I love maintenance season on The Sub. No people, no uniforms, just loud music and power tools and harsh chemicals that burn things.

On another track entirely, I loathe commercialism. Try walking into a Target, or WalMart, or whatever local megachain is in your area. Pay attention to every little bit of plastic and metal and cloth on their shelves, then close your eyes. Imagine every single item that surrounds you as future landfill. How many Targets are in your city? The country? How often do they rotate through their entire stock in one year? Hundreds of square miles of cheap plastic dancing santas and Brat playdolls and fake trees, and all of it, all of it, will one day be used to plug up one of those unsightly canyons in the southwest that those poets and artists are always going on about.

So, in the true spirit of generosity and holiday cheer, everyone on my holiday shopping list (which is really pretty short) will get, instead of a gift card for more crap, a simple letter, and the knowledge that the $20 I would have spent on something they didn't need anyway will instead go to a local soup kitchen so that some families who can't even afford the paper and pen for a wish list, much less anything they would care to put on one, will have something decent to eat for a few days out of an otherwise wretched year.

Just a thought.

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