Every Christmas movie/song/TV special comes with some kind of helpful message that always hits home with upper-class families concerned that their careers, giant houses and mountains of gifts are distracting them from what's really important. Well, where I'm from, those aren't the goddamned lessons we need. For me, Christmas meant arguments and drunken ham fights. So for those of us who don't live in the Home Alone universe, we get our inspiring Christmas lessons from the police blotter. That's where you see stories like ...
So you've just gotten out of jail for burglary, and you're rebuilding your life from scratch. I'm not talking about borrowing some money from mom and taking the worst shit-shoveling manual labor job you can find until the community stops throwing broken glass at you. I'm talking about sleeping on the floor of an abandoned building, having been released so recently that you still carry your jail ID card.
You're pondering the fact that when you were a kid, you never wrote this on your "What I want to be when I grow up" writing assignment, when you suddenly remember, "Holy shit, I have a child person that I created with my big ol' crime dong!" You decide right there on the spot that he isn't going to turn out like you, and his life is going to start getting better right now with this Christmas.
"Oh, Dad, he's awesome! Will he ever get big enough to kill a full-grown human?"
One hour later, you're running out the back of a pet store with a cash register under one arm and a handful of snakes in the other. That's what happened to the guy in that link.
At the risk of getting all preachy, let me offer this advice to anyone in a really hard spot this (or any other) year: If you can't afford to buy a gift for your kids, there are other ways to go about it that are so much easier and less filled with stolen snakes. Churches are a good place to start, even if you're not a religious person. The way I see it, if you're morally flexible enough to steal serpents, you can bend the rules enough to ask Catholics and Baptists for a favor. Barring that, find your local Chamber of Commerce and explain your situation. I've never seen one that doesn't have a list of a dozen or more totally free, no-obligation help programs for people in (believe it or not) your exact situation. But the one surefire way to make your kids' Christmas really shitty is to have their mother explain to them that their dad can't be there because he's in jail -- again.
"You'll have 30 minutes where, ironically, you may present your kids with the macaroni pictures you made during craft time."
And that's really what Christmas is all about: doing your best to not go to jail for stealing snakes.
Adults, if there is one rule you have to remember during the frenzy of December shopping (besides "Don't steal snakes" -- seriously, don't steal snakes), it's "Don't grab the nearest toy and beat the shit out of people with it." Now, given, if you're in Toys R Us and bitchy, frantic moms are crowding the aisles, and it's just a beehive of parental stupidity, it is incredibly easy to look down at the toy light saber in your hand and hit the "On" switch, a sinister smile creeping up your face as your teeth and eyes yellow from the alignment change. What you have to do in that situation is remember the wise words of Yoda:
"Don't start blindly beating the shit out of random people with your fucking light saber."
OK, amendment: You can do it to any of the people in this photo.
The guy in that link didn't remember that. So when the dark side set in, he did in fact light that fucker up and commence a whoppin'.
If you thought there wasn't room for a "more importantly" in this lesson, I sincerely apologize for how sheltered you have been up until this point in your life. Because more importantly ... don't then steal that light saber from the store, walk out to the parking lot and continue swinging it at police. Even if (and, yes, this also actually happened) you seemingly use the Force to disable one Taser, and then follow it up by using the light saber to block and deflect another wired Taser shot, you are not in fact a Jedi. You are a crazy douche who got really lucky when wildly swinging a piece of plastic while a couple of annoyed cops yelled "Dude, knock it off!"
You know how, when most adults discuss the entire month of December, they constantly use the phrase "kids' holiday"? That's because it is. No matter how much religious emphasis you place on it, no matter how much you stress the family aspect of it, it always boils down to seeing kids have the time of their lives as they open presents. Seeing them camp out in front of the TV to watch their once-a-year specials because it's just weird to watch that shit in July. Even though I've been known to do it myself from time to time. Don't fucking judge me, I'm an adult.
So here's the thing: If you're a grown man, and you put on a Frosty the Snowman costume, and you enter yourself in the local Christmas parade at 10 in the morning, you had better damn well be doing it for the kids. Because if not, it means you're creepy and weird, and you're probably going to end up kicking a police dog, hitting one cop in the face with your big ol' Frosty head and pushing another as they try to stuff your ass into the back of the squad car.
"You've fucked with me for the last time. You're all going to pay."
Nobody is really clear on exactly what started it. Frosty claims that he said something to a cop about having a K-9 unit with him, and the cop just went off. The cops said it was more like the guy walked by and physically kicked their dog and then became increasingly more belligerent until they had to physically stuff him into the back seat like filling a stocking with live badgers.
The great thing is that when something like this happens, it's a whole lot harder to convince people you're on the level when you're still on probation from another disorderly conduct charge.