Monday, December 23, 2002

Circular No 59

Newsletter for past alumni of The Abbey School, Mt. St. Benedict, Trinidad and Tobago, W.I.
Caracas, 23 of December 2002. Circular No. 59
Dear Friends, a timely article from Anthony Vieira,

I thought that the events described only occurred in Venezuela. I could not have done a better description of my pre Christmas activities. Since it is long I shall let you read. I am sure that it is tropical event! Any comments are welcomed.
Commentary Christmas. 12th December 2001.

Every year we celebrate the Christmas season, it is a season of goodwill and peace, a season when we concentrate on our families, our friends and our relatives, we exchange gifts, consume enormous amounts of alcohol and food at the many parties almost everyone has during the season. We decorate our homes, we paint and renovate them, since we have to invite our friends over to celebrate the season with us, and we want to impress them.

Some grumps, who think that all this good will and celebrating is a waste of time and consider it the biggest hoax in the history of the world, too commercialized to be truly reflective of its original intent, are of course welcome to that view.
The celebration of Christmas has its roots in the celebration of the birth of the Christ child. The beginning of Christianity. There are 2.1 Billion Christians on the planet nearly a billion of them Catholics, nearly one third of the population of the planet.
The Christian religion tells us that we must love each other, do good to those who persecute us, and turn the other cheek. And that we must have goodwill and peace to all men. It is important to remember all of this goodwill and peace business in view of what I will outline for you next. And I am speaking here from 31 years of experience in these matters.
Unfortunately, as laudable as all of this is, it is a time of the year which most of US, MEN, secretly hate. Goodwill to all men turns out to mean goodwill to all women and the children.
We men first become aware of the Christmas feeling when we come home from work around the 9th of December and find the entire house in total disarray. Our wives have decided that they must BREAK UP the house for Christmas and all the furniture is piled up in a corner and you have nowhere to sit, if you, like me, like your afternoon siesta you discover that your cozy dark bedroom, now devoid of all curtains, is too bright for a proper lunchtime nap, you also discover that YOU are required to climb up in the most inaccessible parts of your house, since the ladies can’t, and help to cobweb and wipe the walls, the ceiling and the windows.
You are then reminded that you will have to find several thousand dollars, you cannot afford, buying gifts for people you really do not like and you know that you will have to listen to the fall out of this exercise until the middle of the next year, that so and so, and THAT SO and SO got a present from US for three thousand dollars and they only bought US a present for one thousand dollars. It is very important to remember this ladies and gentlemen, only the good Lord in heaven will help you if you reciprocate with a present which is cheaper than the one you got, and believe me, prices are checked very carefully.
We men have to work harder at Christmas because we have to earn more to clean up and fix everything. We are for example presented with all of the old Christmas tree lights along with the old tree and we have to make sure that all of it works. Your wife, you very quickly realize, does not care if the lights are not working, you realize that it is a matter of complete indifference to her, that, if only one bulb becomes displaced in the packing up operation after the last Christmas, YOU have to spend 4 hours lying on the floor trying to get the things to work. Tell me men, Did you ever notice that all the adapters you had last Christmas which you thought was packed away with the lights last year, are now missing, so there is no way that you can put the lights on the tree without taking ISO bars from your favourite stereo player or your computer to make the tree work, and it does not matter if your stereo and your computer does not work anymore, only the tree is important!!!

In all of the financial planning that goes into the Christmas operation, not one cent is usually allocated to the purchase of new lights, and why should it? we men have to make the old ones work. How so many new lights are sold at Christmas time, is still a mystery to me perhaps some men after fighting with the old one for two-three days throws them out the window, Of course on Christmas day when we men accompany our wives and our children to the tree to see what Santa [YOU] brought for Christmas, you discover that you got nothing. You ask yourself how could I possibly have forgotten to buy ME, anything?
After everything is cleaned in the house you now discover that YOU have to help to put all the furniture back in place, have any of us men actually ever asked where the manpower required to pile up all of this furniture in one corner of the house came from in the first place? Even those of us who are lucky enough to have domestic help, have you noticed that the ladies can pile up all of the furniture in a corner but that YOU have to help to put it back? I wonder what the incidence of hernia among men is in December?
So by the 18th of December your house is now in perfect order and ready for the season, you are exhausted but relieved that all of the climbing and lifting is over. If you think that you can now relax and watch TV, think again! You have to write cards, you have to help in the decisions of who will get what gift,…. you have to have a response to ridiculous questions like “do you think that Kim’s baby will like this gift?” you discover that you and your wife have family which you did not even know you had, or care about.
Now we come to the most dangerous exercise of Christmas, men, the question of the various dresses that will have to be worn for the many functions during the season!!!! It is a matter of total indifference to most men what we have to wear for Christmas and whether we wore this or that pants or shirt last year to this or that function and whether, so or so will remember that we wore it. I don’t care if my brother Eddy thinks that I have only one shirt, not so the ladies.
So the fashion show begins, pretending to be interested in the proceedings, since you do not want a war on your hands or to sleep on the couch which is now dusted and clean, you are required to pass judgement on whether this or that dress for Christmas eve night, Christmas night, old years night, so and so’s party are NICE, now we are talking about at least six outfits here men, so this can be a protracted exercise.
And you better pay attention, this is dangerous ground, you have to know that certain observations regarding this ritual are completely unacceptable, observations like “that is a little too tight” is out of the question, even if she put on 15 pounds since last Christmas, you have to be cautious, you resort to the cowardly path “it looks great babe but didn’t you wear that one, eight months ago and the GIRLS saw you in it” that is always a good strategy. This ritual can go on for days and of course new dresses will have to be gotten and judgement will have to be passed on those as well, but here again extreme caution must be exercised, one wrong word can precipitate a war and destroy the season of peace, at no time must the words gravity or drooping be even contemplated much less mentioned.
You realize that fighting with the old Christmas tree lights and the cob webbing was actually relaxation compared to this. Especially when the shoes and the bags have to match, I love the one when they tell us that quote “I want to look my best for YOU”.
Now we know that this is a complete fabrication men, but we bite our tongues and nod our appreciation. We need to have a lot of good cheer indeed, to get through this season men, I guess that that is why we all get drunk on Christmas Eve and old year’s nights, we deserve it too, indeed we have earned it.
But seriously now, ladies and gentlemen my wife’s name is Jewel, she is arguably one of the most exotically beautiful women in the country, she is my whole life and despite our age difference she understands me better than anyone I have ever known, she is my best friend and to her and the two beautiful children we have, I would like to tell them that I do not just love them, I cannot conceive of life without them. I only have one other son living here, Anthony Jr. and I extend season’s greetings to him also.
To the rest of my audience I would like to extend the most heartfelt greetings and best wishes for the season and for the New Year. To you men who can relate to what I have laid out here, I offer you my sympathy.
We have problems, of that there is little question, but we make do with what we have, we give thanks and try harder, Dale Carnegie once said, that he was sad because he had old shoes until he saw a man who had no feet. Let us thank the Lord for what we DO have, and let us celebrate the season by remembering that it is a season of goodwill, peace and love to all men and women.
Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year to you and yours.

Tony Vieira
I want to join Tony in wishing you the best with a post card.


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