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We just got back from the mall.  Christmas decorations are up in all the stores, and the soundtracks are ring-a-ding-dinging their way into my brain like festive little earwigs.  I am reminded of my days working at Chapters, where my Christmas-happy boss would put on the Yuletide music the first morning after Halloween.  She claimed that it was to help people to buy more, but I think she was just a social sadist.

This year we have a baby to maneuver around the crowds.  As if I didn’t already hate people in my personal space, when I am wearing a baby my patience wears even thinner and I have to constantly restrain myself from punching people in the back, sides, and front of the head.

I’ve also determined that I am a very vigilant father when compared to the average mall parent.  The number of times where I saw – and heard – some poor baby crying his/her/its eyes out while mom was bent over a bin of discount thongs, ignoring everything except her quest for a leopard-print g-string in size 24, made me realize that I have a pretty good handle on my baby.

By that I mean that I try to comfort her when she is upset.

Maybe I’m being harsh.  Perhaps all of those morons were attempting to sleep-train their babies right there in the freaking mall.  Or maybe they were deaf.  Or maybe they weren’t the moms and the babies there were a race of snotty little aliens that landed in Hamilton and communicate only in hysterical wails.

And the part that scares me the most – the part that really makes me anxious to the point where I’m unconsciously scrambling my hand around for my morphine syringe – is the fact that it is now only going to get worse.  We aren’t even into December yet.  The malls will be overrun and packed to bursting with miserable people screaming, shouting, jostling, hip-checking, whining, crying, arguing, and demonstrating to the above-mentioned snotty little aliens that the human race is one wrapping paper shortage away from a critical mass of consumer-meltdown.

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