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12/21/03: The Holiday Hum Bug

It seems that with each passing year, folks are feeling less and less of the Christmas spirit. When asked recently if she was ready for Christmas, a fellow co-worker of mine replied "I'm just not feeling it this year." I thought about that, and then realized that I'd heard the sentiment reiterated more than once already this season. Determined not to contract the Holiday Hum Bug, I turned the volume dial on the stereo in a clock-wise fashion. Lyrics of "Hang low the mistletoe" put a smile on my face, and I went back to work without giving it another thought.

It must have happened while I was sleeping, because the next day, I too felt like I was a little less in the Christmas spirit. This bug must be more infectious than the flu - which I've so far managed to escape (knock on wood). As I generally do as part of my weekly business regimen, I was pouring over some bank statements, one of which included a copy of my personal credit card bills, when I really felt it bite. "Aha!" I thought to myself, and a my heart grew a size smaller, as I spotted "unauthorized" charges that must have been a result of my most-significant other's trip to town a couple of days before. By now I knew that Christmas must not roll forward unless I was able to account for every penny spent! Later that day, I thought I had successfully infected my wife with the bug by interrogating her until I had managed to ruin almost every Christmas surprise she had planned. The symptoms were setting in. Boy this bug was really starting to make me feel sick.

I resigned to the couch where I thought a couple hours of sleep would surely convince the little monster to vacate the premises and leave me on my merry own. The pulsating ring of our telephone summoned me back into reality and must have done so just before I was released from the awful grip of "Christmas Death." Blast! Now I was really feeling Ebeneezer-ish. I could hear my wife cheerfully making small talk with someone who must have been a friend. How did SHE shake it? That only made me jealous to boot! A minute later she approached me as I lay there faking that I was still asleep. "Honey," she called to me in a soft tone. I remained motionless and even more bitter. I knew I had contracted something fatal.

On the other end was an artist friend of ours who sounded like he had gotten it too! By now I was wondering if the Center for Disease Control was aware of the epidemic and if anything was being done to stop it. My artist friend and I minced words with one another - as we occasionally do in sarcasm because of the close nature of our relationship - but by the end of the call I could tell that both of us needed the antibody soon. That encounter only strengthened the virus and I had a hard time getting off to sleep. When I woke the next morning, I felt a little recovered, but was careful not to be too sure since it may have merely gone into "morning remission," and could just as easily resume full force once I got up and got to work.

Waiting and watching carefully, I was sure the bug would strike again and send my spirits plummeting - when suddenly it occurred to me that perhaps I could trick the little devil into thinking that I wasn't in fact sick at all! I decided that if I called my artist friend and pretended that nothing had gone wrong the night before during our telephone conversation, then maybe I could convince this bug that I was immune and he would move on to some other desperate soul. His daughter answered and asked who was calling. In an immature ploy to avoid further embarrassment, I gave a fictional name thinking it would be funny and was almost immediately met with a gruff "Hello?" Still I petitioned my lacking sense of humor and asked as sarcastically as I could, "You out of bed yet?"

Perplexed by the tone of my voice combined with a seemingly reasonable question at this early hour of the day, my friend replied, "Huh?" But I remained determined and asked him if he was up and at 'em - you know, ready for work? What I really wanted to know was whether or not he was still planning on coming to see me. Even moreso I wanted him to know that I was hoping he would come and see me - in spite of our little bump in the road the night before. He must have caught on, because a laugh echoed in his voice as he replied in the affirmative. He went on to tell me that his wife had scolded him after he had hung up the telephone previously and that she requested that he apologize. Ashamed of myself, I thought that my wife would probably have done the same had she been there to hear our conversation. Apologies were exchanged, and I began to feel a little better.

Eventually he arrived at the gallery, and I think the bug was still lingering just a little because we nearly got into it again, but before we allowed ourselves back into bickering - we exchanged gifts. He gave me four beautiful potteries, and I gave him a fresh cut check. It was to our equal pleasure and relief. We joked a bit more and he was on his way. I felt a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction come over me as I realized that I had fended off the bug by adopting an attitude of generosity and gratitude. All this time and the cure was right under my nose!

It's not about what we have, or what we want - what we get or what we keep - but what we give. Let that be your Rx against the Holiday Hum Bug this holiday and every day. Doctor's orders!

Happy Holidays, and Merry Christmas

Brandon (aka "The Permanent Rezident")
& the Gang @ Keams Canyon

Ancient Nations: Online & McGee's Indian Art

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