For those like me who simply can’t resist the unmistakable sound track for a “Seinfeld” episode, you’ll remember an episode entitled “The Strike,” one that introduced all of us to Festivus.
The episode that poked fun at the excessive commercialization of Christmas aired Dec. 18, 1997, and highlighted the comedic talents of Jerry Stiller, who played George Costanza’s father, Frank, whose celebration included an unadorned aluminum Festivus pole, some feats of strength, which were preceded over the dinner table by the airing of the grievances.
So, since the timing is about right, I thought I’d get a few of my grievances aired and open up more room for some good old Christmas cheer. As for the Festivus pole and those feats of strength, well, let’s just skip those!
As Frank glared at those seated around him, wagging his finger and saying, “I got a lot of problems with you people,” so I begin.
When it comes to the roads I travel for both labor and leisure, let me say it as plainly as I can. Please, for those of you who travel with your dogs, how about you drive without being encumbered by that poodle that’s on your lap, the fur ball sticking his nose out the cracked window on the driver’s (note, it’s not called the dog’s side) trying to get a whiff of free air?
And, for the majority of those other distracted drivers I see, maybe it would be time to try driving without that cell phone glued to your ears. This year alone, the minutes, I’m pretty certain, approached an aggregate hour as I sat behind drivers babbling away and NOT turning right on red, which we’ve all been allowed to do since the 1970s!
And speaking of annoyances of the road, every time I drive down one of our town’s major north-south conduits, Cable Road, I prepare myself to get a touch angry. The source of my disconsolation is the pair of active lights in front of a couple of school parking lots — one in front of West Middle School opposite University, and one in front of LCC opposite Cable Court. While I can certainly see the need for the lights being engaged when school is in session, they shouldn’t be impeding my progress at other times! Come on, whoever’s responsible! We’re busy people!
Now, as for the committee that must have gathered and decided that consumer benefits should be enhanced if shoppers will only submit to slipping yet another plastic bar-coded fob on their key rings, well, I’ve also got a problem with you as well!
Right now, whenever I’m at a counter at Speedway or Chief or Rite Aid or Walgreens or Panera, I’m witnessing a consumerism world run amok watching the clerk flipping aside multiple pieces of plastic searching for the one that matches the name on their paychecks! Here’s a novel idea. As consumers, we all should be valued. How about simply charging all of us a fair price and the same price and giving us a periodic token of appreciation so we can stop spreading the metal on our key rings to add yet another superfluous piece of plastic?
And, speaking of committees, how about a few words for that one that selects college football’s final four teams that will vie for a national championship? First, why should a loss late, especially one like our state college’s team suffered on the game’s final play to the Tyler O’Connor-led Green Meanies from Michigan State count as any more of an egregious defeat than another team’s early loss, say, the one Alabama suffered at home to Ole Miss or the one Oklahoma suffered to Texas?
Again, here’s another idea I’ll provide college football as my Christmas present to them. Like the committee that gathers to select the teams for NCAA’s March Madness basketball tourney, how about waiting until the entire season is over, sequestering yourself in a big room and then examining the FULL resumes of all the teams and then anointing your four? Wouldn’t that make far more sense for something that probably shouldn’t matter nearly as much as it does to most of us?
Well, I could go on, of course, since after all, griping is as universal as breathing through the nose. And, as Frank Costanza might say were he here, it is indeed “a Festivus for the rest of us.” Take a little Festivus moment of your own in the next few days before all of us are expected to be seriously jolly.
John Grindrod is a regular columnist for The Lima News and Our Generation’s Magazine, a freelance writer and editor and the author of two books. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.