"The Clash of the Quadrupeds" Artists Unknown
It’s October. It’s summertime hot and Halloween is nearly 3 weeks away. But costumes are marked down. Candy Corn has been on the shelves so long it’s getting stale. (Is that even possible?) Have retailers gone crazy? If so, it’s because we consumers have indulged, even encouraged, their wanton disregard for the calendar.
Pity the turkeys, cornucopia and Pilgrim paraphernalia. Because of a cruel calendar twist, they’ll scarcely get any time in the retail spotlight. ‘Tis the season means the holiday time of the year but let’s just call it Christmas.
From big box to boutique, the story is pretty much the same. The tinsel and trappings, the hot new items and the old standbys-they’re all on display. And for those eager for the ledger to turn from red to black, the season can’t come soon enough.
It’s easy to get worked up over the holiday time of the year, but I’m an equal opportunity curmudgeon when it comes to seasonal misbehavior. Consider swimsuits. Unless you’re in need of “resort wear”, swim togs in January is cruel and unusual. And by the time you do need them (say summer), they’re in short supply. If it’s after July 4th, forget it. The lawn and garden stores begin peddling their fall wares when you’re still searching in vain for that swimsuit. Never mind that it’s hot, dry and decidedly the wrong time to buff your lawn. And back-to school clothing and supplies before you’ve even forgotten your multiplication tables? What a killjoy.
What about the seasonal misbehavior of the type exhibited by the “Clash of The Quadrupeds”? Seasons’ Greetings! That’s seasons, plural, so the apostrophe is right where it belongs, which is not the same as where it should belong.
There must be lots of people who are not troubled by this disconnect between the calendar and retail inventory. Otherwise, what seems like an obvious mis-match, wouldn’t exist. But I can’t be the only person who wishes I could buy a swimsuit in June, Christmas tree lights in December, and some Candy Corn without tripping over the reindeer.
This is a true story. One year we decided to go to the mountains and buy a freshly cut tree. We had also decided to celebrate Christmas during Christmas, meaning starting, not ending on December 25. So off we went on December 22. It never entered our minds that we’d waited too late to buy a tree. But we almost had. After several failed attempts (locked chains across entrances, closed for the season signs) we finally found a entrance, drove up to the tree man’s house and knocked on the door. He looked at us like we were crazy. Didn’t we know you can’t buy a tree that close to Christmas? And I guess he had a point. He’d been fussing with those trees all year and he was ready for the Grinch and some eggnog. We looked pretty desperate and he said if we’d cut it and load it ourselves, we could take any tree in sight for $10. Well, let’s just say he got the better end of that deal. We were feeling pretty woeful about our tree. On our return home, we saw the tree lot that we typically patronize was closed. Not temporarily - but for the year. So much for woe! Once in the stand, our tree’s stock continued to rise. The strands of lights that had been a little iffy the previous year were very iffy this year. Only two of many strands even flickered. We made do, but also made a note to buy more Christmas lights the following September.
Once the ornaments were hung, and some eggnog had been consumed, our little tree didn’t look half bad. In fact, it looked just fine- maybe perfect. The next September, we ignored the memo to buy more lights. We’d learned that we really didn’t like the lights that much. About that $10 deal… we came out better than we thought. Imperfect perfection came to us in the form of a spindly tree, just like for Charlie Brown.