We mean it: Merry Christmas

Peace on Earth, they say. Goodwill toward man (people, please). Sure, you say. But what can I do about all that? How do I exercise goodwill toward people? When you think about peace on Earth, do the armed conflicts involving Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Burma, China, Colombia, Darfur, Georgia, India, Kashmir, Indonesia , Papua , Israel, Lebanon, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Korea, Laos, Moldova, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Somalia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, United States, Uzbekistan, Yemen and Zaire come to mind?

In the list of lead paragraphs in the history of the newspapers, that’s got to be one of the truly great page turners. When it seems half the whole bloody world is trying to kill off the other half, don’t those words “peace on Earth” ring hollow? Sort of like the eyes of those retail salespeople who take your money and send it off to the home office in Atlanta and then to Indonesia where it will be used to build a factory where women and children will sew the shoes and clothing that you will put under the trees next year.

Stop it right now. … This is a happy and non- ironic editorial.

So in the interest of furthering peace on Earth, here are 10 simple tips. None of them are likely to make you feel as good as flipping off that guy who slowed down at the yellow light before blasting through and leaving you at the stop light.

1. Use your blinker, take your time, and pay attention in traffic.

2. Give a cash donation to a favorite charity in the name of that gift receiver whom you are only buying a gift for out of a sense of duty.

3. Sneak over to the neighbor’s house who’s got the ostentatious Christmas lights, and unplug one strand just enough to turn it off. That will save the world demand on power and help cut the greenhouse gases caused by the coal-fired electricity plants. But be careful, losers like this are likely to shoot you.

4. Don’t give a pet for Christmas. Pets are a personal decision. It will probably end up euthanized.

5. Thank a serviceperson for their sacrifice. None of this crap is their fault.

6. Don’t look away. If a homeless person approaches you, you don’t have to turn out your pockets (Although, why would it hurt this one time?), but you don’t have to turn away, either. A person is not beneath your contempt just because they’re broke, addicted or disturbed.

7. If the streets are clogged with snow, and you don’t know how to drive in snow, just stay home. It’ll wait.

8. Don’t be a glutton. If you gain seven pounds over the holidays, your self-esteem is going to be that much worse when the first of the year rolls around.

9. Shop at stores that are owned by people here in town. Make some stuff for your friends who really believe that it’s the thought that counts.

10. Try better to understand one person you come into contact with. It doesn’t have to be a spouse. It shouldn’t be someone whose worldview you understand. Try and identify with that guy with the tattoos on his head at the video rental store. Try to put yourself in GW’s shoes for a minute. Better yet, instead of flipping him off, try to understand that guy who left you at the stop light.

That’s it. That’s all we’ve got. Merry Christmas.