Western Omelette

Say hello to the sacred season. Ye Olde Day of Turkey, tryptophan and political discussions-turned-crouton wars is over, and now comes the real fun. The Thanksgiving table, strewn with the autumnal favorites (decorative corn, baby pumpkins and a cut-out of “Edna the disenfranchised pilgrim”) is taken down only as a symbol of what is to come. Don’t let the after-stuffing calm fool you. There’s a holiday storm abrewing. An el spendo the likes of which we’ve never seen.

We’ll float around in this cyclone of Santa from now until — get this — 2001. Wow. Don’t we have flying cars yet? Sassy robot housemaids? A president?

Yes, expect to hear ringing on every street corner (if not from the Salvation Army, then from the far-more-powerful Cellular Army), and hip versions of holiday music just about everywhere. Will Smith wishes you a Gap-a-licious Christmas!

Expect to get an overdose of Macaulay Culkin, odd seasonal theme-food (mmm, peppermint corndogs), and people utilizing the word “hearth.” There’ll be a lack of free-flowing arteries (biologically and Big-Digally speaking) and parking will be a meter-maid’s dream-come-true (oh, yeah – this is the one where the ticket comes flying through my bedroom window…) Ho ho ho.

But really, it’s a great time, isn’t it? Jack Frost’s a-frostin’ and Dunkaccino’s a-premierin.’ Frog Pond is converted from pigeon spa (nothing like soaking in your own excretion to soothe the spirit) to human skating wonder-park, and the entire city bustles with Christmas, uh, bustle. Take it all in. If you pay extra special Christmassy attention, you can even smell the butterfly ballots roasting. Tear.

It’s the time of year to break out the credit card, give it a pep talk, and head out to your local economy-bolstering center — the mall. Get excited because the mall isn’t just a series of unrelated boutiques, vitamin centers and international cafeteria food. The mall is America’s town square; it is the community center and heart that binds this otherwise loosely affiliated landmass we call America. God bless it.

It doesn’t matter where you go in this starry, stripy land. The mall will be there. Sure, you may be called to business in a city where guns are given a seat at the family table (and extra mashed potatoes, yum). And people in this city may talk about “getting government out of their damn lives,” although still wish the government would do something about all them abortions and gays and such.

And yes, this city may have a bigger ‘stockcar fan club’ meeting house than library, and more shooting ranges than playgrounds. But these are trivial things. Rest assured this town will have, at very least, a Big K shopping experience waiting for you. And chances are, fair traveler, it will have a mall that looks just like the one you cinabunilly frequent at home. Phew.

It’s nice to take a step back and put everything in perspective. Deep down, all we really want to do is stroll through Best Buy and the Food Court. All of us. Suddenly, there’s community. Sure, opinions about democracy, civil rights and enfranchisement may vary as we step pleasantly from blue to red on that fun election map of the United States, but opinions about how and where to shop are pleasantly rooted within every American’s ideal and outlook. He nearly killed a woman outside of an abortion clinic as part of a ‘pro life’ demonstration? Well, come on, he’s got those khakis you love so much. Give him a chance. Oh — and that big screen TV!

This unity is no stronger felt than right now. It’s the season to express our mall togetherness and spend like our national wellbeing depends on it. Go to Toys R Us (damn my inability to type an R backwards), go to Banana Republic, go to Sears — and let the inspired credit card do what it does best. Give it an occasional massage and make-out session. It deserves it.

Now I say this like I’m any better, which I’m not, and like it’s an inherently bad thing (like stockcar racing), which it isn’t. I was not out there with “Buy Nothing Day” pamphlets the day after Thanksgiving, nor was I personally abstaining from the almighty Gap corduroy sale. I’m a schmuck — just like all schmucks — participating in a little consumerist fun. Spendorama is an okay part of our culture and an inevitable part of this season. It becomes dangerous, though, when we live and breathe by it and when it becomes our common thread and landscape. Sweetchuck was an okay member of the Police Academy family, but if he took over? Disaster.

Besides, until you can buy a sassy robot housekeeper, who wants to shop anyway?

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