This year, the restaurant where I work will be open on Christmas Day. I just so happen to have near-perfect recall of "The Muppet Christmas Carol," and recently when I was imagining myself heading off to work at 9:30 on Christmas morning in my coat and booties while nearly everyone else leans back with a Bloody Mary and stretches a woolened toe towards the television to switch on the Yule Log, this bit of dialog sprang into my mind. The place: the firm of Scrooge and Marley (or, for muppet purposes, Scrooge and Marley and Marley). The players: Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit, Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge, rat rabble as book-keepers. The time: late on Christmas Eve.
Scrooge: Be here at eight o' clock tomorrow morning.
(muttering from book-keepers)
Cratchit: (hesitantly) But...tomorrow's Christmas, sir.
Scrooge: Eight-thirty, then.
(insistent muttering from book-keepers)
Cratchit: If you please, Mr. Scrooge, half an hour off hardly seems customary for Christmas Day.
Scrooge: How much time off is customary, Mr. Cratchit?
Cratchit: Well--the whole day.
(mutterings of approval)
Scrooge: (shocked) The entire day?
(mutterings of consternation, disapproval: the frog's crazy, it was the frog's idea)
Cratchit: If you please, Mr. Scrooge, other businesses will be closed. You'll have no one to do business with!
Scrooge: It's a poor excuse for picking a man's pocket every December the 25th. (Heavy pause--little rat hearts sinking) But as I seem to be the only person round here who knows that, take the day off.
I'm not saying anything remotely negative or actionable about the proprietor of this fine eating establishment. I'm merely saying that, when a person ruins Christmas through his own greed, that person is sometimes called "Scrooge." So what to call someone when they're, um, worse than Scrooge? It's a Christmas riddle.
There's still hope though--maybe a spiritual visitation? Or maybe Saint Nick, who I have to believe loves all children (even those who are twenty-five and single and living in Brooklyn far from their parents) will bring us a blizzard and no one will go out to eat. My Christmas wish is for the world to grind to a slow and gentle halt, like it's supposed to. Wars: pause! Businesses: shutter! People: stay in. Me, I think I'll get through the day by humming this little ditty. Merry Christmas, and God bless us every one.
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