Here is another Christmas piece for this month.
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Using Garbage To Answer That Die Hard Question - Short Story
Christmas time gives us many questions that we are to ponder over each year. What should I get myself? What should I get you? What are we doing on that day? What happens if we have to change plans on that day? And was Jesus even born on that day?
You may take the time to answer some of these questions. Like I want to get myself a new winter hat this year because my other good one was stolen from me. Someone in the store must have nabbed it when I wasn’t looking. I am not getting you anything this year, because I don’t know you like that. Sorry reader, but I am only being honest with you. I could consider these Christmas stores as my gift to you, but those are pretty crumby gifts. I mean, they are excellent stories and all, but a gift card would be better. I am not doing anything on that day. I plan on staying home and being with my family all day. I am not sure what you are doing on that day. Hopefully, you aren’t working. I won’t change my plans. If you do change plans and find yourself switching navigation requests on your phone, then at least make the travel time bearable. I think that Jesus was born on that day or at least around it. I didn’t do any scholarly research about it, but some smart people who talk about that stuff more than me seem to think it isn’t crazy to celebrate the holiday at the time we do. I am busy writing short stories about Santa and op-ed pieces about writers winning Person of the Year here. I don’t have time to ask if the Lord was born on a particular day of the year.
Sometimes questions are brought up again year after year, possibly because we don’t like to answer them. Like how you ask yourself if you should send those cousins you never see, anything. Maybe a gift basket, or a wine basket, or something else that is not a basket. You always ask this question when the calendar hits December 1st, and their tree remains empty of gifts from you come December 25th.
Or perhaps you ask what the hell is going with that song about 12 days for Christmas. Is it a code like the fish was for Christians back in the day? Somehow Christians are trying to say something to each other about it? Is it some innovative poetic form that you know nothing about? Or are there actually twelve days of Christmas and no one ever told you? That could be it. (But what is going on with a partridge in a pear tree? Do those birds like pears? What is actually going on there?)
Maybe you can bring out your true philosopher, put on a toga, and grow a beard and ask yourself what Christmas means to you. How do you define the holiday? Is it about Jesus and his message? Is it about family being together? Is it about giving and receiving presents? Is it about being off and not having to work for the day? All of which are real answers that people share, and yet for some reason, none of us think that it reflects upon who we are. If you feel that Christmas is about Jesus as compared to family, then you are showing that you value certain things over others. Or if you say that it is about you being off, rather than presents. I am not saying that any of them are wrong, per se, but you should understand that after a while, your actions define you, so try to pick the ones that you want to represent you. If you wish to have family be critical, don’t make the whole day about you sleeping. Or if you say that presents are important, then don’t go to church and talk to God. Be consistent with your thoughts and actions; is what I’m saying.
Then there are some questions that are never to be asked about Christmas. That makes many of us shudder in fear and walk away from full tables. We leave homes empty and disconnect from the Internet when we hear these questions asked. They are an insult to our very existence. (Like that one bowling ornament someone got me that one year. I don’t bowl. What the hell is that about?) Don’t ask these questions to anyone, or you may get hurt. Or you can do me one better, and never even think of them, just to be sure.
Having said all of that, I am now going to ask one of those questions.
Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?
And there goes the few readers that I had, and I am now writing a story that no one will read.
Thanks for reading.
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Something about Reading more stuff that we wrote.
And images of recent posts.
And I am done. No one is reading this, so I am not writing this.
Just kidding. (I have nowhere else to go.)
Some, when faced with tough questions, try to prove why they are correct. Others try to understand the nature of the question in order to provide insight to the others in the room. The second person is clearly a moron. Nobody wants insight unless that insight leads to their own correctness, in which case, that correctness takes precedent.
And that gets me to the question and where I was when I last confronted it; work. I hate work. I am only there because they pay me. And I need to have food on the table. Those lights don’t pay for themselves. I don’t try to work too hard at my job because effort is not supported by the workplace culture. We are more interested in opportunity and safety. Which only means that when I work harder than others and show that I am a great worker, I am not getting more money. Opportunity and safety, that is what they stress today, and I hate it because it shows that I am never going to get any more than the limited amount they already pay. They want to make sure that everyone is involved, including the morons who don’t do a damn thing, and that I work harder than at this job. But they have to be fair, so they give them a shot. They want to make sure everyone is safe, besides all those times that I complain that I need better equipment to make my job easier. If it cuts into the bottom line, then safety isn’t important. That is why on the last day before Christmas break, I was sitting in the break room minding my own business, being done with the tasks I had. I did what I had to do; unless one of the supervisors told me to do something at that point, I was not doing it. The place doesn’t deserve my sweat. They take enough of my time the way it is. I was out in a half-hour, so I didn’t care. That is not to say that I do care when I am there, but you know what I mean.
Luckily for me, as I leveled up my character in the mobile war game I was playing, my boss, Brian, spotted me and instructed me that the garbage by the dumpster was getting full, so that me and Eric would have to do it before we left. When you are done working, bosses always find some stupid ass thing for you to do. Everything always needs to get done right away, as if we are doing important tasks. I am putting stuff back on a shelf. It really isn’t that big of a deal. I headed over to the dumpster and saw cans and carts of garbage that had to be thrown out. I didn’t know who was responsible for this, but I started to throw the trash out.
Eric, a co-worker, walked over and lent me a hand. We got done with the task quicker than I thought and took a break for a second. “Let’s stay back over here. I saw Brian go to lunch before heading over here. When are you out?”
“About fifteen minutes.”
“Yeah. No point in running back to the break room. He may find us there.”
“What, to throw out more garbage that someone else was supposed to take care of?”
“Basically.” He leaned up against the dumpster as I hopped onto a stack of pallets two feet high.
“Works for me.”
We then asked what each was doing for the holiday, what plans we had scheduled, who we were going to see, stuff like that. Eric is one of the nice guys I work with at the job. He recently was out for a few months because of a surgery he had, but before that, we would chat about sports and movies; you know, the kind of stuff that you can talk about without getting too risqué or edgy; As compared to talking about religion and politics in a work environment. Saying that you hate a sports team is fine, but saying that you hate God may cause problems. Loving a specific movie is acceptable, but loving a particular political party may be unacceptable. We are both wise with this, and always kept our conversations publicly appropriate. After casual exchanges of family members we’ll visit, Eric brought up the damned question as if he was thinking about it before he walked over.
“Obviously, it isn’t,” I answered.
“No. It is.” He said.
“What? Get out of here!”
“It is played on Christmas, so it is a Christmas movie.”
“So by that logic, anything played on Christmas is a Christmas movie.”
“If played consistently on that date, then yes.”
“No. You’re wrong. It has nothing to do with Christmas. There’s no Santa. No reindeer. No Frosty.”
“So that is what makes a Christmas movie a Christmas movie!"
“No. It is the constant playing of the movie that makes it a Christmas movie. Because Christmas changes over time, like any holiday.”
Then another co-worker, Dave, walked back to the dumpster pushing a cart. He was pushing it faster than he should have because he almost hit Eric before he moved out of the way. His tired eyes and sweaty face suggested he wanted nothing to do with us and that he had a much longer few hours than us. I usually see him a few times during the day when I work, but today he must have been in his aisle all day working. He wasn’t interested in our question, I could tell, so I naturally asked him about it.
The reason I asked him, aside from my own amusement, is my curiosity to Dave’s response. He always has an overly reasonable answer to everything. Like he spoke to Marcus Aurelius before coming to a conclusion. Nothing is yes or no with him, and he has reasons for why yes is correct, and no is correct.
One time he tried to convince me that “working saw” was a paradox. If it is a working saw, it is going to be used frequently until it is broken, and if it doesn’t work, it is not working. Saws are either in use and soon to be broken, or already broken and not in use.
That is the type of person Dave is. Nothing is ever just as it is.
“Let’s ask what Dave thinks.” He avoided eye contact with us and started to throw his garbage out. “Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?”
“What?” He asked, more focused on the emptying of his cart than my question.
“Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?”
“I don’t care.”
“Oh, come on.” Eric egged him on. “You gotta care about it.”
He rolled his eyes and stopped filling the dumpster. “You see this cart. This is a garbage cart. Everything in here is garbage. Right?” He picked up an item that we sell. “Now, is this garbage or not?”
“I mean. It’s in the cart, so yeah.” Eric said.
“That doesn’t look like garbage, though,” I answered, noticing the newness of the item.
“When you transfer the item, the category it inherits is reliant upon the characteristics you give it. Is it garbage for being in a garbage cart? Or is it not garbage for not looking like garbage? Does the placement outweigh the traits? That is the question you are asking. Does a movie inherit the traits of Christmas by simply being played on Christmas, or are there certain traits a movie must have to be a Christmas movie? Is this piece, garbage because I put it in the garbage cart? Or is it not garbage because it looks like new?” He could see he already lost us. “In other words, do you think that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, or that all man’s trash is trash?”
“But you didn’t answer the question,” I said.
“Yeah. Is Die Hard a Christmas movie or not?” Eric repeated the original question.
Dave shook his head and then took a deep breath. “You two are morons who deserve to be shot. I’m leaving.” He picked up his coat, the only thing left on his cart, to exit for the day. He threw it on quickly and started to walk away. “Oh, and Merry Christmas.”
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