Keeping Positive At Christmas

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With the exception of some medical tests, positivity is generally a good thing. Keeping  the sunny side up, on the sunny side of the street, and smiling though it all is recommended by any number of vaudeville performers. We are enjoined to whistle, sing, dance, and laugh. Laugh and laugh and laugh and…

I think the vaudeville acts must double at Christmas as sales assistants in retail shops. It explains the persistent laugh, and the 2000-yard stare.

We have passed through the crucible of the last trading Saturday before Christmas. After a day to clear the turret of empty shell cases and to start clotting on the flesh wounds, we will be into it again on Monday. Fortunately it all ends on Wednesday, though if I know our clients, they will not stop ringing until we wrench the phone wires from the wall.

50% of them will want items that cannot be obtained and 50% of them will be going on overseas holidays in a day and 50% of them will want a discount of 50%. The other 50% will want to change a lay-by into their bookie’s name. Until now our responses have been polite and professional – on Tuesday they will become terse and cryptic, and on Wednesday at 3:00 PM they will become memorable. I am studying history and I am thinking that the American commander at Bastogne would be a good model to emulate.

Was it always so? Not in the 1960’s, when I did the exact same job in a camera store downtown. There were desperate characters amongst the clients but they were that way because of their own follies…and they did not seek to pin it upon others. They did not require exotic toys instantly for pocket change. They did not dress like Bali beach bums whilst doing so. They did not demand a discount on a lens cloth…

Well, we shall survive. There will be enough Christmas TV programming to satisfy every taste – murder shows, petrol explosion shows, and aged British pop star shows will all feature holiday themes. I daresay there will be something about renovating a chook house that will also involve Christmas.

I shall retire to the studio to play with my new toy ( a barn ) and to the couch to read my new book ( Mencius ) and hope fervently that the relatives cannot imagine any better gift to give than a bottle of booze. With my luck they will substitute improving bible tracts and a toast rack…

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