Tyrades! Working Christmas Eve?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"I saw Mommy blowing Santa Claus virtual kisses underneath the mistletoe last night..."

Having worked every holiday known to man when I was a convenience store clerk during high school, I can truly empathize with the millions of Americans who will be working on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day this year.

When you think of all the medical personnel, police officers, fire fighters, Armed Forces members, truckers, farmers, reporters, fast food workers, etc. who must treat Dec. 24 and 25 like any other days, it almost seems those of us anticipating a Norman Rockwell holiday are in the minority.

There have always been selfless professions holding back chaos at Christmas time, but 21st century man has steadily enlarged the realm of "essential services" to include supplying lottery tickets, Slim Jims and Marlboros. ("Wheezin' is the reason for the season.")

Does it really help your bottom line or image to force workers to toil during the holidays? Was there really "no room at the inn," or did a disgruntled Bethlehem Motel 6 clerk just take out his frustrations on Mary and Joseph? ("If they make me miss the Hawaii Bowl, this will be one manger without a continental breakfast. Oy, if I knew someone who could turn water into wine, I'd sure have a merry holiday.")

Okay, some workers are forced to work by their bank account, grudgingly volunteering to take the extra hours for overtime pay. They learn to replace old traditions with new traditions. ("After momma works her double shift cleaning toilets, you can unwrap your new microscope and look for momma's Christmas bonus.")

Of course a few employees are a little too eager to volunteer to work. Don't you worry about leaving the mysterious loner guy in charge of technical support when people call with complaints about the electric gadgets they've just received? ("In order to test your new DVR, you'll need to release static electricity by leaving your back door unlocked. And your cutlery drawer needs to be clearly marked...")

Let's not forget the folks who volunteer to work so they'll have a good excuse to miss the pre-programmed comments they always get at family gatherings. You know, comments like "Everyone in my bridge club keeps wondering when you'll find a nice girl and settle down -- when I bring the subject up," " Put on a few pounds since last Christmas haven't you?," "Sorry about the congealed salad, bro', but my private jet hit some...," "Johnny, tell Uncle Steve thank you for the box your Wii came in," and "Picking up from our conversation of last December, cuz, I want you to see the 3,000 pages of decoded documents proving that the Island of Misfit Toys actually exists and the military is using it to..."

If you're working the holidays this year, chin up. Long before you, someone was muttering, "Dirty razzinfrazzin. I'll bet they steal the shampoo and swaddling clothes."

Merry Christmas from the Tyree family.