I didn’t realize MOGASP was featured in Joe Holleman’s Life Sherpa column in 2007 until it was republished in today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Joe harkens back to an idyllic 1963 Christmas eve when he was still an innocent child, and what it would be like today with all these do-gooders like MOGASP around to spoil things!
Historical correction: We are referred to by Joe as Group to Alleviate Smoke Pollution, which we chose initially when we considered ourselves lucky to just get a non-smoking section in a restaurant. As the dangers of secondhand smoke became more widely known and accepted, together with its severe effects on highly smoke-sensitive individuals like asthmatics, we changed GASP to mean Group Against Smoking Pollution.
Some counties, such as St. Charles, have still not enacted any smoke-free air laws. And in St. Louis City and County, workplace protection from SHS remains incomplete: influential casinos have sought and received exemptions on their gaming floors, and small bars are also exempt.
Given the reality, Joe Holleman has gone a little overboard in his depiction of a present-day P.C. Christmas, but it’s still amusing to read:
With fond memories of an un-P.C. Christmas from 1963
Spiked eggnog, castrated rooster, toy guns among highlights
By Joe Holleman email@example.com 314-340-8254
Sunday, December 23, 2012
While the Life Sherpa takes some well-earned vacation time, here is a reprint of a 2007 story about his favorite Christmas ever:
Good thing my favorite Christmas was 45 years ago. Had it not, my family would have been in jail.
It was Christmas Eve 1963. I had just turned 6 and was in kindergarten at St. Gabriel the Archangel. My family and their closest friends were together, the food was delicious and plentiful, and I made an incredible haul of toys.
Today, the problems would have begun almost immediately.
With many adults gathered, the eggnog bowl with a bottle of Jim Beam alongside was a busy attraction. After drinking some virgin nog, I pestered long enough for a “grown-up” sample. So my Uncle Red — who always had a cigar in his mouth and several hundred dollars rolled inside a rubber band in his pants pocket — put a drop or two of whiskey in my glass.
The first taste was awful, the second was OK, the third was downright tasty. For me, this is a characteristic of whiskey that still holds true today.
This would mark the first call to the Department of Family Services.
But even whiskey was not enough to keep a 6-year-old from getting antsy, and obnoxious. To burn energy, I ran down the hallway or trampolined on a bed.
No adult threatened to swat my butt when I got caught doing this stuff, they just did it. In those days, any adult relative, or close friend of a relative, could swat you.
At this point, I call the family services department myself.
After drinks, everyone moved into the dining room for capon (a castrated rooster), mashed potatoes and gravy and numerous creamed vegetables.
Protesters from PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, show up with picket signs outside the house and throw symbolic chicken testicles on our porch. The Center for Science in the Public Interest alerts the media that serving me rich gravy and vegetables swimming in cholesterol sauce was like pointing an edible gun at my head.
After the meal, my mom decided I needed a nap, so my Uncle Red and I retired to his giant leather recliner and I dozed off curled up next to him while he puffed an after-dinner cigar.
Protesters from GASP, Group to Alleviate Smoke Pollution, start pacing with the PETA folks.
Later, we all loaded into several cars and drove to church. I sat between my mom and my aunt, who wore their fur coats and diamonds. I felt safe and warm, squeezed between soft, cuddly furs while I watched the jewels sparkle in the candlelit church.
PETA pickets send for reinforcements with red paint to throw on the furs. They come with Amnesty International, worried about whether the jewelry was conflict-free.
When we got back from church, we found that Santa had snuck in while we were gone and left some amazing stuff.
I got a bunch of cool stuff, including a bicycle and two toy guns. One gun was a rifle modeled after the Winchester that Lucas McCain carried in “The Rifleman”; the other was a Thompson machine gun like Sgt. Saunders carried in “Combat.”
Then, the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychology issues a study analyzing my family’s blatant disregard for my mental well-being by allowing me to play with violent toys.
The bicycle was shiny red with gobs of chrome. It was such an awesome machine that I begged and pleaded to ride it one time on the sidewalk while my uncle watched from inside the door. Family services gets another call, about a 6-year-old riding a bike at 2 a.m — without a helmet.
Finally, under the weight of the media coverage of the protests, my family is taken away in handcuffs — leaving me alone with my “Three Stooges” coloring book.