This street is lined with dozens of houses decorated with Christmas lights in mid-November. I wish you could see them. There is a whole row of homes, glowing multicolored in the night. My wife and I are on a joyride hunting for lit-up houses this evening.
Decorations abound. We see plastic Santas in front yards with electronic arms waving at us, which is creepy. There are enormous plasticized snow globes with artificial blizzards. Fiberglass reindeer, grazing in yards. And oh, the bright, twinkling, blinking, flickering lights.
I never knew Christmas lights in autumn could bring me such joy. Never.
That’s 2020 for you.
People are doing festivities earlier this year. Everyone’s getting in on the action. I know a guy who put up his tree three weeks before Halloween. And I know a lady who let her kids open some of their presents this week.
This pandemic has changed everything. And everyone.
Take me. When I began writing this column years ago, most of my writings were intended to be funny. I love
humor. I was always the clown in school, and I could make milk exit the nostrils of even the most hardened fourth graders.
But then along came a pandemic and I turned into a big sack of blubbery emotion. Being humorous just felt irreverent in light of mounting death tolls, mortality rates, and sad headlines. It would have been like bringing a whoopee cushion to a Saturday night prayer meeting. Which I have never done.
The COVID era changed me as a human being. But also as a writer. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. And I shudder to think about what my current critics might say about that last sentence.
Because, heaven knows, that’s another thing that’s changed in this world. Some people have become hyper-critical. I receive a handful of nasty emails each morning from disgruntled people I’ve never met who, for some…