Important Christmas Lessons Already Forgotten

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Neighborhood Starting To Get Too Safe For Family To Afford

CHICAGO—Explaining that the sense of unease she felt walking to and from her home had declined markedly over the years, Humboldt Park resident Kirsten Healy expressed her disappointment to reporters Thursday that her neighborhood was becoming too safe for her family to afford.

Area Dad Informs Busboy He’s Ready To Order

NASHUA, NH—Raising his arm into the air while leaning outward from the table in a bid to command attention from the other side of the restaurant, area father Walter Bierko called over a busboy at DiCapri’s Italian Eatery to inform him that he was ready to order, sources reported Wednesday.

Winning Argument With Aging Parents Less Satisfying Than It Once Was

CINCINNATI—After firmly telling them that she was okay paying city prices and that she would not move back to her hometown just because it was cheaper, local woman Ellen Wallace, 40, confirmed Thursday that winning an argument with her parents has become much less satisfying as they have gotten older.

Rescuers Heroically Help Beached Garbage Back Into Ocean

ATLANTIC BEACH, NC—In what many described as an inspiring display of selflessness and teamwork, a group of rescuers heroically saved a beached mound of garbage by helping the stranded trash back into the ocean, eyewitnesses reported Thursday.

Man Races Against Time To Take Out Trash Bag With Widening Puncture

RIO RANCHO, NM—His pace steadily quickening as he rounded the corner out of his kitchen and made a beeline for the front door, local man Henry Parnasse reportedly found himself locked in a race against time Wednesday morning to take out a trash bag with a widening hole in its side.

Man Pushed Off Plate Of Chicken Wings By Larger Male

WARMINSTER, PA—Looking on as the intense display of aggressive behavior played out over several minutes, sources at Flannigan’s Bar & Grill confirmed Thursday that local man Pete Samuelson was pushed off a plate of buffalo wings by a much larger alpha male.

Grandma Guts It Out Through Lunch On Sunny Patio

MALVERN, PA—Making the audacious decision to dine outdoors with her family despite a noticeable lack of umbrellas or awnings, grandmother Diane McGilvery, 83, reportedly gutted it out through lunch Friday on the sunny patio of a local restaurant.

Parents Formally Announce Transfer Of Expectations To Second Child

GRAND JUNCTION, CO—Explaining that the adjustment made the most practical sense for all parties involved, local parents Beth and Ryan Morgan held a press conference Friday morning to announce the official transfer of expectations from their oldest child, Jeremy, to his younger sibling, Angie.

Motorcyclist Salvaged For Parts

SIOUX FALLS, SD—Following a multiple-vehicle accident on Interstate 90 that temporarily halted traffic in both directions, sources reported Friday that a motorcyclist involved in the crash was hauled off and salvaged for parts.

Detective Not Sure He Was Close Enough To Partner To Endlessly Pursue Killer

DETROIT—After his partner of three years was gunned down last week while the pair were on duty, Detective David Killian of the Detroit Police Department’s Major Case Squad told reporters Wednesday he was unsure whether he had been close enough to his murdered colleague to single-mindedly pursue the killer for as long as it takes.

Man Pretty Cocky Since Beating Cancer

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL—Whether he’s bragging about his newfound appreciation for life or arrogantly refusing to take anything for granted, local man Daniel Oretsky, 38, has been acting insufferably cocky since winning his two-year battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, sources confirmed Tuesday.

Area Man Under Impression He Got Dressed Up

PROVIDENCE, RI—Explaining that the dinner he would soon be having at an upscale restaurant required him to wear something a bit special, local man Kyle Finnegan was under the impression that he had just gotten dressed up, sources said Thursday.

Man Honestly Thought Breakdown Would Be More Obvious To People

MAPLEWOOD, MN—Explaining that he had assumed the deterioration of his physical and psychological state would be readily apparent, 3M sales associate Mark Uhler told reporters Wednesday he honestly thought his ongoing breakdown would be more obvious to everyone around him.

Report: Dad Wants To Show You Where Fuse Box Is

YOUR LOCATION—Noting that it’s important to be prepared in case of emergencies but it’s also a good thing to know in general, your dad announced today that he wants to show you where the fuse box is.

Neighborhood Busybody Reports Sound Of Gunshots

INDIANAPOLIS—Once again sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong, neighborhood busybody Sally Christensen, 54, reportedly took it upon herself to report the sound of gunshots to law enforcement early Tuesday morning, sources confirmed.

Being Older Than Daughter Babysitter’s Only Qualification

UTICA, NY—Possessing no particular proficiencies or training whatsoever, local 12-year-old Jessica Radloff was reportedly hired to babysit Hayley Carden, 7, this week based solely on her qualification of being older than the child she was asked to watch.

Total Weirdo Spends Mother’s Day At Cemetery

ST. MARYS, OH—Apparently content to hang around dead people rather than celebrate like a normal person, area weirdo John Mills spent most of Mother’s Day at a local cemetery, creeped-out sources confirmed.

Child Visiting Ellis Island Sees Where Grandparents Once Toured

ELLIS ISLAND, NY—Pausing to imagine the throngs of people who must have arrived with them that day back in 1994, 12-year-old Max Bertrand reportedly spent his visit to Ellis Island this afternoon walking around the same immigrant station his grandparents once toured.

Email From Mom Sent At 5:32 A.M.

DENVER—After waking up and finding the message waiting on his computer, local man Drew Swanson confirmed to reporters Thursday that his mother had sent him an email at 5:32 a.m.

Man Proud Of Food He Ordered

DEDHAM, MA—Noting how the man grinned with satisfaction after his Buffalo Chicken Ranch sandwich with a side of spiced panko onion rings arrived at his table, sources at Chili’s Grill & Bar confirmed Tuesday that local diner Matt Schoesse ...
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Important Christmas Lessons Already Forgotten

HARTFORD, CT—As the nation moves on from last month's family gatherings, churchgoing, and goodwill toward men, the annual post-Christmas readjustment process is proceeding on schedule, with millions of Americans forgoing their temporary generosity of spirit and resuming their petty, miserable treatment of one another.

Though the joy and glad tidings of the holiday season are mere weeks behind us, sources report that more than 85 percent of 2005's Christmastime lessons have already been forgotten, with that number expected to reach 98 percent by as early as next week.

"Christmas is a magical time of year when people of all ages and backgrounds put aside their differences and are reminded of the things that truly count: the joy of giving, the gleam in a young child's eye, and the sound of voices raised together in song," said James Samuelson of the Hartford-based Institute For American Cultural Mores & Values, which tracks the rise and fall of human love and kindness throughout the year. "Mid-January to early February, by contrast, is a magical time of year when people forget all about that stuff. This leads to mid- to late February, a magical time of year when people everywhere feel overpowering, soul-crushing emotional pain, causing them to hate their coworkers, their loved ones, and themselves."

Evidence of this phenomenon can be seen across the country, with Christmas miracles of universal benevolence and spiritual uplift degenerating into mid-January miracles of everyday banality and neglect. Corporations that donated generously to the homeless and various charities mere weeks ago have resumed their usual cutthroat, profit-driven practices. Children who learned the important lesson that it is better to give than receive are refusing to share their expensive new toys with less fortunate playmates, gloating over their possessions and berating the other children for being poor. And the many career-focused dads who made a major breakthrough during the holiday season, vowing to spend quality time with their wives and children, are systematically unlearning these realizations of what truly matters and returning to their dysfunctional workaholic patterns.

"I hadn't seen my ailing grandmother, who just turned 91 and lives all alone out in Arizona, in over three years," said Boston investment banker Carl Thompson on Dec. 27. "But then, the wife and I, along with several other members of our church, went caroling at the homes of various elderly shut-ins as part of our holiday outreach program. As I looked into the eyes of those poor souls, so happy to have visitors on this blustery winter evening, I learned a valuable lesson about life, about family, and about myself. It was hard to book a flight out to Phoenix at the last minute, but just when it looked like there were no seats left, a reservation was canceled, and I made it out there to visit Grandma in time for Christmas Eve. It was a Christmas miracle. I know that God wanted me to be on that plane."

A Christmas tree, symbol of "the most special time of the year," lies discarded in a Norfolk, VA, alley.

When asked about his grandmother again Tuesday, Thompson said, "That old bag? Christ, she didn't call again, did she? Does she think the world revolves around her and her stupid heart-medication stories she drones on and on about all day and night? Jesus, I'm a busy man here."

Janice Frye, 34, a Los Angeles single mother, related a similarly moving story on Dec. 29.

"My 6-year-old son Brandon is a real handful, suffering from hyperactivity and a whole host of emotional problems. Sometimes the stress of taking care of him all by myself is just too much. But then, when I think of the little baby Jesus lying in the manger, I realize how special and wonderful Brandon really is. On Christmas Eve, when he gave me a drawing he made that said, 'I Love Mommy,' I knew he is the one true light of my life."

Less than two weeks later, the screaming and dish-throwing that typifies Frye's emotionally abusive relationship with her child had resumed. Neighbors reported overhearing Frye yell, "I should have had you aborted," and the child's antisocial behavior and poor performance in school have worsened.

Such forgetting-the-Christmas-spirit stories are not uncommon. According to Samuelson, the process is not only normal, but essential to preserving the special feeling associated with the holiday.

"The positive, soul-enriching sentiments associated with the holiday season are shared by almost all Americans, regardless of religious beliefs or cultural backgrounds," Samuelson said. "But it is only through our regular mean-spirited shallowness the rest of the year that the spirit of Christmas can, by contrast, move us so deeply, deluding the populace into thinking their lives are actually beautiful. If everybody behaved so kindly to one another all year round, Christmas wouldn't seem special at all. And then, the magic of Christmas would be lost forever, swallowed up by a year-round sense of basic human decency that would rob the holidays of their warm glow, ruining Christmas for all the little children of the world."

"If you think about it, the eleven and a half months of cruelty, selfishness, and disrespect exhibited by nearly all of humanity may, in fact, be the most precious gift of all," he added, wiping a tear from his eye. "It is this non-holy miracle of man's non-holiday inhumanity to man that is the true meaning of Christmas."