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Let Ralphie’s story lead you into holiday hustle

My Sentiments Exactly

Well, this is it. Crunch time.

T minus 23 shopping days and counting.

Or would it be T-minus 24 days? I mean, technically there ARE stores open on Christmas Day.

Hmpf.

As fictional matriarch Marie Barone of the sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond” often told her son: “I don’t like that, Raymond.”

Me neither, Marie. In fact, I think it’s pretty crummy. Remember back when everything was closed on Christmas? Well, everything but a random Chinese restaurant waiting for the occasional, desperate holiday-dinner-gone-wrong family to wander in.

Yep, those were the days when all was right with the world.

For those having missed the reference, that was a little nod to the best flick of the season, “A Christmas Story.”

I’m sorry. Is it even possible that there are humans on this planet unfamiliar with the tale of Ralphie Parker?

Ralphie, our hero, is a 9-year-old Indianian with aspirations of becoming a Wild West sheriff who protects his homestead and the townsfolk with his trusty, handy-dandy Red Ryder BB gun.

Ralphie is utterly obsessed with securing the toy as his main Christmas present, a hurdle copiously heightened by his mother’s resistance to buy her child something so dangerous that he could shoot his eye out, yo.

The story is based on Jean Shepherd’s novel “In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash.” Though it was released in theaters in 1983 to marginal success, it is now a holiday phenomenon.

You can catch it on cable networks TBS and TNT for 24 solid hours from Christmas Eve to Christmas night. The main account, narrated by an adult Ralphie, is nothing short of hilarious.

So in honor of the impending annual viewing of one of my all-time favorite films and in reverence to a time when life was simpler, and maybe a little kinder and gentler if not a heck of a lot funnier, I give you: “Everything I need to know in life, I learned from ‘A Christmas Story.'”

GIVING INTO PEER PRESSURE IS A BAD IDEA.

Just ask Flick, who had to have his tongue ripped off a frozen flagpole by firefighters after succumbing to Schwartz’s “triple dog dare” to do so, even though Flick knew in his gut it was the wrong choice.

Trust that gut, yo. And be yourself no matter what the crowd’s doing.

VIOLENCE IS NEVER THE ANSWER.

…unless you go to school with Scott Farkus, who had green teeth, so help me!

Unfortunately, in some way, shape or form, into every life, a little bully must sprawl. Try your best to avoid or calmly confront a tormentor. Shoot, you can even play dead in the snow if that tactic works for you but always try the peaceful route.

AN OCCASIONAL SHOWDOWN IS UNAVOIDABLE.

Look, even the most Zen pacifist has a breaking point. Sometimes, you just gotta lay down the lay with a harasser. Scott Farkuses of the world, take note: Eventually what you put out there comes back to you … sometime right across the nose, KAPOW! Say uncle to that, mister.

LITTLE EARS ARE ALWAYS LISTENING.

Potty-mouth parents (um, guilty here) beware, sometime when you least expect it, your little darling is going to blurt out the F-word. Especially if Daddy uses it as his main adjective, you dig?

NEW TRADITIONS CAN BE FUN.

Chinese food for Christmas dinner? Why not? Breaking bread, er, fortune cookies, with family and new friends, celebrating peace and loving one another. Well, that’s what the little Bethlehem babe had in mind all along, capisce?

Kimerer is patiently waiting for the movie marathon — and Christmas, mostly — to arrive. Check out her blog www.patricia kimerer.com

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