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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Christmas Lights

I’ve been able to open my little Comic & Used Book hobby shop more lately, so I put up my Christmas lights. This was going to be simply a picture and caption; but I received my first decoration complaint last night while I was snapping this picture. A woman walked by, saw me taking the picture and stopped to see what I was doing. I thought maybe the lights in the near darkness had caught her eye. No such luck. She looked away from my store front to me with a look reminding me of the way Mrs. Shaffer, my old first grade teacher, stared at me when she caught me talking in class.

“Hi,” I greeted her as I opened the comic shop door to go in.

“You work in the auto shop next door, don’t you?”

“Yes, I do. Whenever I get finished over there, I try to open my comic hobby shop up for an hour or so.”

“Aren’t you afraid in this day and age to put up a Merry Christmas sign?”

“Should I be?” I always wondered if they had Merry Christmas sign police, and what they would do if they caught me. Maybe this lady was one of their undercover operatives. I resisted the impulse to tell her I was going to erect a manger scene in the front window. “I’ve been doing it for the last three years, and everyone who comes in the comic shop compliments me on the decorations. They’re not really gaudy or anything. They just look good in the dark.”

“Do you plan on putting up Menorah candles and Happy Kwanzaa?”

“No, but I don’t plan on telling the people who do, they need to put up Merry Christmas signs and a manger scene either.”

She started to reply, and then walked away, shaking her head. She probably recognized me as the cultural barbarian I am, and figured instructing me on diversity would be a waste of time. My sign probably wouldn’t have warranted a stop if I’d been inside instead of taking a picture for the blog. I would have given her one of the many free promotional comics I have for the kids… perhaps a Disney Uncle Scrooge McDuck one. :)


Jordan Summers said...

Wow, just wow. I had someone snap at me on the plane one time for wishing them a Happy Easter. *ggg* She growled her reply. It was SO hard to keep a straight face. *wg*

Virginia Lady said...

What are the chances of her walking by at right that moment? Wow! It's amazing how people who are claiming to be supporting diversity are actually working against it by complaining about something like a particular sign or phrase. I wonder if she ever thought of that?

raine said...

Do people just seem to make things more difficult than they have to be?
Even on my job, we've been told not to answer the phone with "Merry Christmas".
I don't think I get it. Even if someone doesn't celebrate as you do, there's nothing wrong with wishing them a happy whatever, is there?

Merry Christmas Lights, Bernard. ;)

Stephen Parrish said...

I'm all for diversity, but that woman's implication is ridiculous. Next time ask her if her husband cross-dresses to show his support for ERA.

BernardL said...

People are really funny with what upsets them, Jordan. I may have to put up a few Easter decorations just to be annoying. :)

She lives in an apartment building on the corner, VL. I see her walk past in the late afternoon three or four times a week on her way to the store up the block from me. I'll probably see her again before the weeks over. I'm going to make sure I see hi if I'm not in the back of the shop. :)

I have a theory, Raine. For each extra thing someone can be offended at today, their self importance increases... at least in their own mind. Maybe it's easier to complain nowadays than saying 'Merry Christmas'. I love this time of year when it gets dark earlier, and the lights can be seen better. The kids never complain about the lights. :)

She's been living in the corner apartment building for a couple years, Stephen, and I've never seen her walk past with anyone. Maybe that's the problem. Christmas lights tend to remind people they're alone if they are alone. Instead of just enjoying the bright lights, they focus on themselves.

Charles Gramlich said...

You know, this is what bothers me. Why would anyone possibly care whether you as a private business put up a Merry Christmas sign and decorations. What possible skin is it off their noses? it's just downright silly.

BernardL said...

I know before Christmas she will walk by again, Charles. I will ask her if I can do it without being equally as silly. If she answers, I'll post it. :)

Beth Partin said...

There's no reason why a store owner should have to honor any holiday tradition but his own.

Government, now, that's a different story, since it's supposed to represent everyone.

Maybe you should go out and buy more Santa decorations? But then, maybe that's not such a good suggestion?

BernardL said...

I think I will go down to the store and see if they have a couple tasteful editions for my window, Beth. :)

Vesper said...

I didn't know you had a Comic & Used Books store - it's so cute!
And I love your Christmas decorations.

“Aren’t you afraid in this day and age to put up a Merry Christmas sign?” - that someone can ask such a question, now that's scary! I pity this woman, she must have huge problems of her own...

BernardL said...

Thanks, Vesper. It's my little hobby shop where I escape from the auto repair side at the end of the day, work load permitting of course. I write in there, and sell a few comics for an hour or so. I haven't seen the lady walk by since then, so she's due to go up to the corner store tonight. I will be lit up. :)

Miladysa said...

Good grief the woman must be a moron!

I'll be back to read the post above asap! I am really looking forward to it :D

BernardL said...

She paused outside the comic shop on Friday night while I was inside. I waved and she waved back, so there goes the dramatic conclusion. In fiction, she would have shown up with protesters and picket signs. Alas, in reality, righteous indignation fizzled out with a glance and a wave. :)

Thanks, Miladysa.

Barbara Martin said...

Diversity is fine providing all cultures are able to celebrate their holidays. I don't see why Christians are not allowed their holidays or to put up Christmas trees or decorations where the public may have access to them. It's happening in Canada, too; and I'm not too happy about it. I tend to write letters to government agencies when I become disgruntled. In the past I've managed to get parts of laws changed, and this time...well let's wait and see.

Bernard, maybe you ought to start with the Christmas music.

BernardL said...

You're right, Barbara, Christians have been getting the short end of the diversity stick. It is rather disconcerting how readily people accept the censoring of Christian holidays down here. I played Christmas music with the door open on Wednesday afternoon. :)

Kerry Forbes said...

Im sorry, i didnt mean to offend you' that was a bonus!

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

If you're going to simply chime in with nonsense on posts seven years old, Kerry, you must be really bored. No problem though. Trolls are welcome here if they comment politely. :)