Bad Christmas jokes
In revenge against whoever put that bad Santa hat on my photo last week, I present some bad Christmas jokes plus some unseasonally irritating opinion.
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Walking around the woods the other day I found a tree with a bullet sticking out of it. “Hmm,” I pondered, stepping back a little to inspect the scene of the crime. “It’s a cartridge in a fir tree.”
Next as I wandered among the trees I came to a small clearing. In the middle sat a man on a tree stump, who was dressed in medieval armour with a scarf tied firmly around his mouth. “Aha,” I said to myself, slowly getting the hang of it. “It’s a silent knight.”
A few minutes later I arrived outside a sort of low hut, and inside was a woman lying on a bed. She was clearly unwell, and was hooked up to an intravenous tube, but at least someone had taken the time to make sure the sick room was decorated for the season. They had put holly on the IV.
As darkness drew on and the stars came out, I came across men gathered around a camp fire upon which a pail of water was steaming. The men were taking off their boots and rubbing their feet after a long day in the fields with the animals, and I watched while shepherds washed their socks by night, all seated on the ground.
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I spoke the other day to a gentleman farmer from Camden who has cows to look after. If you remember, there had been two relatively heavy snows only a few days apart that week, and he was becoming weary trying to get through the drifts to provide drinking water for the creatures.
“One more heavy snow and those cows are on their own,” he said.
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It is almost pointless to use the word “today” in a newspaper that comes out with last week’s news in tomorrow’s paper tonight. However I will mention that today is St. Stephen’s Day, the day when Good King Wenceslas looked out across the crisp and even snow in the bright moonlight and saw a poor man gathering winter fuel. I wish it to be known that I am descended from that poor man, and am reminded of it each time I go foraging for twigs and candy wrappers with which to light my evening cooking fire on top of the west tower at the foot of Mechanic Street.
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A few weeks ago a gentleman who writes some sort of equivalent gibberish in another local weekly paper spent some quantity of ink trying to persuade us that somebody earning very little could live happily in Rockland. I had no idea the mushroom crop was still available, as I know very little about hallucinogenic plant life. However his argument struck me as an exercise in self-delusion verging on insanity, and I can only conclude that his theory barely masks his sense of despair at being unable to make this fiction true.
Like him, many people go into local politics or public life with all the best of intentions but end up with their spirits broken on the wheel of inevitable dismay. Others probably shouldn’t be allowed near people at all. A certain well-paid city official I am thinking of falls into the latter category, for I once scheduled a meeting with him only to find he was not ready for it; half way through he began looking at his watch, and finally he told me he was done talking to me. The only thing you can do with a person like that is give them a very good reference when they go looking for another job, so as to unload them on somebody else as quickly as possible. Another public official, this time an unhappy elected and unpaid school board member, has apparently also come to the end of her rope. Like the fellow newspaper-filler I mentioned above, this person seems to have gone into public service with the best of intentions, only to realize that she might as well try to empty the ocean with a leaky teaspoon.
You cannot change the system, or effect much improvement upon it, by running for local office. When elected to a school board, city council, or board of selectpersons, the best you can hope to accomplish is to make the existing system run a little less badly. Town and school government operations are more or less set in stone by the greater system within which they are framed. The greatest restraint that higher levels of government exercise upon local affairs is to insist that they be as poorly funded as possible while making sure they are responsible for doing far more than they can possibly afford.
Often the result is bitter infighting at the most local level possible, as voters in towns and cities across the country divide themselves into factions and argue over what they think is local politics. Now and then good people are carried away on stretchers, while the battle continues around them. They might end up in a daze writing newspaper columns, or else retiring to private life to heal their wounds.
In the days of ancient Rome, government used to put on circuses in which slaves and animals were made to fight in order to entertain the mass of the people. (Bloody Romans.) These days, the elected branch of government seems happy to put the people themselves into the arena, to tear each other apart for the entertainment of the few.
And a happy new year to you!
David Grima is a former editor with Courier Publications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.