Sunday, November 28, 2010

Making Christmas Safer and More Politically Correct for You!

Christmas is only a month away (except at our local Costco, where seasonal decorations have been on sale since midsummer). Shopping lists are being drafted, Christmas cards are being addressed, decorations are being brought out of storage, carols are being played in stores and on the radio, lawsuits are being filed on behalf of those who aren't Christians, and - in Portland, Oregon - a naturalized American citizen (!) from Somalia has celebrated the holidays by attempting to detonate what he thought was a van full of explosives at a Christmas tree-lighting party. I will leave you to guess his religion.

Welcome to Christmas ... oops ... excuse me ... Sparkle Season ... in the 21st century!

When I was growing up, the Christmas season started the day after Thanksgiving. We wandered the neighborhood singing Christmas carols, delivered loaves of mom's banana nut bread to the neighbors, and wondered how a guy the size of Santa could make it down those little chimneys. Today, we wonder if that street-corner Santa is hiding an suicide vest under his red suit. Times have changed.

Our beloved Christmas songs are changing, too.

In order to make our Christmas music more politically correct and to reflect modern concepts of safety and inclusivity, here are a few analytical comments about the changes we may need to make to some of our more popular Christmas songs...

Jingle Bells

Dashing through the snow
In a one horse open sleigh,
O'er the fields we go,
Laughing all the way.
Bells on bobtails ring
Making spirits bright
What fun it is to ride and sing
A sleighing song tonight!

Review Comments: A risk assessment must be submitted before an open sleigh can be certified as safe for transporting members of the public. This assessment must consider whether it is appropriate to use only one horse for such a venture, particularly if passengers are of larger proportions. Safety considerations may dictate the use of two or more horses, particularly if the sleigh is to travel over extended distances which could not be safely covered on foot by stranded passengers if a single horse expires during the trip. Note: permission must be obtained from landowners before entering any fields considered private property. To avoid offending those not participating in celebrations, laughter must remain at moderate levels and bells on bobtails must be equipped with noise dampening devices to minimize undesirable noise pollution.

While Shepherds Watched

While shepherds watched
Their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down
And glory shone around.

Review Comments: The International Brotherhood of Shepherds and Nomadic Animal Caretakers has filed a lawsuit alleging that long-established health and safety regulations are violated by forcing shepherds to watch their flocks without the provision of appropriate seating arrangements; therefore benches, stools, or orthopedic chairs (when required by a doctor's certification) must be made available on demand. The Brotherhood also demands that, due to inclement weather conditions frequently encountered during the Christmas season, flocks may be watched via closed-circuit television cameras from inside centrally-heated observation huts. In addition, angels of the Lord must be prohibited from shining glory all around prior to ascertaining that each shepherd has been issued safety glasses capable of filtering out the harmful effects of UV-A, UV-B and glory.

We Three Kings of Orient Are

We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar.
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.

Review Comments: While the gift of gold, which is considered legal tender and may be redeemed at a later date, is considered acceptable, gifts of frankincense and myrrh are inappropriate due to the potential risk of allergic reactions from oils and fragrances. Suggested gift alternatives include hypoallergenic skin creams and lotions which have not been tested on animals, donations to worthy causes in the king's name, or gift cards from local businesses. Traversing kings should be discouraged from relying on astral navigation. Use of a suitable GPS navigation device to provide the quickest route and advice regarding fuel consumption is recommended. Camels employed to carry kings also require regular food, water, and rest breaks, and animal welfare regulations require the attendance of at least one trained veterinarian for each three camels. Because the repetitive action of the camels' hooves on sand creates high levels of airborne dust and other particulates, wear of appropriate HEPA-certified face masks is required.

Away in a Manger

Away in a manger,
No crib for a bed…

Review Comments: Social Services organizations will be surveying mangers and similar places of temporary lodging throughout the season, and may remove any child found there to a place of safety pending further action against parents or other persons who may be found guilty of neglect by not providing adequate bedding and shelter for a child in their care. After a formal case study has been carried out and fully discussed with the appropriate Social Services Committee, criminal proceedings may be instituted.

Little Donkey

Little donkey on the dusty road,
Got to keep on plodding
Onwards with your precious load.

Review Comments: The ASPCA has instituted strict guidelines regarding permissible maximum load and weight distribution levels for donkeys, mules, oxen, and other beasts of burden; these guidelines are carefully calculated according to the stature of the animal ("little," "big," etc). Additional guidelines govern feeding schedules and the number and duration of rest breaks required per given period (typically, four hours) of plodding. Due to the increased risk from inhalation of dust and other particulate pollution from primitive roads, HEPA face mask guidelines apply (see previous comment under We Three Kings of Orient Are) for both animals and riders. Reference to donkeys as "little" is considered demeaning to an animal of diminished stature; "Mr. (or Ms.) Donkey" is the preferred form of address. Finally, if donkeys (or other protected beasts of burden) are employed to carry loads characterized as "precious," the caretakers of said animals are required to carry, and show on demand to appropriately-identified officials, evidence of theft and liability insurance.

Don't thank me. It's all part of the new philosophy of never offending anybody for any reason, and ensuring that common sense remains uncommon.

Merry Christmas!

Have a good day. Ignore the PC crowds. More thoughts tomorrow.



craziequeen said...

As a H&S officer, I delighted in sending these carols out last year - they went down very well and I am so pleased to see them doing the rounds further afield.


Jean-Luc Picard said...

This sort od anti-Christmas message that certain people do happens a lot in Britain.

Mike said...

I hope there's not going to be a test.

Wv: biogin - the real thing.

KathyA said...

He's Episcopalian, isn't he???