind the costumes and the weird masks are Thanksgiving decorations, in the background Christmas carols are already and in the store windows there are already pre-holiday discount bargains.
Sixty days ago, all of the kids in the neighborhood ran up their parents’ credit cards buying back-to-school clothes. Halloween parents have given up trying to convince their kids to wear their raggedy old clothes and dress up like a bum instead of spending $95 on a Spiderman costume, or on this year’s best-selling mask: one of Barack Obama or John Mc Cain. With everyone in the neighborhood running around, it was hard to tell which house was full of Republican parents and which ones are full of Democrats. It probably doesn’t make any difference in today’s politics, because whatever happens on Election Day, half the voters will be upset about it.
Last weekend, when the kids came back to the house with 11 pounds of cavity producers, any smart parent would try to convince them that there really is a Halloween Fairy. “Put the bag of candy under your bed and the Halloween Fairy will replace it with money.” It’s a lot cheaper than what the dentist will eventually charge to fill the cavities.
By the time you get your kids off to school after Halloween, there is very little time left to organize all of the relatives to fly in on the standing-room-only airline for Thanksgiving dinner. It is time to once again dig out the extra mattresses and all of the blankets that smell like the moldy basement where they have been stored all year. All the guests can sleep in your garage and sit around for two or three days and watch football games, while they tell lies about how successful they have been since the last time they sat around and watched football games and told lies about their accomplishments of the year before.
While the relatives are all sitting around watching football games, your wife is working the 19-hour shift, as though she was the only cook at the Salvation Army and had to feed 100 people. And she has to do it on a budget of 43 cents per person, because you maxed out your credit cards after the Stock Market tumbled just before Halloween.
All of the grandchildren are now 12 inches taller than last year, and the cousins are wondering why they have to be cousins and can’t go around holding hands anymore. You don’t like the attitude of the guest your son-in-law brought over because he is out on strike. He is angry because he can’t get his company to guarantee him a job for the next 12 years with an annual pay raise of 12 percent, along with health benefits for his family, including his grandchildren.
By the time everyone finally finishes up the last of the turkey dressing and pot pie, there is very little time left on Sunday afternoon to put the mattresses back in the basement and get out the plastic Christmas tree and the decorations for the third major holiday in 60 days.
You luckily bought a condominium at a ski resort 30 years ago and every relative you have always invites him or herself to spend the holidays with you. Even though this is the most crowded and worst time of year on the ski slopes. They are all very upset when you tell them that you are going to Arizona to play golf for the holidays and have rented out your condo for two weeks to pay for the last 13 Thanksgiving dinners and airfare for your underachieving son-in-law.
The underachiever son-in-law claims he has programmed a way for Microsoft programs to be compatible with Apple. He is not revealing how it works because he says, “Bill Gates has his spies electronically listening to every word I have to say.” He went on to say, “I’m holding out for just one of his $52 billion and then my computer program is his. When he buys it, there will be free Halloween costumes, turkeys and Christmas trees for all of you relatives.”
Maybe when the 2009 stock market rebounds, someone can reschedule Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and spread them out a little further apart?
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