Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boxing Day

Just so everyone knows, I was brought up with a definition of Boxing Day that went something like, "That's the day when you box up all the stuff you got for Christmas."
I am required to neither lavish reward upon the servants around stately Goon Manor nor do we designate only one day out of the year for charitable giving. Further, if wassail you must, then do it without the damned bird on a stick. You know the wassail cabinet is always open.
I have always taken the day to my heart as a day to look back at the past few and quietly treasure those who gathered around the table yesterday while I toasted them and their mere (!) existence.
Members of my immediate family are tremendously devout traditionalists. I gave up an aspect of that after the close brush with seminarianism, but I'm sure I'm described by some as a bit old-school. What with the ties and caps with the bills in front. And the Thank You cards I do on this day. Every year.
At some point last century, my friend Woody the Shipwright's paramour, Sophronia, urged me to join her in studying semiotics. I am not one to avoid helping a beautiful heiress with her homework. And since I would be the only man in a room full of Brown University coeds who had to look at Umberto Eco for ninety minutes, I tagged along. They all loved The Name of the Rose (probably for the Connery/Slater) but I loved them, their access to pleasant scotches and holiday spots, and there you are.
A little piece of Eco's online Christmas discussion filled me with joy because he hit on G.K. Chesterton, Dan Brown, and James Joyce all at once. Which is the point.

I think I agree with Joyce's lapsed Catholic hero in A Portrait of the Artist
as a Young Man: "What kind of liberation would that be to forsake an absurdity
which is logical and coherent and to embrace one which is illogical
and incoherent?" The religious celebration of Christmas is at least a clear and
coherent absurdity. The commercial celebration is not even that.


Happy End of Christmas Season. See you next year.

Go do something good.

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