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Its beginning to look too much like Christmas

November 11, 2011
By Wes Burns , Times-Republican

Working in the fast pace world of local news, as I do, sometimes you need a break.

Some wonder around the office, other's mindlessly click through Facebook, others still (read: me) smoke.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I?know. But I?smoke lights, which are actually good for you, right?

So I find myself in the designated smoking area outside the TR, wondering just how cold it will have to get before I stop taking smoke breaks (Absolute Zero) and taking in a bit of the local scenery.

I notice most of the changes in our little neck of Marshalltown; the empty lot next to the bank that used to be a flower place, the loose interpretation drivers have of the STOP signs at the four-way intersection, and the seemingly endless supply of people that continue to purchase frozen yogurt well into the sub zero temperature range.

Then I noticed the street lights.

I'm not sure what the proper name for this time of decoration is but sufficient to say the lights had been thoroughly "Christmased."

Already? Sure, everyone expects a crass Christmas explosion at the likes of Wal-Mart sometime just before Halloween but the city?

Perhaps they are just keeping pace, the rest of the town, state, and country are already breaking out the tinsel, so why not jump on the bandwagon?

While we all bemoan the ever encroaching start of the so-called Christmas season it seems that our complaints have fallen on deaf ears. More than likely they fell on indifferent ears, but that's not an idiom.

Sorry, deaf people. I'm sure there are a number of you that would rather wait until after Thanksgiving to have to change the channel every time those insipid Coke commercials with the bears comes on.

A cursory glance of the business page of any paper, watching the business channel of any news outlet, or simply the fact that you don't have a job will tell you that there is a bit of a recession going on.

And what cures a recession? That's right, World War II. But since the rights to the name "World War" are owned by the History channel, the next best thing to spur the economy is the spending frenzy that is Christmas.

In times of economic crisis, nothing pulls Americans together quite like stampeding over each other for a $40 Blu Ray player.

But could it be that simple? Can we all just start spending money like crazy just because we see a few Santas in the stores? Isn't spending more money than we had how we got in this mess anyway?

The answer is yes, to all three.

Yes, getting people to spend money can be as simple as just giving them something new to spend it on. Remember when Sonic opened up a few years ago? Lines around the block for those ultra-mediocre burgers.

Yes, people will spend more money if you pipe "White Christmas" on infinite loop in the malls of America; until the cashier has to take a quick Bourbon break after the fourth straight hour.

Yes, spending more money than we should is a big part of how we got in the mess we are in.

The real question: Does any of it matter? Not at all. Because as soon as you see those reindeer sailing over the top of the Roundhouse you know its time to break out the wallet and go get that gift certificate they're probably never going to use.

I'm sorry? What's that? They don't put up the reindeer on the Roundhouse anymore?

WARNING! Christmas is cancelled! The recession will continue as scheduled; please purchase canned goods accordingly.

Editors Note: Managing Editor to the Stars Abigail Pelzer has informed me that 1: The lights are decorated for the Holiday Stroll next week and 2: I?am a jerk. And that offends me; the Holiday Stroll should be in December.


Copy Editor Wes Burns is a Friday columnist. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don't necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Wes Burns at 641-753-6611 or



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