Wednesday, November 25, 2009

it is what it is. isn't it?

hear it a lot these days. it is what it is. i think it all started with the major league baseball scandal. as i recall it was roger clemens who started it all. roger, the rocket, clemens. at one time one of my beloved red sox heros. who went on to become one of those damned yankees. those dreaded, despised yankees. and then even on from there. and became a reputed steroid user, who, as many have done before him, and after him, now bases his life on the notion of "plausible deniability".

but in his senate testimony it was either roger, or his former trainer and reputed injectionist (whose name escapes me at the moment), ah, brian macnamee, i think, who repeatedly used the term "it is what it is". what exactly does that mean?

and i should admit right off, i hate cliches. i don't use them. even the old adage cliches. i think the use of them smacks of a lack of thoughtful vocabulary on the part of the one that uses them. another example of the over-used/abused cliches started when our esteemed she-god, oprah winfrey, coined the expression "don't go there".

she used it to relate to conversational topics. what she really meant was essentially "i don't really want to talk about that at this moment". and how that turned into "don't go there", or even worse, "don't even go there", or "let's not go there", well, what's that all about?

when somebody says to me "don't go there", i'm inclined to ask, where? where exactly would i be going? i'm sitting here talking and have absolutely no intention of going anywhere. so why would you suggest to me that i "don't go there". or over there? or down there? or across there? obviously i am not going anywhere. i'm sitting right here talking. no plans to go anywhere.

so recently the "it is what it is" thing has become more of an annoyance than "don't go there".

i was talking to my sister the other day. and i was lamenting the fact that something was the way it was. and i guess in an attempt to placate me, she said "well, jer, it is what it is." and it caught me at a thoughtful moment. and i replied, "yes, i suppose it is. however, it only is what it is because no one seems to care to try to make it what it isn't. what it could be. what it should be".

my feeling at that time was that i didn't have to settle for it being what it is. i felt compelled to tackle the quest of making it what it is not. making "it" what "it" really oughta be. this was a week or so ago, and since then i've pretty much decided that i have a new goal in life. that being . . . changing "it is what it is" to "let's make it the way it really oughta be in the first place".

recognizing that any cause needs to be worthy, i've decided my first venture into making this transition is to pick a cause worthy of changing. i opted for christmas. for many, many years now christmas has been one of those "is what it is" things. i think it's time to make christmas "it isn't what it became, it's now what it should have been all along".

perhaps a decade or two ago, in my mind thanksgiving became the greatest american holiday. because it has become a time of being with family. yes, enjoying a good meal is part of it. but the main focus of thanksgiving, at least in my family, has been being together as a family. i came to look forward to thanksgiving much more than christmas. more than july 4th. more even than valentine's day or president's day. because it's so heart warming to be around friends and family. and pumpkin pie.

and lately christmas has become somewhat of a dreaded holiday rather than one of anxious anticipation. the reason: commercialization. look around you. the media begins touting "black friday" more than a month before it's upon us. newspapers are crammed full of full color sales flyers encouraging us to get out there and spend a bunch of money on those we love. tv commercials make us feel that we're genetically tied to ebonezer scrooge, before the ghost visits, if we don't go out and spend all our money, if not our entire credit limits, on gifts for family and friends. why? because . . . . . "it is what it is".

my undertaking is to change this. to restore christmas to a time of loving and caring. and yes, even sharing. but not necessarily a sharing of gifts. but rather, a sharing of love. of feelings. of warmth and caring.

i hereby ask of all of you who read this silly blog this one thing: take christmas back to what it really should be. some may feel christmas is a time for honoring the birth of jesus. some may not share in that opinion. it really doesn't matter. while it's become politically correct to refer to this time of the year as "the holiday season" rather than as "christmas" (that could become my next blog topic. either that or the propensity of some to abbreviate it to x-mas.) it's mainly become a season of corporate greed followed very closely by the materialistic greed of those for whom the gifts are purchased. let's stop all that.

let's put up our christmas tree this year. and let's put packages underneath it that really reflect the way we feel about the person we're gifting. a note of gratitude. a card of caring. a piece of our heart. we don't need to continue to allow this holiday to be simply a worldwide economic injection. let's change it from "it is what it is" to "it's become what it should be.