Chaos in Print: The Further Adventures of the Scarecrow – Friendly Edition

Greetings, y’all! Here we are in the first edition of the Dag after Christmas break. Before I get into my usual mirthful column, I would first like to extend a cordial and warm welcome to all new students who are starting here this winter semester. Believe me, I stared in the winter semester and things are a lot harder for people like us. I mean, in the fall semester, there is this whole “O-Team week” to help new students like yourselves get used to your new surroundings. But, when you start in the winter semester, you are met with “Yeah, hi. We’ll tell you your room number as soon as the check clears. You’re on your own, kid.” So, since no one else is doing it, I would like to say welcome, and if you need anything, e-mail me.

It is that simple friendliness that I would like to write about this time. I am sure that by now, we have all recovered (more or less) from the insanity of holiday shopping. Overcrowded malls, holiday shoppers screaming at the top of their lungs. Ahhh, that kind of atmosphere that just breaths of the holiday spirit. You might think that this is the kind of atmosphere that breeds meanness and cruelty, but my Christmas was rather unusual. Let me take you through my one and only day of Christmas shopping.

First off, I was stuck in West Edmonton Mall, agonizing over what to get my brother. I was just completely clueless as to what to get him, and my sister was moments away from killing me in cold blood as I took her to another store in search of the near-perfect gift. I went to one of the most crowded stores there was — HMV — and there, sitting on the shelf, like some sacred object, was the near-perfect gift. It was something my brother told me he wouldn’t mind having: The Die Hard Trilogy. I snatched it off the shelf, and went up to the till. After standing in line for what seemed like several hours, I was finally able to purchase this sacred object. And as I was walking out the door, the clerk didn’t say “Thank you. Come again,” or “Merry Christmas,” but instead a nice, friendly, casual “Take ‘er easy, man!” It was the kind of unexpected friendliness that caught me off guard.

From West Ed, it was then to CompuSmart. There was this new computer program my Dad wanted for his PC, and I thought it my son-ly duty to get it for him. Now, I don’t know if you have ever been to CompuSmart, but the first time you buy something there, you are put into the computer. Then, every time you buy something there, they bring up your record and they know everything you have ever bought there. (Even though I now have my own PC, I still buy everything on my parent’s record, but I digress.) So, as I walked to the till, and once again gave the cashier my name, my parent’s record came up and she asked if that was it, and I of course said yes. The program was then paid for and I was on my way. Now, this may not seem special, but that clerk was just so darn friendly and jovial about the fact that my life is still so closely intertwined with my parents. I was shocked. It seemed that everywhere I went, people were just being friendly to me.

My third off-putting experience came on Boxing Day. I was dragging my brother and sister-in-law to go see Titanic. We showed up a good half-hour early, so of course we were stuck standing in another line. As is always the case, I started to worry about the possibility of not getting good seats. So, I turned to my brother and jokingly said “Maybe they’re all here to see The Postman.” At this point, a rather attractive looking blonde in front of us in line turned around and said “Actually, I’m here to see The Postman.” So, being the Gomer that I am, I’m sure my face turned this loverly shade of red, and I stuttered out an apology. She giggled, and then went in to see Titanic. This is just the one friendly event that sticks out in my mind, probably because of the ambiguity of it. She may just been being friendly, or maybe she was flirting with me. I don’t know. Damn it Jim, I’m a doctor, not a romantic. Forgive me for that outburst. I’m watching The Wrath of Kahn as I write this. And, I’m digressing again. But my point originally was this person was being friendly. Everywhere I went, in the most stressful of situations, people were being friendly.

Don’t think this to be lost on me. All this friendliness began to rub off on me. After the movie (a darn fine movie, I might add), we were off to meet my sister and her loser boyfriend for supper. Wait, my sister’s going to be reading this. DELETE ALL REFERENCES TO MY SISTER’S BOYFRIEND BEING A LOSER. And what did we run into at the restaurant but yet another friendly person; this time it was the waitress. She was funny, knowledgeable about the day’s specials, and just plain flat out a nice person. When she revealed that she was a fellow collage student, well, that was the last straw. All this friendliness had just welled up inside me so much, that I gave that waitress the largest tip I have ever given anybody. My brother did the math and told me that it was more than adequate, but all these friendly people just made me kind of more than adequately friendly.

That was my friendly holiday. No matter how hard I tried to be Grinch-like, no one would let me. I mean, have you ever run into a situation where people were just so darn friendly? It was just a mind-blowing experience for me. And look at how it rubbed off. I started being friendly to all those around me. It just goes to show that the golden rule is true. Or, since my most friendly experiences happened on Boxing Day, I like to start calling “doing unto others as they would unto you” as the Boxing Day spirit. Just stop and think how the Boxing Day spirit could change things all over the world. If you are kind and friendly to ten people, odds are that one of those ten will be friendly to ten other people. You know, it’s the domino effect thing going on. This is the kind of concept that could save the world. So, until the next issue, I ask you to keep your feet on the ground, your head in the clouds, and the Boxing Day Spirit in your heart all year round. God bless us, everyone, and goodnight, everybody!!

Don’t forget, if you didn’t like this column, then you won’t like my show, Chaos in a Box with the Scarecrow, Wednesdays at 9 on CLCR. And check out my website: . It is the repository for my previous columns and my knowledge of Star Trek 9.

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