Whenever the War on Christmas begins, I have only one question: Where do I sign up? I'd love to be an Elf Eraser, or a Stocking Stealer. I'd even start as a lowly Reindeer Wrangler, and hope to rise through the ranks.
Why do we war on Christmas? Because Christmas wars on us. Its advance minions can be seen infiltrating onto shelves as early as September. After a feint attack by its ally Halloween, which serves only to distract us from the buildup of Christmas forces on the horizon, the season invades in earnest on November 1st. The beaches of Normandy on D-Day and the Spartans at Thermopylae were relatively unmolested compared to American wallets at Christmas time. Christmas seeks to gut our cash, eviscerate our MasterCards and make a mess of our American Express.
Christmas deploys land, air and sea attacks. On land, assorted parades and tours by fire truck of its figurehead leader Santa Claus tie up traffic and remind us that the day of reckoning is nigh; by sea, endless container ships depart from Chinese ports crammed stern to bow with cheap plastic crap, and also pricey plastic crap.
But it is the air superiority of Christmas that inevitably carries the day. Even as I write this, the airwaves are humming with commercials for toys that our children will want more than the future itself; toys that they will beg for with tears glistening in their precious eyes. Toys that we will buy them for fear they will become mass murderers, or at least abandon us in our old age, if we don't.
Speaking of toys, I was staggering around the aisles of a major retailer the other day looking for some basic need like soap and instead finding myself surrounded by Christmas merchandise. I noticed the Halo play set. For those of you lucky enough not to know anyone under the age of forty, Halo is perhaps the most popular video game of all time. It is set in a far world in a robotic future, with combatants dressed like robots endlessly destroying futuristic menaces. Now, instead of wearing out your thumbs playing Halo on a video screen, you can push little plastic combat figures around in the dirt just like we did when we were kids. Also, if the US power grid is destroyed in an electromagnetic pulse attack, and our nation descends into an apocalyptic nightmare of cannibalism among warring tribes, you'll still be able to play Halo when you are not being pursued by armed mutants. And it only costs ninety-five bucks!
Who can we count on to help us war on Christmas? Only Scrooge, the Grinch and a few grumpy atheists. And Scrooge and the Grinch always betray us in the end. Just once I'd like to see the Grinch laughing as the children of Whoville are stomping and screaming at the theft of their toys and saying in their sweet voices "Screw that!" when invited to sing hymns anyway, like real children would, or Scrooge dismissing the ghosts' visits as a byproduct of eating too much porridge and cackling as he runs over Tiny Tim while illegally swiping a handicapped parking space.
So all we really have are the grumpy old atheists. They are our Dirty Dozen, our Seal Team Six against the forces of Christmas.
Pray for them.