I decorate with the best of them, and I get joy in ways no English language word can describe watching my family’s smile when they open presents and its something they wanted. I’ve never been one for Christmas carols and Christmas movies though.
In my 40 years there’s only been one exception. There has only been one Christmas movie that has gotten me to watch it from beginning to end and not feel like I wanted to vomit at the end of it: A Christmas Story.
I’ve always loved the movie because it seemed so much more realistic than It’s a Wonderful Life, or the story of Ebeneezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim.
It was set in a time when America was much more innocent. Television did not exist, and the worst a kid had to worry about was a ginger bully hiding in the alley. I loved the setting, it was that idealistic vizion of the world through Ralph’s eyes that made me smile.
I loved that they were the *perfect* family, in the way we are taught that family is supposed to be from the media, or at least how we used to be taught.
Ralphie was just your average kid, who only knew that Christmas was coming and he wanted what he wanted:
Less than 2 weeks after the death of 20 six and seven year olds in an elementary school in Connecticut takes the appeal of this movie out of my mouth.
I am an urban chick, born in a major city, in the 1970’s. The appeal of guns doesn’t resonate with me the way it does with some. There are still kids out there this morning, about Ralphie’s age who are getting their first gun for Christmas this year and they are just as slap happy as Ralphie is in this movie.
I never understood the appeal. I never will. This is not the life I’ve ever had to lead.
When I watched the movie I paid little attention to the actual gun, instead I enjoyed watching a kid, who had no troubles or cares in the world, and got lost in that world.
When I was 9 I had a lot more going on than Ralph. I was not innocent. Ralphie was innocent. I lost myself in that innocence, and in what is a fairly well written movie. I never stopped to think about how a movie centered around a kid wanting a gun might appear.
Until this year.
Until we are two weeks out from a man walking in to a school with this:
Adam Lanza walked in to a school and fired guns at kids no older than Ralphie.
Kids who wanted Barbie dolls and video games for Christmas with the same zeal that Ralphie wanted his BB gun.
Kids who were just as innocent as Ralphie, who didn’t have a care in the world except what Santa would bring them.
Those kids lived in a world much more modern than Ralphie’s but they could still see love and hope and joy in the Christmas season. Their parents could shop for Christmas and be ready to watch the joy in their eyes as they ripped apart wrapping paper to find their dreams underneath.
As I tried to watch A Christmas Story this year, I found I could not. I found that the BB gun in the movie was the star this year. I found that I could not get lost in the movie because all I could think about was the 20 families with gifts under the tree for children who were no longer here to open them.
I saw a story about a gun rather than a story about a child.
I saw the millions of Ralphies out there who would get their first gun and would grow up loving guns. I thought of the mothers and fathers out there who would lose their children to guns.
Like the inner city kids who would catch bullets not meant for them,
Like the kids who find dad’s gun unlocked and shoot themselves by accident,
Like the kids who use mom’s gun to commit suicide because they’ve been bullied and think that is the only way out,
Like the Adam Lanza’s of the world who will use mom’s legally purchased guns to rip apart the lives of countless families,
I only had one movie that I could enjoy, only 1. I used to look forward to the 24 hour marathon on TBS.
I can not this year though. I am too busy still shedding tears for them: