Because Reindeer Are Assholes

Now, there are a few things you really should know about me, especially this time of year. First of all, I freaking love the holiday season. We have two trees up, with lights around the room that we use instead of lamps. I wear Christmas hats and headbands every day at work, decorated the store with tinsel and garland today, and even have Christmas sweaters and hats for the oddly squirmy Bowser Kitten. The second thing you need to know is that I make epically awesome Christmas playlists. It’s an awesome mix of the classics (Bing Crosby, Burl Ives, Ertha Kitt), childhood faves (Raffi, Muppets, New Kids on the Block, Hanson, Rockapella), the awesomely rockin’ and random (Twisted Sister, Korn, Run D.M.C, Trans-Siberian Orchestra), and artists you wouldn’t normally associate with Christmas (Weezer, The Killers, Fall Out Boy, Stephen Colbert). The last and probably most important thing to know about me is also probably the most shocking, especially considering how much I love all things Christmasy and Winter Wonderland-y.

I hate the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer because reindeer are assholes. Don’t believe me? Just ask Big Rude Jake.

I’m sure you all know the tale. I mean, we’ve been singing it every year since 1949 and watching the damn Christmas special since 1964. For those of you in the back who somehow have avoided this story for the entirety of your lifetime, here’s the gist of it:

Rudolph is a reindeer. He’s smart and sweet and kind and caring, but he has a glowing red nose which makes him a misfit. There’s another reindeer named Fireball who has bright yellow hair, but no one bothers him because it turns out he’s a damn bully. Apparently, everyone in this damn “special” is a damn bully though.  Rudolph’s father, Donner, starts mocking him only moments after his birth. Freakin Santa Claus comes to see him right after that. At first, he’s uber impressed with how smart the little guy is, but then breaks out into a song about how every single reindeer wants to pull Santa’s sled, and there’s no way Rudolph ever will with his abnormality. Rudolph’s parents try desperately to hide his nose, making little nose caps out of rubber and dirt. Donner actually tells his own child, right after the lad complains about how uncomfortable one such cover is, that “there are more important things than comfort, like self-respect”. But how the hell is Rudolph ever going to respect himself if everyone around him is mocking him for being a freak of nature?

Of course, the rest of Christmas Town isn’t much better. The elves have their own “pick on the outcast” competition going where they all gang up on the one guy who isn’t very good at his job. Hermy knows he’s not good at making toys, and he has an alternative career picked out. He’s probably the most logical one in the whole damn town! Does anyone respect that? Of course not! They sit around berating him for not being like them, making fun of his love of dentistry, and mocking his lack of toy-making abilities. And of course, Santa is no help. When the elves try out their Christmas song for him, he just makes comments about how Hermy’s section was flat, because Hermy wasn’t there to sing with them. The red-suited wonder just brings down a whole world of crap on Hermy’s head.

Back to Rudolph though. So Donner and “Mrs. Donner”, because apparently in Christmas Town you give up your full identity once you’re married and become just the Mrs., send Rudolph off to the reindeer games. Of course, they try to cover up his nose because they’re ashamed of him for not being like all the others. Somehow Rudolph makes friends with another misfit, the fuzzy-headed Fireball. The two bond briefly, becoming friends. Thanks to finally having someone around who doesn’t just mock him relentlessly, Rudolph seems to build up a little confidence. He’s able to chat up a lovely young gal named Clarice (she still has a name, so you know she’s single) and flies like a damn eagle when it’s his turn to attempt take-off practice. Even that jolly red bastard Claus is impressed watching him fly!

Until that is, his nose cover comes off. His one and only friend in the world, Fireball, wastes no time pointing out the glowing red nose to everyone around him and leads in the jeers of “rainbow snot” and “furnace nose” with all the other reindeer. Even the damn adults join in, pledging to not let their children anywhere near the glowing freak. Hell, Santa joins in! He flat out shuns Rudolph, pretty much saying it’s a pity he’s a freak because he’s the best flier they have. The only one to stick by him is Clarice, who is promptly whisked away by her father who refuses to let his daughter have anything to do with someone not 100% like him.

So, all of this bullying causes both Rudolph and Hermy to run away from home. Luckily, they do this at the exact same time so they wind up running into each other. Bonding over the fact that they’re both misfits who everyone seems to hate with a burning hatred of a thousand supernova-ing suns, the two finally find real friendship in each other. They somewhat form their own small society consisting of just the two of them and a bizarre tinsel hunter named Yukon who uses poodles to pull his dog sled. The small group is able to survive on their own, and even make their way to an island inhabited entirely by misfit toys. You would think this would be the perfect ending to their story: misfits finding their place among those who accept and love them for their unique personalities.

Instead, King Moonrasier gives them yet another variation of the usual B.S. ever bullied child has ever gotten in their life: if you just tried a little bit harder, then maybe you could fit in and people would like you! He lets them spend one single night on the island, and has the gall to ask the trio to keep them in mind when they someday return to Christmas Town. Lucky for those toys they were all genuine and sweet beings who bonded with the trio because that King was just like the rest of the inhabitants of Christmas Town: he was only looking out for himself, and how he looked in the eyes of others. If he let these random misfits of his own kind in amongst the toys, then he would have equals there among him. Obviously, the trio had to go.

So, the trio is asked to leave the only place they’re not seen as outcasts. Rudolph thinks he’ll be a danger to the others, because his “beak blinks like a blinking beacon” as his father always told him, and there’s a giant snow monster out there who seems to want to eat them. He figures the others will be better off without him, and he sets off on his own. Of course, his traveling companions go off in search of him. While all of this is happening Clarice and “Mrs. Donner” set off in search of Rudolph too because this small group of characters are the only decent beings in the whole damn special. They all wind up in the lair of the snow monster, who is ready to eat all of the reindeer. Yukon uses his skills with rocks and a pickaxe to help Hermy use his dentistry skills to save their friends. Of course, this means we have to think that Yukon and his pups are dead for a small time, only until everyone is deemed “useful”.

You see, this is the time in the special where everyone returns home and it’s decided that they’re “worthy” of being there. Hermy’s boss decides that maybe all these people and creature with teeth really do need a dentist around, and sets up an appointment. Yukon triumphantly returns, snow monster in tow, and shows that the now-toothless monster can put a star on top of a damn tree once a year. See, even the scary monster thing is useful! It takes a blinding blizzard and the near cancellation of Christmas for Rudolph to become useful, though.

You see, every single being who once mocked and ridiculed Rudolph suddenly comes to the realization that having a light at the head of your sleigh may be useful when flying in the dark in the middle of winter. Apparently, it had never snowed on Christmas Eve before the birth of Rudolph, so this was never an issue. Santa asks Rudolph not only to fly with him that night but to lead the damn sleigh. Now remember, Rudolph just got back mere hours earlier from a months-long journey through frozen hell, was attacked and knocked unconscious by a snow monster, thought he lost one of his best and only friends in the world, found out that friend wasn’t dead and had actually trained the snow monster, and was now back in the town that had made his short life a living hell up until this point. And here is Santa asking him to guide his sleigh. Forget about the mocking, the torment, the shunning by damn near every single being in the land. Forget that, up until 30 seconds ago you were just some freak they were ready to tolerate so that Santa could go pick up some free (albeit misfit) toys from an island and get a damn dentist in the town already. Forget the mocking that happened from the moment he opened his damn eyes for the very first time on this earth. Forget everything, and guide the damn sleigh so that Santa can continue to be a beloved holiday figure.

And the stupid bastard does it.

Maybe Rudolph has a master plan that he enacted that day. Maybe he was more concerned with getting a home for the misfit toys than with his own childhood torment. Maybe he decided to end the reign of King Moonraker by having Santa take every single inhabitant of his island aboard his sled to be given a new home on Christmas Eve, leaving the King a lonely and hollow shell of a former being. Or maybe, just maybe, all those years of torment just made Rudolph that much more determined to make something of himself that everyone else could see and be proud of; to become something “normal” in the eyes of his father, fulfilling the wish every reindeer father has for their son (since apparently daughters can never fly with Santa).

Or maybe Rudolph has a bizarre form of Stockholm Syndrome, making him want to appease his childhood captors, the inhabitants of Christmas Town.

As Big Rude Jake said, you can take what you want from this story. I mean, we won’t let our nation’s kids hear a naughty word or see a naked boob on TV because it will cause them to be scarred for life, ruining any prospects of becoming a normal and functioning adult. Yet, we let them continually, year after year, sing this song and watch this special, celebrating the torment of innocent creatures for the sheer delight of the status quo. We basically drive it into the heads of our young that bullying someone because they are the slightest bit different is perfectly fine once a year. I mean, if reindeer can be stuck-up bigotted sons of bitches, then why can’t we?

I agree with Jake that this story should have continued. It should have shown the days after Christmas, with Rudolph sitting at the sleazy dive bar on the wrong side of Christmas Town, full of disgraced former elves and that weird doll Sally who some say suffered from depression. He should be sitting there, a glass of half-rate scotch on the bar between his hooves, a look of pain and disappointment on his face, pondering the happens of the last few days. I mean, he was physically and mentally exhausted before being propositioned by Santa to be a part of his team and wasn’t of sound mind to rationally agree to any terms. And now here he sits, knowing that his fate is to be mocked behind his back at the water cooler while all the other reindeer are gathering for their post-Christmas rituals. He ponders every little thing the other reindeer said to him to his face as a child and youth and wonders what they’re saying about him behind his back when their boss isn’t around to remind them that he’s useful. Will he ever be worthy of anything without Santa’s approval? Is his entire existence just to spend one night a year in service to others, and then back to the laughing and mockery for another 350+ days? He ponders these things over and over, wondering what will ever become of his life, his relationship with Clarice (whose father once forbade their blossoming friendship based on his nose, but now welcomes him with open arms when Santa is around), his very existence in this Christmas-centered town. He stares into the amber liquid in his glass, fighting back tears as he raises the glass up to his lips and mutters

“…..what’s the use of getting sober when you’re gonna get drunk again…”

Yes, this may be a bleak imagining of Christmas, but it’s true. The treatment of Rudolph was just appalling, and his sudden acceptance without time to rationalize his place in the world could leave him in a perpetual state of emotional limbo.  No, this view doesn’t ruin Christmas for me. I’m probably the most festive person you would ever meet. If I were any more full of the Christmas spirit, I would piss eggnog and crap out candy canes. My festiveness does not get in the way of realizing one of the major truths in this world though:

Reindeer Are Assholes.

Advertisements

Move From Hell: Moving back to Windsor

My roommates are driving me crazy. I know I say that a lot, but it’s true. Every day I feel my sanity slowly slip further and further away from me. Yet, I stay here. Is it because I love this house? Because this is the only real home I’ve known for years? Because I have some sort of connection to this place? Well, a bit. But mostly, I really REALLY hate moving.

You see, in all my years of moving and helping others move, I can only ever remember one move that was not a total disaster in some way. Ironically, it was our move from my hometown of Windsor to Sarnia, a place I grew to loathe for many years (but have grown a strange fondness for in my oldish age). The only thing that went wrong was an overly helpful aunt with a heart of gold trying to make sure we left my childhood home with sufficient memories with us. This resulted, many months later, in discovering just how much damage a frozen tomato thrown at full force at a sibling can do to drywall.

My family had a lot of bizarre happenings when any of us moved. When my cousin was learning to drive, our aunt moved out into a smaller town in the county and we all came to help her. In a blizzard. With our other aunt letting our newby-driver cousin drive her, my sister, and myself there. Aside from the sheer terror that comes from driving down a county road at 80km/h with a new driver in the middle of a blizzard, no one thought to tell us that there was a steep slope to the left of our aunt’s new driveway. Once we finally arrived at the new house, our driver jumped from the vehicle and rolled down a large embankment.

Another time, helping the same aunt move into a new place, I enlisted the help of my then high school boyfriend. He tripped and fell while carrying a dresser drawer down a flight of stairs, and wound up laying in a pile of my aunt’s underpants.

Of all of our family moves, though, nothing will ever top the move back to Windsor. This should have been a great day, considering how much I despised Sarnia at the time. I spent the few weeks before the move saying goodbye to close friends in the area. My little group of Petrolia-partying friends even made me a very sparkly scrapbook, which I still have tucked away in my memory box today. I was packed and ready to go days early. My parents had the moving company come out to survey the house and our load, to get any special instructions, and to go over general details of the move with my parents. Dad even rented a small U-Haul truck to take the contents of the garage and shed.  It all seemed so simple.

If only we had known.

First off, the moving company showed up with a truck maybe half the size of what we needed. We managed to cram all the major appliances and furniture onto the truck, but still had all of our boxes left. Somehow, the movers grabbed our overnight bags from the hall closet, and the cat carrier for our cat, but not any boxes. We had to dig through the truck to get those things unloaded, and then fit boxes wherever they would fit. Everything that was left was loaded into the smaller truck dad had rented.

We were somehow able to get a trailer last minute and hook it to the back of dad’s smaller truck. My cousin and I crammed as much of the smaller garage things into the back of his pickup truck and attached a pull trailer with the log splitter on the back of that. My mother had my grandma, my sister, and our precious kitty Peaches in the family minivan. They wound up so crowded in there, my sister had to shift into weird positions just to keep things in place. Every time they turned left, brooms hit her in the head. Whenever they turned right, a basketball hit her in the head. She was diligent in making sure Peaches was comfortable the entire time.

In all, it took us almost twice as long to pack everything up as we had scheduled for. We rolled out of Sarnia almost 4 hours late.

When we finally got to the new house we were renting for the next ten months, we started counting the days until we left. The basement, we were to find out later thanks to my mold allergy, was infected with black mold. There was no real heating or cooling in the master bedroom, just lime green shag carpeting. The laundry shoot led straight to the furnace, and the washer and dryer were plugged into an extension cord dropped through the kitchen floor. Months later we would have the house appraised in the vague hope of buying and renovating it. We were basically told that the only way to fix up that house affordably was with a gas can and matches.

As the rest of the day unfolded, more and more things went wrong. Somehow one of the movers put some of mum’s good China int he garage, under a very large box of heavy power tools. Boxes of liquor were left outdoors for hours, with some bottles only having pour spouts instead of real lids. That New Years Day, my cousin and I were to discover the hard way that having them left like that meant that bees and fruit flies flew into the bottles. I can still picture the stream of vodka flying out of my cousin’s mouth as my sister pointed and screamed: “You’re drinking bees!”.

Family members came to help us unpack at what they thought would be the end of the day. Instead what they found was a yard full of cranky, sweaty, hungry people not even halfway done unloading the first truck. My parents did get pizza and beer for everyone, paid movers included, seeing as it is the universal payment for helping someone move. That only gave us a very short break in a very long day, though.

I didn’t get to bed until after 2am that night. Being as stubborn as I am, I insisted on getting everyone’s bedframes put together and all the beds made with real sheets so we could all sleep soundly. You ever drop a screw in lime green shag carpeting?

The next day, dad tried to open the closets in the master bedroom so my parents could unpack their clothes. The doors were mirrored sliding doors, much too big for the closets they were on. Keeping the doors on gave my parents a little over two inches on either side to reach their arms in and root around for what felt like the right outfit. The shower doors in the upstairs bathroom were the same problem. After dad finally managed to pry the doors off and put up a shower curtain, he found that the showerhead aimed a very light stream at his chest. He had to crouch down and almost kneel to take a proper shower. It was like showering at Danny Devito’s house.

As we unpacked, we found more and more things wrong. Everything stored in the basement had to be moved onto wooden pallets because the walls dripped when it rained. Mum lost some of her good China plates that were cracked beyond repair by the weight of the tools thrown on top of them. Poor Peaches could smell the dogs that lived there before us and hid behind the couch for close to a week. Oh, and did I mention a local small religion used to hold ceremonies in our house, and members would drive by to pray and take pictures sometimes.

Very few good things came from that time. I did get two big closets for 10 months, which was great. My sister learned the hard way that when you use spray Pledge on your dresser, you need to be very careful not to get any on the hardwood floors. And Peaches had hours of fun running down the hallways, sitting down, and sliding into the closet doors. Eventually, we caught on to his game and left the hall closet open with a large stack of blankets on the floor.

At one point in that house, I came down with a very bad case of pneumonia thanks in part to the mold there. While that would normally be a story for another day, this post needs some cheering up, so here it goes:

My parents were out for their anniversary dinner, while I was left in charge of my sister, my brother, and my brother’s best friend who was visiting from Sarnia. I was feeling like crap, so I went into the basement to lay down and watch some TV. At some point, I passed out. When I woke up, I hard one hell of a time breathing. My sister called up the restaurants my parents had wanted to try and have dinner at, but they had no one there registered with our very unique last name.

She ended up calling my uncle. He and my aunt came over as fast as they could drive. My aunt stayed home with the others, while my uncle broke every traffic law imaginable to get me to the hospital. We ran red lights, we sped, we passed over the solid yellow line. We were panicked rebels.

When we finally got to the hospital, I was barely conscious. My uncle helped me into the ER, and up to the triage nurse’s desk. She asked what the problem was, and my uncle started telling her that I couldn’t breathe and had passed out a few times and was kinds turning blue a bit. The nurse held up a finger to him, looked at me and said, “No. Let her take a deep breath and tell me.”

My uncle looked her dead in the eye and screamed, “If she could breathe, do you really think we’d fucking be here?!?!” I was admitted to the ER right away after that.

In the end, it turns out my parents registered under a different name at the very first restaurant my sister called. They registered under Griswold, the name of a National Lampoons movie family for whom everything goes wrong any time they try to celebrate anything.

So, that’s the first in a long line of stories of moves from hell. I’ll have more for you later, Sunshine. But right now my wine glass is empty, my pizza was just delivered, and the ever cuddly Bowser Kitten needs to be fed.

A Brief Change in Schedule

Every year at our store, corporate decides we need to reorganize everything. Usually, it’s not a big deal. My Work Bestie and I come in at 6 am every day for a week, pull all the bottles off the shelves one section at a time, wash the shelves, and re-planogram everything. This typically means moving a few bottles a shelf up or down or moving everything 2 inches to the left.

Our store opens at 10 am, so we were usually let go by 11 am. Monday to Thursday, we worked 6am-11am, with the Friday keeping us until 2:30 pm to finish up the last section we had. We didn’t both with the cold room since we reorganize that constantly as the seasonal products change.

It’s a nice change of pace for us. We like that we’re trusted to be in the store alone. We can throw on the radio, talk about stuff we can’t talk about in front of other co-workers, and get a bit silly. We work really hard, but we’re able to goof off while we do it. So, when planograms were announced for this year, we said, of course, we’d do them.

Well, we finally looked at the actual planograms on Saturday.  And we’re a little bit screwed now.

For starters, the boss knew this year there was more work than usual and that we never get around to doing the cold room.  So instead of an early morning shift, we’re on midnights. Starting tonight, we work 9:15 pm to 5:45 am. This wouldn’t be so bad if my body was on board with it. I stayed up late Saturday night so that I could sleep in on Sunday, but wound up waking up kinda early (for a Sunday at least). So I stayed up a bit last night with every intention of sleeping until at least 1 pm today. Instead, I was wide awake by 10 am.

Now, as for the planograms themselves, it’s like 10 times more work than usual. As I said, it’s usually just cleaning shelves and shifting things around a bit. The worst is usually local wines because they regroup them all the time.

Well this year, they decided to move all of the clear spirits all the way across the store. We usually keep them on a wall, 5 shelves high. Now, we’re moving them to shelves right across from the whiskey wall, so that all the high theft items are closer together (and easier to watch). So we have to move every single European wine clear across the store, take everything off of the shelves in two different sections at once (at the very least), scrub everything down, and reorganize it according to the diagrams.

As I said, we’ve planogrammed before, both in our full store and in this location before we opened. That time the shelves were completely empty and we had to rely fully on the diagram. And that was ridiculous to get done.

And now, we’re doing that same thing all over again.

This is going to be a damn long week for me, Sunshine.

At least this schedule works out well for the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend and I. Usually my alarm clock for him goes off at 5:35 am, and he hits snooze once or twice. So with me getting done at 5:45 am (and my Work Bestie driving me home), I’ll be able to see him before he goes to work. Then I can sleep while he’s at work, and hop in the shower before he gets home. Then we have the evening together before I leave for work. We’ll get to see each other more than when I’m on the closing shift.

Then, once this is all over, it’s back to normal. I get off work Saturday at 5:45 am. Then I’m back at it again Sunday at 10:45 am.  This is going to be a damn long week.

So I went to the post office to pick up my package today because I knew it was the WIRELESS keyboard I ordered. I ordered it specifically because it said it was a WIRELESS keyboard, as the way my desk is set up a keyboard I have to plug into the computer wouldn’t work out very well. So I lug this much-too-large box home with my WIRELESS keyboard inside, get home, and open up the box. Inside is a box, inside which was a keyboard that most definitely WAS NOT A WIRELESS KEYBOARD!!!!! Now I have to go through all the hassle of sending it back, getting a refund, and ordering a new wireless keyboard, and then waiting for the damn thing to arrive.
*had to write this on my phone, because I’m stuck with the messed up keyboard for now

Hey there Sunshine,

M<y keyboard has crapped out somehow. I had it cleaned out and everything, but the keys are sticking. My friend said it’s because I got a cheap peice of crap keyboard that should’ve only lasted a year, and I’ve been using it for three years now.

It’s ttttttttttttttttttttaken me like 15 minnnnnnutes to typppe this. I””ve givvven up on corrrrrrrrrrrrrrcting it. It leaves out sme letttttters and throooooooooooooopws in others. Ordrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrd a new one on Amazon, shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhld be hgere sooooooooooon.

How Not To Keep Your Job — Update

OK, so things with The Kid got interesting during his last shift.  Aside from snapping at me that he already knew how to do everything (when I was trying to show him how to do something he hadn’t done before), he made a big bunch of glaring errors.  Then, at the end of the night while everyone was cashing out, a few of us ran to the back to throw our uniform shirts in our lockers and change into regular clothes. I had on my jeans and work boots, and a very high-cut tank top (which I made sure showed zero cleavage, since The Kid seemed so nervous even serving a customer with big boobs, let alone having to work alongside a set of Double D’s), and a co-worker threw on a pair of shorts. When the shift leader asked him what he drawer total was, The Kid started to answer, but mid-number he just mumbled and stared at my chest.

Now, I’m used to people staring at my chest. Hell, even I stare at my chest sometimes. It’s damn, near majestic. But The Kid sat there with his jaw dropped open, eyes wide, and was almost drooling while he stared at my non-existent cleavage. I even asked a coworker if maybe my shirt had been pulled down a bit while I was lifting drawers. But it was pulled almost up to my collar bone.

Still, The Kid sat there gape-jawed and silent while the shift leader asked him THREE TIMES what his total was.

The next day, on my laid-back Kid-less Sunday shift, a senior co-worker asked if I noticed any issues with The Kid that we could address. Now, we had been making lists of things he did wrong, not to shame him or get him in trouble, but to make sure we knew what to go over with him the next time he was in. Well this list was more than a page front and back.

Very long story short, the other night The Kid came in for his shift. The Big Boss Man made all the other people getting ready to count their drawers go out and do stock while he and the assistant manager had a “little talk” with The Kid. A few minutes later, The Kid was escorted out of the building, never to be seen again.

The Big Boss Man came around to each of us on shift that night to let us know that The Kid was “no longer under our employment”.

Shocker, I know!

(Actually, my reaction was,”Really? gee, no one saw THAT coming!” in the most Daria-esque sarcastic tone I could muster).

So it turns out, that last post really WAS a list of things to do to make sure you Do Not Keep Your Job.

Hope you’re having a better weekend than The Kid, Sunshine. We have our strike deadline at 12:01am Monday (so tomorrow night), so there may be some Customer Service posts coming up from that. Also, I’m working on a series on files you need to keep. I mean, filing is probably the least fun and sexy thing you can think of right now, but keeping certain things filed away in an orderly manner can save you a RIDICULOUS amount of times sometimes. Time that could be spent on much more fun and sexy things.