I'm kind of mad at my TV.
As we all know, there's no way this is going to be a normal holiday season — not with the almost-300,000 Covid-19 deaths; all the people who are out of jobs because of the pandemic; every other business closed because they aren't classified "essential"; half of us staying home and the other half running around like nothing's wrong; and our blessed "leaders" in Washington at a stalemate because they haven't actually agreed on anything since the 1990s.
The net result of all this, of course, is the fact that normal American families can't afford to spend a lot on gifts, and we're pretty much forbidden from gathering in large groups anyway.
My friend Michelle, who is at least partly Jewish, spent much of this last week making latkes, doughnuts, chicken and all the things she always fixes for Hanukkah and then taking batches of everything around to her kids and grandkids because she's not throwing her house open to family and friends like she usually does.
Which means, of course, that she and her husband, Kevin, will be home alone — not that she's complaining, mind you. And neither am I, simply because the other person who lives at our house and I will also be alone. We have, after all, been home alone for 11 months now.
No, what I really object to is the fact that on my television every commercial features crowds of people gathering for big meals, dancing around the kitchen and the dining room with huge platters of food that they're ALL GOING TO SIT DOWN AND EAT TOGETHER.
Other advertisements focus on giant families around the Christmas tree, laughing and having fun, drinking drinks and going absolutely crazy over the fact that it's holiday time.
What world is this my TV keeps throwing in my face? Not the one I'm living in, and quite likely not the one you're seeing.
At least the guys in the Les Schwab commercials are wearing masks when they run out to greet their customers, indicating to me that somebody made an effort to reflect the times we're in.
Now, don't get me wrong. I do love Christmas. We've decorated the inside of our house with lights and doo-dads we keep stashed away all year in the guest bedroom closet — runners and candles on the table, wreaths on the doors, a swag with lights and ribbons running down the bannister and even our little fake Christmas tree on a table in the window — all of this in complete denial that nobody but the two of us is going to see it. My vast collection of holiday music has already filled the house for days while we've worked on Christmas cards, made cookies and even just had cocktails by the fire.
Ain't no bah-humbugging going on here. We have the spirit.
But we don't come close to matching the excitement exhibited by Jan in the Toyota commercials, or all the grinning fools in ads for grocery stores, restaurants and wineries.
I first noticed it a while back, when the media bombarded us with family partying and eating around Thanksgiving time. Of course, not everybody stayed home like we did, so (duh) guess what? — that was right before the country's Covid-19 numbers took a major jump.
I'm pretty sure the health experts are correct to worry about what's going to happen when the even longer Christmas-Hanukkah-new year season hits in full force and millions of Americans again somehow forget (or just don't believe) what it will take to keep more of us from getting sick and over-crowding our hospitals and completely wearing out our bone-tired doctors and nurses.
No matter what you and I decide to do this Christmas, there is no denying it is still the season of peace and goodness. I sincerely hope you all enjoy it. Stay safe and take care, and let's all try to survive to see next Christmas.
Mikel Kelly retired from the newspaper business a few years back and much of what he thinks of the world has to do with what he sees on television.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.