Madness and Mistletoe

Why does the most wonderful time of the year seem to bring out the least wonderful characteristics in people?  It’s as if every day after Thanksgiving has a full moon:  crazy, off-the-wall shenanigans, general weirdness and just plain lack of common sense seem to be all over the news.

It all starts on Black Friday—or as is becoming more common—Thanksgiving night.  Stabbings, shootings, and fist-fights dominate the headlines in the days following Thanksgiving, and videos of the chaos go viral in the social media, like this one of women fighting over a television.  When people are willing to do anything to have an electronic device that they don’t even need, I shudder to think of how they’d behave if food, water or toilet paper ever became scarce.

Holiday travelers can rest easy knowing that the TSA always has their backs.  Phyllis May is a Washington state resident who sells custom-made sock monkeys on the internet.  While travelling with some of her merchandise and sewing supplies, an alert TSA agent noticed something odd in one of her bags.  The agent asked who the bag belonged to and Mrs. May fessed up, for inside the bag was “Rooster Monkburn” (an ode to John Wayne’s character Rooster Cogburn in True Grit).  As reported to King5.com, their conversation went like this:

                         TSA Lady:  “This is a gun.”

                        Mrs. May:  “No, it’s not a gun it’s a prop for my monkey.”

                        TSA Lady:  “If I held it up to your neck, you wouldn’t know if it was real or not.”

                        Mrs. May:  “Really?”

The gun that the TSA agent claimed couldn’t be discerned from a real gun was about two inches long…about as big as 3 quarters placed side by side.  She told May that she would have to confiscate the weapon and was also supposed to notify the police.  To that, a stunned May responded, “Really, you’re kidding me right?”  The agent assured her she was not kidding because “it looks like a gun.”  In the end, the prop was confiscated and May’s other things were all returned to her—but the agent did not call police.

Rooster Monkburn:  unarmed and no longer dangerous

Rooster Monkburn: unarmed and no longer dangerous

It’s good to know that diligent TSA agents are keeping the flying public safe by putting mischievous sock monkeys and other armed toys on notice to leave their weapons at home. Nothing gets by them—except wanna-be terrorists with explosive devices strapped to their underwear or stuffed inside their shoes.

To her credit, Phyllis May managed to maintain a good nature throughout the ridiculous situation saying, “Rooster Monkburn has been disarmed so I’m sure everyone on the plane was safe.  I understand she was doing her job but at some point doesn’t common sense prevail?”

No, Phyllis!  Not even if you’re an 11-year-old girl who wants to sell mistletoe to raise money to pay for her braces.  Pint-sized entrepreneur Madison Root of Lake Oswego, Oregon decided that she would sell some mistletoe that she picked from her uncle’s farm.  She put it into bags and tied them with  pretty Christmas ribbons and stood outside the Saturday Market in Portland.  However, she did not have a permit—oops!  As she stood outside the market selling her mistletoe, a park security guard told her that she couldn’t sell, but she could ask for money.

Talk about killing the work ethic of future generations.  According to Portland’s city code, begging is protected under the First Amendment, but she couldn’t sell without a permit.  The outspoken young lady said she wasn’t interested in begging and she wanted to work for what she needed.  The story became very popular on conservative blogs and Madison was interviewed on Glenn Beck’s radio show last week.  As a result, she now has more orders for mistletoe than she can handle, has been fitted for part of her braces and has caused the city of Portland’s mayor to take another look at the city’s code.  Not bad for someone who’s not even old enough to drive.

Finally, Christmas brings out “the offended” more than any other time of the year.  Hardly a day goes by without hearing of some Scrooge-like person or organization who wants to sue because the sight of mangers and menorahs send them into a fits of rage.  But it’s not just seeing a plastic Baby Jesus in public that sets them off…the festive colors of red and green may do it too!  One school in Texas (of all places!) has issued a ban on red and green and Christmas trees for their upcoming “Winter Party”.  Parents of children attending Nichols Elementary School in Frisco, Texas received emails from the PTA outlining the guidelines for the party.

Oddly enough, Nichols Elementary becomes the first school to violate Texas’ “Merry Christmas Law” that was signed into law by the state legislature in June and permits students and staff in public schools to celebrate winter holidays in any way they choose.  According to Rep. Pat Fallon, the author of the bill who represents the district where Nichols Elementary is located, he was contacted by an angry parent about the school’s rules.  School district officials claimed to know nothing about the PTA emails and said there were no such bans on the children’s celebrations.  They also said they leave such decisions to individual school principals.

After a meeting between Nichols’ school principal and the PTA it was decided to leave the Grinch-like rules in place so as not to “offend” anyone.

Fallon said he can’t believe how many calls his office has been getting from principals and teachers who want to celebrate Christmas but don’t want to get into trouble.  He realizes that even with the Merry Christmas Law” in place, the fight isn’t over:  “I feel like my calling in life is to protect the students, parents and teachers,” Fallon said. “They have a constitutional right to express themselves. They have freedom of religion.”

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