Bill Talks About the Season of Giving

It’s Advent already and people are getting into the Christmas spirit. I hate it. The wife starts the annual parade of boxes from the attic and the basement. Wreaths, bulbs, lights and candles all over the place. Then it begins, “this snowman doesn’t light up, can you fix it?” No, I can’t fix it. A factory worker over in China pressed it together with some special jig and there isn’t even any screws that I can remove to take it apart. It will break if I start prying it.  “But it’s supposed to light up”. Uugh! This is supposed to get me in the Christmas Spirit?

I have one Christmas decoration, a stuffed Grinch. It’s that green grumpy guy with a Santa hat. I take him out of the bag and set him down on my humidor – there, ready for Christmas. 

I’ve often said, and people have stolen my line, that The Grinch Who Stole Christmas was a pretty good story up until the time when that sellout’s heart grew. Why did he have to go and do that for? At least he kept it real for everyone else up until then. I’ll take the Roast Beast but pass on all that other junk, the trees, presents etc. . . 

This attitude is for everyone’s good, mind you. People have totally lost all sense of perspective. Let me give you an example. 

The local High School requires that for kids to graduate they must have done so many hours of volunteer work. To set a good example, the teachers must also do a certain number of hours of community service each year. 

Some guy I know who teaches English was standing out in front of the Supermarket trying to get people to toss their change into a red bucket. He was too lazy to clang the bell so he just had a bell app. (his words not mine) on his phone, which he held up as the bell recording rung out. He didn’t even care if anyone actually donated any money or not, he was just waiting for the hour to get over when the gym teacher would show up and relieve him.

Number one, this guy and these kids are not volunteering. For and English teacher, it’s ironic that he doesn’t even understand the meaning of the word. The worst part is they are teaching the kids their same stupid, warped value system. When you’re required to do something, don’t pretend your heart is big. Face up to the fact that the people making the rules are most likely ordering others to do things so they themselves can feel superior. They probably glow in “the wonderful work they do for the underprivileged”. I can see them giving themselves awards already. 

Number two, their warped values will get in the way of knowing what it’s really like to do something for others. Going to the animal shelter and patting a puppy on the head for an hour is great for the dog, but to feel good about yourself for doing it, I’m not so sure. I don’t want to discourage people, especially kids, from doing nice things and I also don’t want to deprive a lonely puppy from having his head patted, but let’s get real.

When a kid goes over to their elderly neighbors house and shovels snow off their sidewalk, not for money and not to put it down on their time card, that’s the stuff that builds character. Society doesn’t need some flat slob Guidance Counselor checking off boxes to tell me which kid has character or not. I’ll wager that the kid with the most “volunteer” hours is not the kindest, rather they’re just the one that knows how to play the game the best. Although I’m sure they believe themselves to be the kindest. 

Get ready for it  – The world is going to be overrun by phonies


This is what I like to do. When I go to the Cigar Store you grab the cigars you want and a little slip with the bar code on it that are in each cigar box. When you’re checking out you hand the clerk your stack of slips and they read them with the laser. 

If there is a Military person in uniform or a Cop in the line, when I get to the register I turn around and just take the slips out of their hand and say “I’ll take care of these” and add them to my own. After I pay and am leaving I always get a big thank you. I reply to them with either a slight grunt or one of those upward head nods. I don’t say you’re welcome because I really don’t feel like I’ve done anything, they have. They know what I mean. 

I’m far from the most generous man or the nicest or the gentlest, but I’m at least wise enough to know that a shoveled walk or an unexpected gift of a few cigars are more appreciated and go a lot further in making the world a little bit better place than holding up your bell ringing phone waiting for the gym teacher to show up so the school’s Superintendent can tell the Board what wonderful people they all are. 




Bill is the Managing Editor of

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