Monday, December 13, 2004


Keeping Christ in my Chinese Christmas

Somewhere in China there must be a bunch of folks who are laughing about Christmas and all the goofy Americans who are buying the products for that celebration that are made in China (the products, not the Americans).

I am one of the Americans on which they have played their annual communist-softened-by-Starbucks-capitalism prank.

First, we have the lovely illuminated snowflakes for your pathway. These little treats are imported and sold by Costco. The very first box I opened had a string of five snowflakes that were attached together in a circle (they are supposed to be in a line). My wife, who has no faith in my ability to untangle anything or follow directions (let alone find them) properly, triumphantly set off to fix the problem. She returned defeated, and the laughter from China became louder.

Of course, the reason why I don't pay much attention to the directions that come with the these products anymore is that they have things missing in them like verbs: key words that might help you understand how to put an item together. Here is an example of the type of direction I no longer "follow": Stakes, as on diagram. Usually, if I have untangled the product to the point that the mounting stakes are even in play, my frustration level is sent over the top when I look at the directions that have no diagram of stakes nor where they might best be placed on the product. At this point, I normally drive the stakes into the directions creating a directions and front lawn shish kebab (perhaps that should be pot sticker).

The loudest laugh from China must have come this year when, while assembling the illuminated train for the first time, I discovered that the mounting cords were missing. The mirthful Chinese had placed metal rods and attachment pieces for my use in case I was going to place the train on the roof (perhaps this helps them target us capitalists with some sort of hidden GPS system). I attached these to the back of the train, and then used the j-stakes to loosely mount the train on the lawn (the roof stakes were not long enough to reach the ground by about six inches). A gentle breeze would cause the stakes to clank against the mounting braces which reminded one of an old steam engine clanking down the track. However, the sprinklers would be able to hit the train with sufficient force to knock the whole thing over.

"Ha, ha, ha," go the Chinese.

As for me? I had to go to the hardware store to buy parts.

I also put out the illuminated deer from last year. One of the buck's antlers goes on and off intermittently much like a cheap hotel sign in a film-noir. What the Chinese don't seem to remember is that the history of the United States is built on expansion and land aquistion. If the products they send us keep falling apart, we will run out of landfill space and will need to expand... into China!

Okay, not China... they have nukes (and it appears they may have stolen the directions for some of these from Los Alamos. I assume they have more faith in our ability to write clear instructions, but wouldn't it be a hoot if we leaked poorly written missilie and warhead instructions to them? "Oops!" we would say. "You mean you meant to radiate and illuminate Washington D.C. and not Bejing? Our bad!") My suggestion is that we go after Canada and greatly irritate all the non-church going Red State liberals who have fled us Jesusland freaks who are trying to keep Christ in Christmas (okay, I know I live in the barren dessert of atheism and enlightenment... Hey! Maybe I can be classified as a "minority!")

On second thought, let's not leak those bad nuke instructions to the Chinese. Let's send them copies of the New Testament. If they follow those instructions, we would all be better off.

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