Sunday, November 27, 2005

Here's some holiday inspiration from America's most inspirational philosopher, Homer Simpson


As far as I know, there's no official name for the Monday immediately following Black Friday. For most of us, it's just the first workday in the annual solemn religious commemoration known as the Official Holiday Shopping Season.

I don't know about you, but I was moved almost beyond words by this year's TV-news footage of all the "mall rage" that erupted this Black Friday among disgruntled shoppers presumably thwarted in their efforts to procure the divinely promised bargains. To me, nothing says "holiday spirit" more eloquently than the moving sight of brawling shoppers.

(Incidentally, "TV's Craig Ferguson" offered an interesting perspective on this annual orgy of shopping. On Thanksgiving Day, he pointed out, we give thanks for all that we have, and then the next day we're out frantically buying new stuff.)

Anyway, judging by how much I'm looking forward to being back at my desk in the morning, I thought we could all use some holiday inspiration.

Strictly speaking, the holiday in question is Halloween, since it's taken from this year's Halloween episode of The Simpsons. I have to confess that I'm not a Halloween kind of guy, and I finally watched this episode primarily to be able to wipe it off my DVR. But then came this incandescent exchange between that greatest of homespun American philosophers, Homer Simpson (well, maybe it's a tie between Homer and Dilbert's consummately bone-idle coworker Wally), and little Lisa.

While I'm in a confessional mood, I might as well admit that for many years now my cubicle wall (or whatever you call the thing that fails to enclose a cubicle--a "partition," I guess; ah, once upon a time I was a person who had actual walls!) has been adorned with a pair of quotes that are joined in my mind as "The First Step: East vs. West."

There is, first, the famous quote attributed to Mao Zedong: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Then there's the Western view articulated by Homer: "Trying is the first step towards failure." (One of my proudest moments came the day a coworker I'd hardly exchanged two words with stopped at my cubicle and announced excitedly that he'd just seen the episode in which Homer delivers this timeless utterance.)

Homer of course is no stranger to deep thinking. I cherish the time, for example, when he and Bart visited Springfield Airport--which greets visitors with a sign boasting of the number of days since its last crash, unfortunately just reset to zero--and Homer was accosted by a grubby Hare Krishna-like kid croaking, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Homer shot back, "That'll work!"

Anyway, here was Homer making one of his infrequent attempts at caring parenting, taking Lisa to the zoo. Unfortunately, and naturally unbeknownst to dear old dad, the environmentally hyper-aware Lisa isn't a zoo kind of toddler:

LISA: I hate going to the zoo. I feel so sorry for the animals.

HOMER: Lisa, the zoo opens up a whole new world for the animals. In the wild, they would never experience boredom, obesity, loss of purpose--you know, the American dream!

Now tell me that doesn't get your week started off on an appropriately celebratory note! Don't forget now: Shop till you drop!


At 9:55 AM, Blogger Andy said...

They call the day after the Thanksgiving weekend "Cyber Monday", as all of the high speed connectors get online to order their Holiday gifts.

Happy Holidaze!

At 11:02 AM, Blogger KenInNY said...

Thanks, Andy. I actually have now been introduced to that term.

It didn't have much to do with my Monday, though, which was about as glum as I was suspecting.



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