The Anglo-French poet, polemicist, novelist, and political activist Hilaire Belloc is said to have sent out a Christmas card one year — actually, I think it appears in one of his novels, but no matter — that read
May all my enemies go to Hell!
Noel! Noel! Noel! Noel!
I’m supposed, in certain circles, to be such a heartless and unprincipled cad that some will be surprised to learn that I’ve actually never sent such a card, myself. And, truth be told, the sentiment doesn’t seem to represent even Hilaire Belloc accurately. He was a jovial and good-humored fellow, though he held his positions (including his Catholic faith) seriously and could defend them fiercely.
No, right now I’m feeling more pity than anything else. My wife and I and our middle son are headed off in a few minutes to spend Christmas Eve with my youngest son and his Havana-born wife and her large extended Cuban family. I won’t have to confront three of the most terrifying words in the English language: Some assembly required. Yet hundreds of thousands of young parents and, in some cases, grandparents, will see those words (perhaps spelled more like Som assembley reqirred and followed by an incomprehensible mixture of English and Chinese, Korean, or Spanish) later tonight, and I pity them.
Posted from Kendall (Miami), Florida.