REPROACH

THE NIGHTMARES BEFORE CHRISTMAS: A COMPLAINT IN THREE PARTS

As you read this, the festive season will be but a distant bad memory of ill-judged gifts, family fisticuffs, and drunken embarrassments; but since the deadline of this esteemed publication is the day before Christmas, I am, at the time of writing, mired in preparations for the end of year, including downloading seasonal editions of my phone apps, taking advantage of the public library fees amnesty, and braving shopping centres. While doing each of these activities, I have been irritated and outraged by one thing or another and would like to share them in order to raise awareness, so we can all improve ourselves and make a better day, just you and me-e-e.

White Noise

Ever since the release of iOS7, it seems like every day I have at least eight apps to update. I dutifully undertake this chore—for it has become one—and open each app afterwards to inspect the latest iteration of the flat aesthetic, which to give Apple credit is a whole lot better than all that digital wood veneer of yore. Anyway, some of the more recent updates I’ve downloaded have seen the apps reappear encrusted in ice, dripping with icicles, and dribbling with faux snow. As a Crank reader, no doubt you reside, like myself, in the southern hemisphere, so will agree that the presence of all these motifs of a northern hemisphere winter are disconcerting, to say the least. To say the most, it is seasonally inappropriate, makes everything seem even hotter and more humid than a summer in the sub-tropics is already, and I shake my fist at the tyranny of the global north.

Bile Beans

I’m anticipating that you’re reading this some time after your Christmas day dinner, so I ask you to cast your mind back to the fare you enjoyed. I’ll probably have had some chicken and ham, a variety of salads, and generally eaten enough sweet things to go through the motions of making a New Year’s resolution to eat fewer sweet things. At around this time of eater’s remorse too, I’ll probably reach into my cupboard and bring out the tins of baked beans to serve to my over-indulged self and lecture myself on the merits of frugality. Of course, if I have any baked beans in my cupboard will likely depend on whether I donated my year-old cans to the public library’s annual food-bank drive in lieu of paying any fees I accumulated over the year. Because, as I noticed when I was checking out a DVD just last week, baked beans seemed to be the main canned goods beneath the library’s Christmas tree, with the local supermarket’s recent $1 special on corn and chickpeas making up the bulk of the remainder. Who gives baked beans to a Christmas food appeal? The library is being generous waiving your fees; what’s wrong with you that you can’t extend your canned goods purchasing to food for a Christmas time meal?

Shut Up and Shop

Calm down, hippies! I’m not advocating mindless consumerism here. Whatever your budgets, I just want you to consider the merits of doing your shopping without complaining about the presence of other shoppers.  I mean, seriously, when did you become Moses and expect Jesus to part the waters for you? Yes, Christmas shopping can be stressful: there are many more people at the shops than usual and getting from one end of the mall or department store can be an obstacle course in negotiating, ugh, PEOPLE. But that’s the good thing about shopping in a first world country: there’s always a pit stop in the form of a coffee shop or similar nearby, where you can sit down, breathe deeply, and replenish your energy and mood with a drink or a bite to eat, before heading off into the crowd again, to rub shoulders with your fellow, gift-giving human beings.

Belated Seasons Greetings.

KIRSTY L, BRISBANE

The Middlesex Hospital: a party in a ward, with a Christmas tree and other decorations. Note absence of baked beans and the inversely proportional degree of good cheer. Except for the man with the gammy leg. Wood engraving, 1874. V0013608 Credit: Wellcome Library, London, ICV No 13895.

The Middlesex Hospital: a party in a ward, with a Christmas tree and other decorations. Note absence of baked beans and the inversely proportional degree of good cheer. Except for the man with the gammy leg. Wood engraving, 1874. V0013608 Credit: Wellcome Library, London, ICV No 13895.