Wal-Mart, The Christmas Play

Christmas time is here again.  Tis the season for celebrating old traditions.  Around this blog, that means dusting off posts of Christmas past, posts that are staler than re-gifted fruitcake.  Enjoy. 

The Wal-Mart Christmas Musical

Thanks to People of Wal-Mart for the raw footage.

The entire play takes place in a Super Wal-Mart on a Sunday afternoon during the busy, holiday shopping season.  Here’s the story in a nutshell:

Our heroine is a young ingenue who looks almost exactly like me.    She has been sprinkled with holiday cheer fairy-dust and sent on a quest in the Land of Wal-Mart.  She must find another strand of the same brand of lights she bought last year, to finish the string dangling 1 foot short of the bottom of her half-finished Christmas tree.  Then she must get through the check-out and back to her car before the fairy dust wears off and she turns into a mean, bitchy old crone.

The show opened with Miley Cyrus’ spiritual performance of “I’d Rather Be Naughty, So $&%# You, Santa!”  In honor of the season, she updated her usual bra-and-panty costume with a sprig of mistletoe, strategically placed.  As for Miley’s dance routine, let’s just say I will never look at a humble candy-cane the same way again.

Next up, one of the female leads softly crooned a simple ballad to the 5 ragged children gathered around her cart.  She was imaginatively costumed in skin-tight black stretch pants and a leopard-print shirt cut low enough to reveal a pair of angels tattooed on the upper slopes of her absolutely ginormous, er, charms.  The song was ” I TOLD You 20 Times!”  and the chorus went something like this:

“I TOLD you 20 times you gotta be 8 years old before Santa will bring you “Call of Duty, Black Ops.”  I’m going to have your daddy (Rodney, that guy who’s staying with us and kinda like your daddy) WHUP YOUR A** if you ask me ONE more time!”

I wasn’t the only one who left the show humming THAT moving tune.

The children’s choir almost stole the show with their rousing hit, “I Want THAT!”   The lyric was not complicated – only “I Want THAT”, over and over – but the performance elevated the words to art.  The volume of their childish cries built and built to a mighty crescendo.  The number ended with the whole choir falling to the floor in the aisles, kicking its collective heels.  Unforgettable.

The Greeter’s Gospel Choir’s  a-Capella rendition of “Go Tell It On The Mountain (The Holidays Are Here)” had everyone clapping along.   The reworked lyrics explained in an uplifting, catchy way how if the store employees said “Merry Christmas” at the door, it would be the same as forcing shoppers to join a church and submit to full-immersion baptism just to get in the store.  Entertaining and really thought provoking.

But the showstopper was the big production number finale.

I took a couple of dance classes as a kid, so I’m familiar with steps like the flap-ball-change.  But I’ve never seen the moves the Wal-Mart Shoppers Dance Troupe perfected for this extravaganza, a routine they call the Oblivious Shuffle.

Each shopper/dancer leaned on his or her cart and pushed it slowly, oh so slowly, back and forth across the stage.  Their shuffling gate kept one shoe (or house slipper, as the case may be) on the floor at all times.  The shuffling feet made a “shush, shush” sound that underscored the “squeak, squeak” of their unoiled cart wheels.  The occasional crash of colliding carts played like cymbals in the composition.

About half of the dancers had cell phones pressed to their ears.  One at a time, each burst into song with lyrics like “…so that witch my baby-daddy is with now said they couldn’t take the kids on Christmas Eve and I told HER, if you think I’m going to pick them up on HIS weekend, you can just tell that &%$#…” Their solos were incomprehensible, one-sided conversations when taken by themselves.  Together, they wove a timeless Christmas story.

The dancers went through their movements with vacant, glassy stares that gave the illusion that they were totally unaware of everyone else around them.

Think of Night of the Living Dead as a ballet.

Meanwhile, the young ingenue wove her cart skillfully in and out of the shuffling throng, trying to get to the registers.   The checkers each turned their lights off as she approached, crying “price check on 10″, “change needed on 5″, “register frozen on 8“ in a surprisingly harmonious medley.  The audience held their breath when a determined shopper with 2 carts piled high cut in front of our heroine in the “15 items or less” lane, but there was no crash – it was all part of the show.

I don’t want to give away the ending in case you decide to see the show.  Suffice it to say our ingenue looked a lot like the apple-wielding hag in Snow White as she trudged to the car with her packages at the end.

About these ads
Posted in General Ramblings | Tagged , , , , , | 20 Comments

Little Red Hen’s Christmas Joy

Christmas time is here again.  Tis the season for celebrating old traditions.  Around this blog, that means dusting off posts of Christmas past, posts that are more stale than re-gifted fruitcake.  Enjoy. 

Little Red Hen taking care of Christmas business.

 

Once upon a time,  Little Red Hen lived in a cozy little coop with her happy little family.  It was Christmas time and she thought some decorations would add to their holiday joy.

So Little Red Hen bought some eggnog and cookies, got her favorite Bing Crosby Christmas CD a-playin’ and settled in for some holiday memory-making.

“Who will help me set up the tree?” she asked.

“Not I”, said the rooster.
“Not I”, said the first chickee.
“Not I”, said the second chickee.

“Then I will do it myself,” said Little Red Hen.  And so she did.

Amidst a considerable amount of swearing.  Little Red Hen developed tree burns and little cuts on her wings from wrestling the 9-foot tall, artificial tree out the box, putting it all together and fluffing the scratchy branches.

“Who will help me put all the lights on the tree?” she asked.

“Not I”, said the rooster.

“Not I”, said the first chickee.
“Not I”, said the second chickee.

“Then I will do it myself,” said Little Red Hen.  And so she did.

With nobody to hand the strings of lights to, she was up and down the ladder at least 26 times.  All the lights worked when she tested them, but half of the strands went out as soon as they were all plugged together.

“Who will help me put all the ornaments on the tree?” she asked.

“Not I” said the rooster.
“Not I”, said the first chickee.
“Not I”, said the second chickee.

“If you think I’m doing any more decorating without any help from you selfish, lazy slobs” said Little Red Hen, “you’re crazy!”  She burst into tears and took off for the mall with a squeal of tires.

The rooster and the 2 little chickees turned off the Bing Crosby CD and finished off all the cookies and eggnog while watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

And the half-decorated tree and 3 big boxes full of ornaments are still sitting in the middle of the living room floor to this very day.

The End.

Posted in General Ramblings | Tagged , , , , , | 57 Comments

A Toilet Paper Roll-er Coaster Ride Through My Brain

It’s time again for a thrill-a-minute roller coaster ride through my brain.  Hang on.

peghamsterintoiletpaper

Men and women do not see the same world.

Men tend to be linear thinkers who concentrate on one job until it is done.  Women multitask to the point that we’re like a pack of hamsters on speed in a room full of running wheels.

I’m not saying one vision is better than the other – they’re just different.  I also don’t pretend to represent every woman Nonetheless, I suspect this will sound familiar to many of the double-X-chromosomed.

Now that we’ve got the disclaimers out of the way…

The following is a true and faithful account of an actual event, experienced by me and my brain, while spending quality time in my bathroom.

 

tp1tp2tp3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in General Ramblings | Tagged , , , , , , , | 73 Comments

Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Public Transportation Needs

Behavioral scientists use Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as a model to explain just about everything in life.  The theory goes something like this: a person’s most basic needs must be met (food and shelter) before they can afford the luxury of contemplating higher matters (does a career in actuarial science really satisfy their soul.)  This theory is handily summarized by a layered triangle image.  The most basic or minimal need is on the bottom tier, ranging to the most complex or optimal at the top.

Let’s apply the model to public transportation.

Riding a bus or train is a crap-shoot.  As anyone who takes public transportation regularly will tell you, the rider’s misery level is dependent on the seating options.

maslow5May all your journeys be at the top of the pyramid.

Posted in General Ramblings, Maslow's Hierarchy | Tagged , , , , , , , | 69 Comments

Are You An Optimist Or A Pessimist?

Know Thyself

 Little Billy wanted a pony for Christmas. It was all he talked about for months. When Christmas morning arrived, he ran outside and saw…a huge pile of poop. Little Billy clapped his hands for joy and started shoveling.

“Why are you so happy?” his mom asked, perplexed.

“Because,” Little Billy laughed “With all that poop, there has to be a pony under here somewhere!”

Little Billy is a dewy-eyed optimist. How about you?

Take this simple test to determine where you fall on the Optopessimistometer.

A) You see a glass that is partially filled with liquid. You think:

1) the glass is half full.
2) the glass is half empty.
3) who left that damn glass there, and why is it always MY job to clean up around here?

B) The direction our country is heading in is troubling. You:

1) are confident that opposing parties can reach across the aisle to solve the nation’s problems.
2) figure that all politicians are for sale.
3) are willing to reach across the aisle to the opposing party to solve the nation’s problems…if the price is right.

C) You come upon a car accident. You:

1) rush to see if you can help, hoping nobody was hurt.
2) think, “Thank goodness I didn’t come through here two minutes earlier; that would have been me.”
3) say, “Get that ambulance out of the road – some of us have places to go!”

D) Your friend needs a transplant. You:

1) immediately get tested to be a donor, praying that you will be a match.
2) share the statistics that even if the operation is successful, there’s a 50-50 chance he’ll die from organ rejection, infection or sponges left in during surgery.
3) start a black-market business to exploit the untapped need for body parts.

E) Spring has sprung. Soon:

1) colorful flowers will burst into bloom after their long winter’s nap.
2) your car will need daily washing because of all the mud.
3) you won’t be able to get into a grocery store on a Saturday without shoving aside Little Leaguers, cheerleaders, and blind kids who are all trying to shake you down with overpriced candy.

Add up each answer’s allotted points and check your score against this handy classification guide:

  • 5- 7 points: Pollyanna: You are a classic optimist. Your “every cloud has a silver lining” attitude makes people want to vomit. Take off those rose-colored glasses before you run into something.
  • 8-11 points: Eeyore: You are a classic pessimist. In other words, a realist. Your “it’ll never work” attitude will save you from a lifetime of disappointment
  • 12-15 point: Grinch: You are a self-absorbed, anti-social, uber-pessimist. Your “what’s in it for me” attitude makes you a natural for public office.
Posted in General Ramblings | Tagged , , , , , , , | 51 Comments

Don’t Thank Me For Voting

voted

As I walked out of the polling place this morning, a man checked my name off a little list and said, “Thank you for voting.”  It was as if I was a veteran who laid her life on the line in service to her country and he, a representative of a grateful nation. Or a child who put her toys away like a good girl, so Daddy said thank you to encourage such behavior.

I was indignant.

I wanted to say, “Who are you to thank me? I am not doing this to satisfy anyone else’s expectations, and it’s none of your business whether I vote or not. I am doing it for myself. This is my chance to make my will known.  You have no right to look benevolently on me, and pat me on the head for participating. We are peers in this process; one man – one vote.”

We should thank our founding fathers that the country was built on that premise. That after a rocky start, it now actually MEANS that each and every citizen, man and woman, is afforded the same right.

Americans should not be encouraged to vote. That implies that the voter is doing a favor for a faceless, nebulous “someone.” Maybe if we had to risk life and limb to be heard, as is still the case in many parts of the world, we would more deeply cherish a right won at a high cost in blood, treasure and tears.

It’s a hokey old saying that still holds true: voting is a privilege. Those who don’t appreciate that fact should stay home.

Posted in General Ramblings | Tagged , , , , , | 53 Comments

Health Insurance Companies Hate Sick People And Liechtensteinians

healthcarewithliechtensteiner

In fall, a young agent’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of health insurance.

                                                                         Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Sort of.

The guvment, in its infinite wisdom, decided that it would be a good idea to require *90% of Americans to enroll in or make changes to their health insurance plans at the same time. That time is now.

In real life (a place many of us have to visit periodically to earn money to pay for interwebz access,) I am an insurance agent.   My desk is currently awash in brochures from insurance companies who are trying to convince me, and my clients, to pick them for their Medicare Part D drug plans and Obamacare. I’m spending oodles of time online, checking out company websites.

Each company’s plan designs are different (as far as the law allows) and the pricing varies widely. I’m sure that each ad campaign is the result of painstaking research by college-educated marketing and design professionals, working long hours, intent on crafting the perfect message to set their company apart from the competition.

Yet they all look the same.

Apparently only one firm supplies pictures for the entire industry: Stock Health Insurance Brochure & Website Photos R Us. These pictures must conform to a strict list of criteria:

  • No sick people. We can’t have potential clients associating this purchase with any thing bad happening, like the possibility that they might someday need the product.
  • No old people. Really old people are depressing because they don’t look young. All pictures are of 30-year-old catalog models. If the company is selling senior products, the models’ hair is air-brushed gray.
  • Everyone must be attractive. And thin. And have lots of thick, glossy hair. That way potential clients will subconsciously figure that THEY will magically become attractive, thin and have have lots of thick, glossy hair if they buy this insurance policy. Like beer commercials.
  • All have perfect teeth. Models must have mouths full of gleaming, straight, white Chiclets. All have had extensive, cosmetic dental work which, by the way, is not covered by the dental insurance you are trying to sell them.
  • Everybody is happy. They’re smiling so broadly you can see every one of their dazzling teeth. Their plan has 100% coverage for colonoscopies and a mere $5 copay for Prozac, and they’re so thrilled that if these were moving pictures they’d be jumping up and down with insurance glee.
  • Everybody who’s anybody is in the picture. Photos must show a degree of diversity unmatched anywhere outside the United Nations. This is especially true for group health insurance products.   Like a White House advance man lining up the human backdrop for a presidential speech, ad designers Photo-shop ethnicities into the picture until it resembles a 1970s Coca Cola commercial.   Possibly the only group not represented in these photos are Liechtensteinian-Americans, and that’s only because the designer couldn’t squeeze any more bodies in the frame.

Time for me to get back to work. Although I am really swamped right now, I’m never too busy for you, dear readers. If you’re looking for insurance and you’ve got 1.2 employees from each, major ethnic group (all athletic, young, shining-haired and white-toothed), give me a call. I’ve got the perfect insurance policy for you.

*I made up that statistic, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true.

Posted in General Ramblings | Tagged , , , , , , , | 56 Comments