The Holiday Zombies Walk Among Us

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comLet me set the scene for you.

It was Monday, Nov. 30, 2015, around 9:30 a.m. I needed to ship a couple of packages.

What better time to hit the post office, I thought, than on a Monday an hour after it opened? The early birds would be gone and the lunch crowd wouldn’t be there yet. Plus, it was raining, so anyone with a choice of when to go certainly would put it off until later.

The place would be deserted. The bored, lonely postal workers would be batting a paper wad to each other across that little wall which separates them in the lobby. One might even be out next to the road spinning a “Stamps on Sale!” sign.

I pulled into the parking lot to see several cars, but not enough to cause alarm.

Out of habit, though, I did walk briskly to beat someone to the door who was coming from the other direction.

It wasn’t too tough. She looked like one of Aunt Bee’s friends whose bursitis was acting up.

Winded, I flung open the door to see the place bulging with a mass of humanity. And, then I realized what was going on.

The 2015 Holiday Zombies had already arrived for the season.

I am convinced the Holiday Zombies come out each year from Thanksgiving to New Year’s to make the season miserable for us humans.

You think I’m joking? Answer this question: have you ever really known someone who camps out in a tent in front of the mall on Thanksgiving night just for a buy-one, get one free tube of body scrub? Of course not. That’s because they’re not real people. Real people wouldn’t do that.

Their sole purpose is to keep us from enjoying Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Festivus (or my birthday, hint, hint) or whatever else we try to enjoy this time of year.

After their work is done, I believe they all go to Times Square for the ball drop and await the mothership to whisk them away until next year. That explains how they are able to stand there in the middle of Broadway for hours and never have to go to the bathroom.

The Holiday Zombies are rude. They’re slow. They can’t remember their PIN. They can’t drive worth a flip. They smell like that free popcorn from the hardware store. And, most of them don’t look like much.

I’ll tell you what we could do to prove their existence. We could set a trap for one of them. We could get an employee at a store to get on the microphone and say, “Holiday Zombie J7498, your gift wrap order is ready at the customer service desk.” Then, when ol’ J7498 waddled over to pick it up, we could throw a net over her and turn her over to the FBI.

That’s when we would call a press conference, expose the whole plot and let the military figure out how to get rid of them.

One of them got in front of me in traffic just after the post office incident. He sat there and finished his text during the entire green left turn arrow. In the spirit of the season I waved cheerily and tapped “Jingle Bells” on the horn, but he didn’t hear it. That’s because Zombies can’t hear.

In traffic is where they do the most damage. In fact, I think that’s where they multiply. Today, I’m going to look around for excessive fogged up windows then jump out and nab a couple of them.

What else would explain the horrific spike in traffic this time of year? Don’t tell me we have triple the amount of cars out there on the Monday after Thanksgiving because of Christmas shoppers. Nobody is Christmas shopping on the Monday after Thanksgiving.

They walk among us, folks, and if the post office incident is any indication, we can expect a bumper crop this year. So, prepare to wait, stand in long lines, get cut off and have a few doors slammed in your face.

It could be worse, I suppose. At least they don’t come out before election day.

How the Starbucks Cup Stole Christmas

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comWhen I am wrong, I say I am wrong.

Because of this adorable personality trait, I have eaten more than my fair share of crow over the years. I’ve had it sauteed, flambeed and every way imaginable in between.

Earlier this week, I was wrong about something, and I want to be the first to admit it.

Here is the background.

It seems for the past few years, Starbucks has issued a decorative red cup for the holiday season. Each year has featured a different design.

I didn’t know about this because I tend to shy away from popular sensations where people flock blindly in droves. Don’t worry, Starbucks; it’s not you, it’s me.

Anyway, this year’s cup is plain red, unadorned, and it has lots of people up in arms. You’ve undoubtedly heard about the ruckus. Some have called it a war on Christmas.

Someone named Andrea Williams was quoted in the media as saying the cup design “denies the hope of Jesus Christ,” and she is not alone.

At a campaign stop, Donald Trump said, “Maybe we should boycott Starbucks.”

And, they say the candidates don’t understand the real issues, but I digress.

So, here is where my big mistake came in.

When I first heard of this controversy, I boldly proclaimed the coffee shop giant did it as a publicity stunt. I concluded it was all a plot designed to create enough buzz so even someone like me would consider waiting in line for 20 minutes to buy a cup of coffee.

I went to bed that night thinking I was brilliant because I was the first person in the world to crack the case. I would be on 60 Minutes. I would do the talk show tour. I would become one of those expert commentators for a news channel.

The next morning, I realized I was wrong.

I realized no advertising ace, no graphic designer, no marketing executive, no social scientist, no one on earth could have predicted that the whole country would become polarized, loud and even further divided over a over paper coffee cup.

That’s because nobody would have expected a society could be so shallow.

Since I was unfamiliar with the history of the cups, I jumped on the ol’ Internet to see what they looked like in years past. I truly expected manger scenes, wise men, swaddling clothes, an excerpt from Luke 2 or maybe even the entire 20 verses.

I was fully prepared to write this piece from the angle bemoaning that we had taken Christ out of Christmas even more. But, I didn’t get to do it that way.

That’s because the old cups had pictures of lots and lots of snowflakes, snowmen, deer, and so on and so forth. One year featured a silhouette depicting a line of holiday shoppers.

I found bad weather and woodland creatures aplenty, but not one mention of Christmas.

So, I don’t know what all the fuss is about. I think the cup looks kind of neat. It’s lighter red at the top and gets darker toward the bottom. And, isn’t red the main Christmas color anyway?

I’ve almost talked myself into one, but it’s too late in the day.

I was wrong about the publicity stunt. But, here is something I am not wrong about:

I don’t need a coffee shop to give me permission to celebrate Christmas.

No one should.

No! I Said ‘Insert Your PIN, your PIN!’

Hey, Buddy, You Need to Learn
to Show that ATM Some Respect

dam thoughts, barry currin, beaverdamusa.comDid you see the story about the man who reportedly walked into a bar, pulled down his pants thereby exposing himself, and tried to have sexual intercourse with an ATM?

It sounds like a setup to the world’s worst joke, but unfortunately it’s not.

The Tennessean reported the story, which went on to quote police reports which said employees then escorted him outside (with great caution, I presume). At that point, he exposed himself again and tried to do the same thing to a wooden picnic table.

Talk about a tree hugger. (Now, that may be the world’s worst joke. Our staff is checking.) I wonder if the juke box was playing the old song, “Don’t the Girls All Get Prettier at Closing Time?” I’m mainly afraid the pool table will find out, and you know how she can be when she gets jealous.

On a serious note, here. Hats off to the bar for having an ATM. That’s pretty capitalistic. I’m sure it never had a transaction quite like that one, but at least it will have a story to tell the repairman when he gets there. (I have known ATM repairmen and know for a fact they talk to the machines.) I wonder how long it will take someone to muster up the nerve to look at the surveillance tape? I wouldn’t want that job.

Let’s not forget the poor picnic table. Second choice. Miss Congeniality. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. I thought it was funny that the police made sure to mention the table was wooden. Maybe she arranged for a strategically-placed splinter to teach this guy to dance with the one he brung next time.

And why was there a picnic table at the bar anyway? I’m sure glad a happy vacationing family wasn’t chomping on ham sandwiches. That would be a scene worthy of Clark Griswold.

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I don’t guess the jokes would ever end. Most of the ones I can think of get pretty gross in a hurry. I don’t know what would cause someone to do this. Well, yeah, I do. Alcohol — as in the Brad Paisley song of the same title which starts, “I can make anybody pretty.” Maybe the songwriters need to go back into the writing room and add a third verse to include romancing a money-spitting computer.

Yes, technology is changing the world we live in. They say in a few decades computers will be able to reason the same way the human brain does. Maybe this guy was just trying to use his spawn to speed up the process. Who knows, maybe in 9 months, the ATM will birth a little piggy bank that will grow up with the ability to give your checking account balance while breaking the county hot wing eating record.

Hey, I Fixed It

You Can’t Fix Stupid:
Ten Things This Guy
Must Have Been Thinking

can't fix stupid BeaverDamUSA.com meme

And he did it in less than 6 hours!

10. Yeah, I think my driver’s license will fit through this hole. So we’re good.

9. When I nod off to sleep, my hair sticks to the tape. Gotta fix that.

8. Without having to worry about looking to my left, it’s 25% easier to text while driving.

7. “Yes, I’d like a 10-piece McNuggets, individually wrapped and handed to me one at a time.”

6. Only 63 more payments, and she’s allllll mine.

5. Gotta get me one of those Share the Road bumper stickers.

4. Yes, chicks certainly seem to dig it. I get lots of looks.

3. Gonna have to plug those holes before it gets much colder.

2. You know those overhead signs on the interstate that tell us how many traffic fatalities we’ve had? Those are stupid, and dum. (You see, he’s too dumb to be able to spell it. He has tape over his entire driver’s side window, for God’s sake. You can’t fix stupid, people!)

1. You can look in the top hole for free, but if you wanna see through the bottom one, it’ll cost you a quarter.

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