Here’s what I want for this Christmas

BY BOB WACHS, Columnist
Posted 12/27/19

They say (whoever “they” are...but whoever “they” are, they say a lot) that as you get older memory is the first thing to go.

I forget what’s second.

But while I can still remember, I …

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Here’s what I want for this Christmas

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They say (whoever “they” are...but whoever “they” are, they say a lot) that as you get older memory is the first thing to go.

I forget what’s second.

But while I can still remember, I want to say I think “they” are right.

So far I haven’t forgotten who I am; I hope it never comes to that. But on the other hand, there are some times, it seems, that I forget where I’m supposed to be next or what to do once arriving there, wherever “there” is.

Let me hasten to add that I don’t think I’m alone in this. There are no grand illusions that I’m the Lone Ranger and that even my faithful trusty friend Tonto has flown the coop. Rather, it seems, such behavior is one of the symptoms of the society in which we all live these days, whether we are active participants in its details or not and whether we like some parts of it or not.

Take technology, for instance. To say technology has come a long way is like saying, “You know, it gets really dark at night when it’s cloudy and there’s no full moon.” Technology is everywhere.

But it wasn’t always so. Back in the dark ages when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was in my third year as a freshman in my college experience, I took a class (perhaps “exposed to a class” may be a better term) entitled “Information Science.” It was a course in computer use and benefit and all that stuff.

This was about 1968 or so and at that time computers were about the size of a small battleship. There was no internet or Skype or Wi-Fi or Wii. (I’m not even sure I’m spelling those things right). All the data was entered into the computer on paper “punch cards” and if you hit one wrong key on card number 413 then the whole thing was toast and you had to start over. With those kinds of possibilities it’s no wonder many of us opted out of that class in favor of “Advanced Phys Ed” or an Economics course like “Money Can Make You Rich.”

Today, of course, all that’s back with the Roman Empire. Computers are about the size of a gnat. “Laptops” are no longer where I sat on my second grade teacher Mrs. Williams at the end of the day waiting for the buses to line up to take us home.

We can’t keep up with all the micro changes but I stubbornly cling to pen and paper. What that means is even though I don’t like the pace, I’m still affected by it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a face-to-face conversation only to have my conversation mate say, “Wait a minute” as his cell phone rings and he answers it. If I were a bit more bold or brazen I’d probably just walk off and say, “Forget it.”

By now, if you’re still with me, you may be asking yourself, “Where’s he going with all this?” Earlier I mentioned the symptoms of society we all deal with. Remember? The one that seems to infect us all — and even more so this time of the year — is hurry-up-itis.

Some years ago the musical group Alabama had a little piece that had a recurring refrain that went something like this: “I’m in a hurry to get things done; I rush and rush until life’s no fun; All I’ve really got to do is live and die; I’m in a hurry and don’t know why.”

It’s becoming clearer that more to do and more stuff can be hazardous to your health. I want to remember that often less really is more. As I wore my Sunday morning hat not so long ago and encouraged our folks along certain ways of behavior and attitude I found myself listening to myself. The topic of the day was about Christmas gifts for people who have everything.

The point I was trying to make is that in our society today the biggest problem many people have is, What do you get for someone who has everything? What I realized as I went on is that many times we who have so much really have so little of what we really need.

This Christmas what I want is not more books, CDs or clothes but instead some other things...things like simplicity in life, time to sort out my own life and to be together with other folk and to get to know one another better; things like a holy time, a sense of life’s deeper dimensions, of the eternal mysteries breaking in on our rush to get to Target or Walmart; things like seeing life as it is, not reality TV where the folks on “Survivor” really aren’t out there all alone but have makeup people and food trucks...real life, where people are in nursing homes and millions are starving to death; things like the spirit of Christmas and a renewal of my own spirit.

I know that’s a long list and you don’t get any frequent flier miles with it, but it just may be what it takes for the best Christmas ever.

Any other folks hankering for some of the same?


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