Tom Magstadt's Blog

Tom Magstadt

Tom Magstadt
Ridgway, Colorado, USA
July 23
Dr. (not physician; more like metaphysics)
self-employed freelance writer
There's a charming old stone cottage at the end of a lane in a sleepy village called Utery ("Tuesday") in the former Sudetenland (West Bohemia). I miss it. Worst job: farm hand. Best job: teaching at the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base. Worst good job: CIA intelligence analyst. Favorite profession I didn't choose: journalism.


DECEMBER 16, 2011 2:38PM

The Gingrinch Who Stole Christmas

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In Georgia, the legend says
That you must close your windows
At night to keep it out of the house.

                                                          From the poem "Kudzu" by James Dickey

Once upon a time, there was an odd-looking creature known to local inhabitants as The Gingrinch.   The children found "Gingrinch" difficult to say and when one youngster with a bad lisp called him "Grinch" one day, the nickname stuck.    

With a heart two sizes too small and a head three sizes too big, The Gingrinch was an anatomical wonder.  He lived on a hill overlooking the town of Poorville, which he refused to recognize as a real community.  Just as Palestinians in his view were an invented people, Poorville, he claimed, was an invented town.

Nor did The Gingrinch spill his spleen only on Palestinians and Poorvillians.  He had plenty left  for Arabs and Muslims:  “There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York, so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia,” he once declared with a straight face and a crooked smile.   

The Gingrinch spent many hours every day lounging by the pool and looking down on the people of Poorville, whom he derisively called the Jobless.  He declared, "Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works, so they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday."  Adding, "They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of 'I do this and you give me cash' unless it’s illegal." 

As part of the richest 1% in all the land, The Gingrinch would be the first to tell you that, when it came to illegal cash, he knew what he was talking about.

Although The Gingrinch rarely came down from his high perch and therefore really didn't know any of them personally, he hated the townsfolk – the inferior 99% – because they were happy all the time, which he took as a sign that nobody in Poorville had a real job, that they were all welfare queens, drug addicts, and scofflaws.  He himself had learned the secret of how to get rich without working, and he was damn sure that none of the hicks in Poorville had a clue.

The Gingrinch was also certain that they were all on the dole.  His certainty on this point did not depend on mere facts, which he never let get in the way of what he knew in his tiny little locket-sized heart to be true.  And although he was not part of the shrinking middle class who paid taxes, it nonetheless made him barking mad to think that other people were getting money without having to work for it.

And even that was not the main reason The Gingrinch despised the people of Poorville.  The main reason was all wrapped up in his undying dedication to principle:  lazy people, he fumed, deserve to be poor, but they do not deserve to be happy!  Let them eat cake, or nothing at all.

Which is why he decided to sneak into the town one Christmas eve and steal all cake and while he was at it to steal all the presents under all the trees so that the next morning when the poor children awoke they would find nothing under the tree.  What's worse they wouldn't even find a tree because The Gingrinch stole all the trees, too.

Needless to say, The Gingrinch was very pleased with himself.  There will be no joy in Poorville this Christmas! he exclaimed. 

But he was awakened the next morning to the sounds of joyful singing, children's laughter, and bells ringing.  The Gingrinch wasn't sure what to make of it.  He'd always been supremely certain of everything.  Suddenly he wasn't sure of anything.

He was curious.  Was the mirth spurious?  Should he be furious? 

As it happened, it wasn't spurious at all.  The mirth, that is.

The people of Poorville were oddly unaffected by what the wicked things  had been done to them.  But The Gingrinch was so shaken by this curiously infuriating reaction, that he decided to take a luxury cruise with his wife Callousta, in the Greek Isles.  As luck would have it, his enormous head got stuck in one of the ship's portholes and he hasn't been heard from since.

Fast-forward to Christmas 2012.  The House of Gingrinch is overgrown with kudzu.  People in the town say that weeds have taken over where wildflowers once dotted the hillside.  No one lives there anymore, which is why the holiday season in Poorville will be the happiest ever.                  

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