I really do like traditions, especially those associated with holidays. Eating turkey on Thanksgiving, putting out flags on Memorial/Veterans/Independence Day, pretending I’m not home on Halloween. Traditions separate us from animals, along with opposable thumbs, table manners and the lack of tails, Cleveland Brown Dawg Pound knuckle-draggers aside.
And speaking of football, it wasn’t until I read the TV lineup for Thanksgiving Day, which I’ll come back to, that it occurred to me that some holiday traditions are simply ridiculous and must cease immediately as they are undoubtedly contributing to the oh-so apparent downfall of society.
So here’s my top-10 list, in order of increasing egregiousness:
Eggnog at Christmas time. It sure is good. Everybody likes eggs, which are the basis for delectables such as bearnaise sauce and crème brulee. And how bad can nog be, whatever it is? It sounds like grog, which is what real men of yore drank. But egad, I have never tasted such a foul libation. The stuff in the dairy section at Kroger should be moved to the "swill" section along with hard seltzers and prune juice.
Fruit cakes at Christmas time. Since we’re on the subject of Christmas foods, who came up with this brainchild? Stale cake with desiccated fruit dyed with carcinogens? Anyone who admits they like fruit cake is lying, and when one receives a fruit cake as a gift it is sure to be regifted or dropped off incognito at Goodwill. I heard President Biden offered the country’s stockpile of fruitcakes to Ethiopia, which is experiencing a famine caused by drought and army worms (Google it), and they vehemently declined.
A groundhog forecasting the weather. We don’t trust our local meteorologists, who call themselves scientists, to forecast accurately beyond a few days, yet we eagerly anticipate this annual prediction by a steroid-bloated rodent from western Pennsylvania, who undoubtedly is a Steelers’ fan. His (or her) historical accuracy is 39%. Well done, Phillip or Phillemina!
Men not helping out with the Thanksgiving feast. Guys, c’mon, get off the couch and help out a bit. Get your workout in by opening the cranberry sauce. Take your plate to the sink at halftime. Complement the cooks. Join the conversation regarding the merits of Michael’s vs. Hobby Lobby.
Celebrating Sweetest Day. Clearly a ruse by the florists and candy manufacturers, this one used to catch me off-guard every year. It’s the third Saturday of October; fellows, mark your calendars now for Oct. 15, 2022. Every year I think I’m in the clear once my wife’s birthday, Mother’s Day and the kids’ and grandkids’ summer birthdays have come and gone, up to Christmas, and then this one bites me in the butt.
Christmas gifts for adults. Judging by the number of Amazon deliveries, I’m sure my spouse has everything she could possibly need, or want, or even mildly consider buying. Let’s keep the gift giving for the kids, and let’s keep perpetuating the Santa Claus myth so that parents can continue to threaten bad juvenile behavior. And White Elephant exchanges, while fun, just end up with everyone owning something from HomeGoods which, like the fruit cakes above, will be regifted or transported to Goodwill.
Fireworks. The esteemed Ohio legislature recently allowed the use of fireworks in Ohio. Previously an Ohioan could buy fireworks in the state but not set them off here, which I supposed somehow appeased the powerful fireworks lobby. And now you are allowed to set off fireworks on not only Independence Day but more than 20 additional days. I suppose the loss of digits among our youth is worth the extra fun in our leaders’ minds. I strongly urge all the Chinese manufacturers of doggie sedatives to ramp up production immediately! Of course, our pets will need to compete with Southern Californians for these tranquilizers as they sit on cargo ships off the coast of Long Beach.
White Christmases. Jeez, even our beloved meteorologist gush about this. Give me sunshine and 70 degrees over road salt and black ice any day.
Christmas lights. And more recently Halloween lights. Never did I dread a day more than the day after Thanksgiving when I had to adorn our landscaping with thousands of lights. Who’s behind this, Duke Energy? If you want to see pretty lights, go to the Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo (spoiler alert: all the animals are asleep) or schedule a $29 flight on Allegiant to Las Vegas.
The Detroit Lions playing on Thanksgiving Day. WHY??? This is the mother lode. It’s not the tryptophan that puts fans to sleep, it’s the freaking Lions! Ever since 1934 we have been regaled by this crap organization. So that goes back well before the days of Dick "Night Train" Lane, who is in the Sports Nickname Hall of Fame along with Mordecai "Three-Fingered" Brown of the Chicago Cubs, Chuck "The Bayonne Bleeder" Wepner of boxing fame and Marc "Scrabble" Rzepczynski of the St. Louis Cardinals. But I digress.
Let’s not be tradition zombies! If we all stop giving in maybe these putrid pastimes will fade into oblivion. Instead, this holiday season, let’s partake of one time-tested tradition: hug all your friends and family members! And Go Lions!
Tom Huetter lives in West Chester and is a retired Procter and Gamble scientist.
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Opinion: Eggnog, fruit cakes, the Detroit Lions - some holiday traditions need to go bye-bye