Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Festival Victims

The Chinese call them Festival Victims. They are people who feel obliged to buy all their friends and relatives cards and presents for every festival - and the Chinese have a lot of festivals. They've not helped themselves by adding Christian festivals to their list, like Easter and Christmas. Festival Victims are constantly short of both time and money. They spend all their money on gifts and cards and all their time shopping for them. Here in Australia we don't have as many festivals, we just make the ones we do have last longer.

Christmas now lasts from mid-September to Boxing Day and Easter lasts from mid-January till whenever Easter Monday is. Usually a Monday funnily enough. In between there are birthdays, Valentines Day, Fathers' Day, Mothers' Day, even Halloween. Have I missed anything? Probably. All these offer endless opportunities to send you broke, or at the very least put you in debt for the rest of your life. My male staff took me through our local shopping mall the other day. He'd normally avoid going to the mall as though it was a morgue full of bloated corpses. (Actually many of the occupants are indeed bloated and on a hot day a lot of them smell like corpses.) But on this occasion it proved to be the quickest route to the bank. He had some money to deposit and he couldn't fit it into his wallet because it was so full of moths. So we strode through the mall with me sitting on my male staff's shoulder, taking lengthy detours around the huge butts of porky people pushing shopping trollies full of junk food and toilet rolls and protecting our ears from the high pitched squalling of snotty-nosed brats throwing tantrums because mummy dared to refuse to buy them a seventh doughnut. (Mummy will probably end up in court for abusing the little shit's human rights.) Then my male staff looked up and I heard him gasp and breath something that sounded like "Plucking Gel!" I looked around expecting to see a shop selling some sort of aid to de-feathering chickens, but no. He had seen Christmas decorations hanging from the ceiling.

Remember, this is mid-October. We hadn't even got to Halloween yet. That's another so called festival that gets up my male staff's goat. He says that when he was a kid they'd occasionally have a small party with apple bobbing and fancy dress. In good years they'd use real apples for apple bobbing. When things weren't so good they had to use stones, which of course didn't float so drownings were common. But he said the kids didn't let the odd death spoil the party. It was all part of the fun. Now kids between two and twenty-five years old feel entitled to wander around their neighbourhood begging from door to door, dropping dog poo through the letter boxes of anyone who refuses to give in to their demands. Apparently it's called "Trick or Treat." My male staff calls it extortion with menaces.

Anyway, finally we reached the bank amid a flurry of dark mutterings from my male staff about it only being October and that if he were Prime Minister he would ban Christmas decorations from being displayed until the tenth of December at the earliest and that any Easter eggs that appear on shop shelves prior to the first of March will be confiscated and distributed among the poor and homeless.................and him. He says all this legislation would be passed within a month of his being voted into office, unless the Christmas recess gets in the way of course. In which case it would probably have to wait until after Easter.

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