I guess my view of a jolly season was at one time when people would approach you face to face along with a smile on their face wishing you a merry Christmas. Of course now that we have become a politically correct society wishing a merry Christmas alone could be cause for discussion on how and when it's used. I just don't get it.
I find today's form of communicating during the spirit of the season to be a little different. For example you might receive a holiday greeting not face to face but instead by Facebook, FaceTime, email, text message, Twitter or any other electronic way available. I'm sorry to say that we as humans are beginning to lose the connection of verbal communication. I've been battling with this issue for quite some time and unfortunately a face-to-face conversation has become a lost art. I have seen what our society has become which is a frightening vision of people using their cell phones face down and with very little to say.
Thanks also to the information superhighway we have become a bunch of robotic individuals by way of cable networking. I will admit falling prey to this sort of communication but only by force and not without resistance. My true loyalty still follows the old path of greeting someone with a little bit of cheer while wishing them a merry Christmas. I have also noticed fewer people are smiling these days. Could it be our economy, unemployment, taxes or that dreaded fiscal cliff we are facing? If you think about this fiscal cliff for a moment think about what is happening between the two political parties with regards to verbal conversation. That's right folks it's not happening. Both sides decided it was time to end any type of cheerful conversation as to resolve their issues which means no email, text messaging, FaceTime, Facebook or even just a plain old chat session. Nobody talks and nobody listens. Just what we expected right? Of course this never happens to us smalltown folks from Bedford Falls.
For those unfamiliar with Bedford Falls it's a fictional town in the fictional story called "It's a Wonderful Life." The story happens to take place during Christmas time where a man by the name of George Bailey sacrifices his dreams to remain in the small town of Bedford Falls. George's family operates the Bailey Building and Loan Association. It was sort of like your mom and pop lending institution. The people of Bedford Falls would probably never fit into today's society for they were friendly, caring people living in a friendly town where everyone knew each other. There was also never a shortage of good times and good conversation. George was a special person in that his concern for the survival of Bedford Falls and its people were of vital importance.
Bailey Building and Loan was the only place in town that provided home loans for the working poor. However, a man by the name of Henry Potter who was the majority shareholder in the building and loan tries to persuade the board of directors to stop providing home loans for the working poor. Mr. Potter's plan was to take over control of both the loan company and Bedford Falls. George is then faced with a fiscal cliff of his own trying to convince the board into rejecting Potter's proposal. The board agrees but on condition that George would manage the building and loan. Thanks to someone special -- a guardian angel named Clarence -- that George was able to save the loan company and the town of Bedford Falls. Though the story is fictional the idea remains true.
In the end George receives a book with the inscription, "Dear George: Remember no man is a failure who has friends. P.S. Thanks for the wings. Love, Clarence your Guardian Angel." George learned of trust and faith in friends while Clarence earned his wings.
Maybe it's just a progression of time but has our lifestyle become so pre-occupied with outside distractions that we are forgetting the true holiday spirit? We can sure use a guardian angel. Clarence, where are you? I'd like to reflect back for a moment when during the holiday season downtown Amsterdam was filled with people smiling and wishing each other a merry Christmas. There were people carrying packages in both hands while never having to worry about any physical confrontations over some hot item of the season. It was a time when storefronts were decorated not with graffiti but instead beautiful wreaths and lights along Main Street. It was a time when people were not speaking by way of Internet, cell phone, FaceTime and so forth. Instead people would come to you face to face and shake your hand (without the use of Germ-X) wishing a merry Christmas. It was a time when people truly meant what they said without having any interruptions from a cell phone. We also didn't require a Wal-Mart greeter to get the ball rolling on a good conversation. In reality we know the past can never be brought back but it sure was a wonderful life back then.
Until next time -- hold that thought.
MIKE LAZAROU is an Amsterdam native and a regular columnist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.