CSotD: No boxes, no returns

Lola (AMS) starts off a post-Christmas posting with a decidedly non-Christmas gag, since Frosty the Snowman is no more a Christmas carol than is Jingle Bells or Winter Wonderland or the dreaded Susie Snowflake.

But on a day otherwise awash in jokes about returning unwanted gifts and misinterpreting the meaning of “Boxing Day,” it seems appropriate to mark St. Stephen’s Day with a joke about getting stoned, granted that Stephen did it in a less joyful manner than Frosty.

December 26 is also Wren Day in former Celtic areas, most famously Dingle in the West of Ireland, in which “strawboys” go around in costumes originally made from rushes, though today any costume will do.


It’s one of the very few traditions that has somewhat survived the Christianization of the Celts and it’s all explained in this video, though if you can understand what they’re saying, you either grew up in the Gaeltacht or have been passing the pipe with Frosty.


Reaching back even further into the mists of time, Wallace the Brave (AMS) cracked me up, though his anthropology is a bit off, since there’s no evidence I know of for anyone that ancient having been here.

Wallace has the excuse of being a kid. I can’t figure out how this grownup figures that American Indians are Russian, since — assuming they came here across the Bering Straits, which they don’t all accept — they would have done it thousands of years before Rurik established Russia, the Rus having been Scandinavian.

There’s plenty of evidence, moreover, that the folks who lived in this part of the world had a deep appreciation for the natural splendors of the place, judging from the Algonquin names that are still used here.

I would give examples, but once you take those Algonquin names apart, it’s very difficult to put them back together again, one of the joys of driving around New England being hearing how your GPS nearly chokes to death trying to pronounce them.


But for those who cling to Oog Theory, this Free Range (Creators) puts a spin on the paleo diet that also made me laugh despite my knowing better. I had a young reporter in Colorado whose folks ran a paleo diner and the food there was quite good, though I’ve never quite grasped the distinction between paleo and regular old health food.

I do know that cavepersons didn’t live particularly long lives, but I suspect that longevity is a combination of healthy living and some sort of cosmic coin flip. We all know of the fellow who smoked two packs a day, ate a half dozen eggs each morning and lived to be 101, and the organic advocate who dropped dead before 50. There are sensible precautions, but certainly no guarantees.

Though when I go through the grocery store and see what people are sliding down their gullets, I’m surprised than anyone makes it at all.

Aside from the giant Fruit Loop, which was a pro-nutrition stunt, we have Lucky Charms periodically offering boxes of the marshmallow pieces without the fig leaf of highly processed cereal, and I’d note that the Amazon listing also features a video for making your own “grilled donut s’mores.”

It looks tempting. As in “tempting fate.”

I don’t think most people appreciate the change that came along in the 60s and 70s, thanks to people like Adelle Davis, Alicia Bay Laurel and Frances Moore Lappe, but before them, we subsisted on Dinty Moore canned stew, Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes and Swanson’s TV dinners, along with vegetables boiled into pasty, limp submission.

Times can change: At some point around junior high, my boys begged for canned pasta, so I let them each pick out two cans. We got home and they each opened, warmed up and ate one of their cans. Six months later, we donated the other two cans to a food drive, with a combination on my part of guilt and relief.


This morning’s Rhymes With Orange (KFS) hearkened to my remarks the other day about how kids would like eggnog if they’d been offered it from early days, and also with a conversation last night about what else kids are not exposed to, including eating at restaurants where the food is served on plates and you eat it with silverware, and plays in which you sit and watch, with nobody on stage encouraging you to shout or jump about, to which my granddaughter added museums where you look at stuff instead of playing with it.

I have nothing against fast food restaurants, children’s theater or interactive science museums — I’ve taken my kids and grandkids to all of them — but I also have nothing against Frosted Flakes, as long as they’re considered a fun treat and not a nutritional mainstay.

But, while I think a lot of American kids eat better than their grandparents did, I know we could do a far better job of exposing them to what, at least, used to be grown-up life.


Wally, Eddie and Lumpy did some pretty stupid things in high school, but they carried with them an undercurrent of being kids, and knowing that, at some point, they’d have to assume adult roles in life.

They even put on jackets and ties for dates and parties. Acting like a grown-up was kind of a kick, and the closer they got to graduation, the more they chafed over being treated like kids.

Today, we not only market beer and flavored whiskey to perpetual adolescents, but we’ve got at least one member of Congress who can’t seem to slip on a jacket when it is obviously appropriate to do so.

It’s less a matter of instruction than one of modeling. You don’t have to teach your kids how to behave maturely if you simply expose them to things in which maturity is assumed.

If nothing else, it makes for a more striking contrast when you revert to things in which maturity is abandoned.

Seek balance.


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