Publication date: November 15, 2000
Type: 16-page tabloid parody
Objects of Ridicule: The Stranger, free weekly Seattle tabloid;
Seattle Weekly, free weekly Seattle tabloid
It's a Yuletide tradition of long standing in the Clark Family: my bitch and I pay a visit to Westlake Mall in the first week of December and together pick out her Christmas presents. She is bracingly unintelligent and by the time the big day comes along she's forgotten all about the excursion, and when every single gift turns out to be exactly the perfect thing, well, you should see the expression on her face. Mine too, I would guess.
So there I was on the morning of December 1st of this year readying myself psychologically for the bounty of joy-of-giving feelings soon to ensue, when suddenly what should come blundering upon my private moment but the unmistakable minty top-note of government-issue pepper-spray; and I looked out the window with an air of feigned interest I would say, and my gaze leveled itself on the street scene far, far below; and what I saw there created in me a brief time of Christmas remembering ...
Wintry Christmas morn of 1976. I was hunkered down for the Holidays as the house-guest of then-Senator Warren Magnuson; and let me tell you, "Maggie," as he was commonly called, had really done a whole-hog job on the Yuletime decor. Every eave, gutter and crenelated bell-tower of his 360-room Ballard digs blinky-blinked in ten-deep sheets of rainbow twinkle-bulbs, and a twenty-foot Star of Bethlehem mock-up made the front lawn seem that much more merry. Papier-mâché sleigh-and-ponies rig on his roof with real Santa; wreath, etc. Very Christmasy affair. A snail-paced motorcade of lookers-on snaked past at all hours.
And we were sitting there in the den enjoying a pre-prandial tonic and I said, "Warren? Once again, great job on the lights and that. Shows a lot of time and care and taxpayer expense and I salute you." I downed my libation and flicked the snifter into the andirons. "But now, question. You set up this rig'marole five years ago and you've never taken it down. What's with the Christmas spirit? It's not like you."
He smiled. "Hell, I don't give a shit about that stuff, Georgie," he said with a ho-ho-ho. "I just like the way it fucks up traffic."
Cute story. And as I looked down now at the corner of 4th and Pine I kept in mind that I knew for a personal FACT that ol' Magnuson was a good twenty years dead and cremated right now, thus: to whom in god's name to ascribe this bodacious Christmas traffic fuck-up?
Kent, my pilot, seemed to read my mind: "WTO Riots, sir. Seasonal thing."
Oh that. Just had to smile. You know, it's sometimes said they have no function in a healthy society. But now, here they were, teens and yuppies, out in a public venue putting the lie to that shop-worn old homily. Teens, by fucking up the traffic. And yuppies, by providing that traffic.
"Take your time, Kent," I said. I looked down at my sweet bitch, sleeping at my feet. "We're going to have Westlake Mall all to ourselves."
Thank you teens, yuppies. I had Kent yaw the 'copter ten degrees abaft-rotor and threw open the bay door so that half a dozen bales of Wanker/Whitelys were spontaneously gifted down upon the traffic-jammers. Made me feel like a regular Kris Kringle, albeit with a sense of humor.
Oh, and Jerry Anne? Pig's ears again. The good things in life never change.