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Never Again

January 12, 2012

I have heard many people say, “Never say never,” but this is one thing I am certain of. I will never again go shopping for anything at Christmastime. I hope you notice that I did not say, “Never go Christmas shopping.” I am a proud atheist and Christmas has no meaning for me. I have never in my life gone Christmas shopping. Under no circumstances, will I ever buy presents for anyone at that time of year. Never did and never will. How dare the powers that be tell me that I MUST buy a Christmas present for anyone on a certain arbitrary date on the calendar that misinformed people say is the birthday of someone called Jesus? I once was fired from a job because I wouldn’t do it. I was told that I had to put money into the pot to buy a Christmas present for a boss I didn’t like and I refused. I laugh when I hear people say this is the season for peace and love. That hypocrisy is something the retailers thought up to justify spending mass amounts of money. Well, this year I was asked to accompany my wife and two other people to a mall in and the moment I stepped inside, I knew I had made a terrible mistake. The crowd was so thick that the floor beneath my feet couldn’t be seen. I was behind hordes of people holding large bags stuffed with purchases in both hands. Others pushed fully loaded shopping carts in a mad frenzy to spend every peso they had in their pockets. The noise was nearly unbearable and the only thing I thought of buying was ear plugs. The four of us ate overpriced meals at a restaurant we never would normally choose since all our favorite places were jammed. After the food, the others dragged me into a department store and two minutes of crowd jostling later I decided there was no way I wanted to be part of it. I excused myself and made for a relatively quiet oasis, the mall’s Internet café. An hour later, I reluctantly stepped back into the chaos and ran for the exit. Outside, the traffic crawled and I was assaulted by a jarring symphony of car horns. I crossed over to another nearby mall and pushed through the nearly impenetrable army of shock troop shoppers. I made my way to the food court at the farthest reach of the mall where I plopped down and called my wife who told me she had been standing in line at the cash register for half an hour to make a simple purchase. I could take no more and told her I was catching a bus home where I would wait for her. The bus was even more crowded than the mall and at least 66 people were crammed into a first-class bus meant for only 48. I was forced to stand in the aisle for 30 minutes until a seated passenger got up to leave. At one point, a one-year-old boy waddled next to me in the aisle and needed to pee. He was without a diaper and his father put a plastic bag up to the kid’s privates and the boy relieved himself, though some got on the floor. I suppose I should be thankful the kid didn’t want to take a dump. I solemnly promise never to get in your way as you shop for Christmas because I will definitely never be there

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