Craig So it's late tonight, on this Christmas Eve, and once again, I can't sleep.
I'm 800 miles from home, my holiday dinner consisted of a Boston Market frozen meal (1) and half of a McDonald's apple pie found deep in the crevices of my fridge, and I'm getting ready to watch a movie that has to be the worst Christmas present I have ever received.
That would be a DVD of "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians." (2)
Outside, it looks like nuclear winter, my friend (3) has just sent me a picture text of him giving me the finger (and laughing about it), and earlier, my dog Luke chomped my ankle for imprisoning him in a fortress of snow.
And, yet, I can't be happier. And I have one James Stewart - er, George Bailey - to thank for it.
My friend, Caroline Dotson from Downtown Books, loaned me this little film, "It's a Wonderful Life." Somehow, I'd never managed to see this movie.
Until I watched the saga of Bailey, a truly rich man, unfold, I intended to write a column about how I possess supernatural, telekinetic abilities. (4)
An example of this being the time I made a telemarketer spontaneously explode over the phone. (5)
Anyway, after 140 minutes of this movie, I'm a changed man, a convert to the church of 'Life' and Bailey-esque goodness. (6)
I felt so good after watching Bailey blitz down the streets of Bedford Falls, drowning his sleepy, small, black-and-white town with shouts of "Merry Christmas," that I, being the most cynical sort, was choking on feelings of good will toward my fellow man.
So, although belated, here is my Christmas card to some unheralded people here in Craig who truly make a difference.
Merry Christmas, pizza delivery personnel. You never fail to deliver, and it is possible I would look like one of those starving orphan kids on late night television commercials who would be well-fed if people would just cough up 64 cents a day.
Merry Christmas, local bartenders and liquor store clerks. You keep the drinks cold and the refills timely.
Merry Christmas, all clerks, secretaries, assistants, waiters, waitresses and store employees. You put up with our guff, you get us what we need, and rarely do the tips or gratefulness meet your efforts.
Merry Christmas, office gals Nancy Bechhold and Tracy Shaffer. I harass one of you (7), and steal candy from the other (8), and yet I fear no reprisals. (9) You ladies make the trains run on time here at the CDP.
Merry Christmas, snowplow drivers. From time to time, you may box my truck in with snow, like I did to Luke earlier tonight, but after each storm, you keep the roads clean and safe, and I suppose that's more important. (10)
Interlude: This Santa movie has a trippy, oddly realistic feel to it, sort of like a documentary. It is possible this is either real footage or at very least based on a true story.
And Merry Christmas to you, Santa Claus.
That's my present to you, a guy who brings joy to millions of children each Dec. 25, and for nothing in return but a billion cookies.
You're a heck of a guy, St. Nick, and even more impressive is that you did it all after whooping some butt and indeed conquering those wily Martians. (11)
1. I find the meat loaf offering in particular to be of fine taste, fair price and ample quantity.
2. My editor, Jerry Raehal, gave me this sham of a gift, and, yes, I'm fine with publicly throwing him under the bus. He also gave me a gift card, but I'm pretty sure that was more from his kind wife, Jamie.
4. Not true.
5. Also not true.
6. By morning, this will probably have faded.
9. Although I should.
10. I say this reluctantly.
11. Which, when you think about it, is pretty impressive.
Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or firstname.lastname@example.org.