There is no greater collection of grumps, cranks and grouches than what shows up during the joys of the Christmas season.
Or maybe that's just in the malls.
Turning festive occasions into madness seems to be the favorite pastime of our species. It is this kind of intelligence that separates us from the beasts. We cannot leave pleasantness alone without trying to improve upon it with hustle, bustle, tension, competition, diet and budget busting.
Your average armadillo lacks this sort of brainpower. When times get tough, he just rolls up shop. He refuses to be disturbed by angst. When calmness returns, so does he.
What kind of reasoning does this take?
Throw a pig into a muddy situation and he will flop around in it, sigh and doze off to sleep.
Do the same with a human being in the festive spirit, and she will rush out to find the best sale price on a shop vacuum, suck up the muck, call landscapers for fancy, imported grass to plant in the pigsty, then install an alarm system against the farm dog doing what dogs do on fine grass. She will stay awake at nights anyway in case the alarm failed. And she'd fret over whether the farmer would remember to feed them, and if so, would it be the low-fat kind of slop getting so much attention on all the talk shows.
This is why, generally speaking, we don't invite pigs to Christmas parties. They just don't know how to enjoy themselves with all the traditional seasonal agonizing like people do.
Consider the black bear. He is of such an inferior intellect that he never once charges into 37 malls during the final week of Christmas shopping insanity to find the last remaining Furby, LeapPad, Minion, Uggly, Giggly Monkey or Big Hugs Elmo.
This is a tragic loss. The bear would have a natural talent for this type of pleasure. In fact, he probably could convince other shoppers to give him a hand - and possibly a foot or whatever else he might wish to snack on.
But no, that ol' bear sleeps right through the whole happy tidings and makes no apologies for doing so.
Then there's the wild turkey. Does he flap around trying to make sure he makes an appearance at every family, friend and business gathering, staying long enough to be noticed, and trying not to be noticed when slipping out to scramble to the next party? Nope. This bird brain just hides in the woods like his friend, the deer.
As for the white tails, they can't be bothered to hoof it to Aunt Lucille's in the morning, Granny Nellie's in the afternoon, weird cousin Herbert's in the evening, then stay overnight with the Needlebachers while trying to remember if they're even related to anyone named Needlebacher.
The animals just don't understand what celebration is all about. Only the human animal knows true joy. Why? Because we see it; we recognize it; and then we set out to better it no matter who we have to elbow, stomp, shove or hip toss out of our way.
On second thought, you go ahead and enjoy the merriment without me. I'm curling up next to that black bear for the rest of the month. Wake me when all the happiness subsides.
---- Snarl at Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.