That’s The Way Things Are

It’s No Longer the Most Wonderful Time of the Year


The break is over…

The holiday break that is… Not just for me, since clearly I’m back with a new column…

But for everyone… And I know this because everyone is back to being completely self-centered and obnoxious as they are during the remaining days, weeks, and months of the calendar.

Is this surprising? Drum roll please… no, not at all.

Unfortunately, this has been the pattern I’ve noticed over the last several years. The holidays roll around, and everyone is in a great mood and is all nicey-nice to one another… actually polite to one another… actually considerate of others. And then, as New Year’s becomes more of a distant memory, so does that behavior.

Case in point: I was in the library in the days leading up to Christmas, and a man rushed in to return his books. Smiling and happy, he told every person he saw “Happy holidays! Happy new year!” whether they worked at the library or not. But then, when I returned to the library about a week and a half ago, with the holidays in the rear view mirror, I witnessed a patron throwing a fit to a librarian about, well, I don’t even know what…

Shocker, shocker…

Clearly the holidays bring out the best in people quite a bit of the time, if not — dare I say — the vast majority of the time. But unfortunately, this is a temporary phenomenon. It comes and, of course, goes on a yearly basis. The consistent niceness and politeness comes every year along with the arrival of Christmas decorations and goes every year with the ending of the good sales at the mall.

I understand why the holidays always seem to bring out the civility, friendliness, and niceness in people. What just doesn’t quite seem to compute in my head is why it takes the holidays to bring it out in the first place, and why it can’t last all year round. I mean, if people have the ability to behave so well at one point in the year, holiday season or not, why can’t they comport themselves that way the entire year?

Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a society where people always tell one another to “have a nice day,” and not just when the calendar hits a certain page? To live in a society where people always stay calm with one another instead of throwing fits, rather than only during the holidays? Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a world where people always treat one another with respect and consideration, and as they themselves want to be treated throughout the entire year?

It is, of course, the start of a new year, so maybe, just maybe, this year can be the start of something different — the start of something better. As simplistic as it sounds, and perhaps admittedly as naïve as well, it could be the start of being nice and polite and cordial to one another, regardless of what date the calendar reads.

After all, we all stand to benefit…

“There is no surer way of calling the worst out of anyone than that of taking their worst as being their true selves; no surer way of bringing out the best than by only accepting that as being true of them.”– E. F. Benson

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