COLUMN: A Very Special Festivus Column

Harry Caines contributes a weekly column to His column is a work of opinion, and does not reflect the views of Cache Valley Daily, the Cache Valley Media Group, or its employees.

<em>“If I could work my will…every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart!”</em>

—Ebenezer Scrooge

I was never a huge fan of the television show “Seinfeld.” I found most of the episodes to be pretentious and preening. Some funny things came from that show. Tops on that list is Festivus.

For the uninitiated, Festivus is a “holiday” that falls on December 23rd. There are a few celebratory traditions associated with this anti-Christmas spectacle, but for the selfish purposes of Your Humble Columnist, we will only discuss the most popular of these rites: The Airing of Grievances.

On Festivus, you are, in theory, allowed to complain about the people closest to you and the world in general with a fair amount of respected impunity. The end of a calendar year can be a time of great stress and disappointment. Having an excuse to vent about how the past 12 months have been underwhelming can be therapeutic to the soul.

Last year, I used Twitter to tweet out Festivus grievances. I have since shed myself of that destructive apparatus as it seems all that website is good for is the continuous, cancerous and bitter airing of grievances on any and every subject. Seriously, Twitter sucks!

I have decided to limit this column to my grievances within Cache Valley. If I included the rest of Utah, Philadelphia, the United States of America, the upcoming presidential election, pop culture, social networking, former friends who talk garbage about me, psycho stalkers and anyone who actually reads clickbait about the Kardashian-Jenner brood, this column would extend past 3,000 words.

Let’s do this!

— The people of Cache Valley are extraordinarily cheap. Some are that way because they believe frugality brings them closer to God. Most here hold on to money because they do not make much of it. It should be no surprise to us that most businesses here are chain stores that provide cheap merchandise.

Cache Valley has a serious problem with maintaining small businesses. And with the recent spate of larger chain stores—both food and clothing—closing around town, I have to wonder if this is an unfortunately profound trend that will continue in 2016. One day, a group of people go to work at their crappy retail job only to find the doors locked and themselves suddenly unemployed. Scary.

This is life in Cache Valley. A large swath of the people who live here are in constant danger of showing up to work only to find they don’t have any.

— Of course, the one enterprise that always succeeds is alcohol. But, the good people of Utah love electing pols who use Mormon doctrine as their guideline for laws to oppress a secular populous.

In Logan proper, there are only three bars. Three! The White Owl is great…but they do not serve hard liquor. They also, bewildering as it is, are closed on Sunday.

I have not been in Sultan’s in seven years. There is a reason for that. I still have some self-esteem left in my tired, old body.

And then there is a Mulligan’s. I once worked as a doorman in a building that housed a methadone clinic. The strung out women that frequented that building looked like the red carpet at the Oscars compared to the untermensch that squat outside of “Mullie’s.” The hipsters who sit on the street corner just 25 feet away appear more sanitary.

While the locally-elected politicians do everything but fix the problem of a stagnant, desolate downtown area, maybe they can understand that finer drinking establishments could help vitalize Logan.

People drink booze. Deal with it! The $20 bill I slap down on the bar of The White Owl is worth exactly the same amount as the $20 bill slipped inside a tithing envelope.

— If God had created the world starting in Cache Valley, it would have taken six years, not six days. I have never seen any place that takes so long to complete construction projects like here. When labor unions and La Costra Nostra were both losing power and influence in the 1980’s, they should have taken a page out of the Corleone playbook and relocated out west.

Look at Maverik Stadium. You would think Jerry Jones is building that thing. I could have made a press box in my living room just as nice in half the time using my sons as slave labor.

You cannot go two blocks in this town without seeing a new building project—and they are all behind schedule! What happened with that new student apartment building that is off-campus? The Aggie Factory. Explain to me how that is four months behind schedule.

Someone in Utah is raking in kickback money rubber stamping all these construction and road work details. The last straw for me was when I saw them re-paving the parking lot at Sam’s Club.

I walk through that parking lot regularly. There was not a single pothole in that lot that Lassie would have needed to fetch help if little Timmy had fallen into one.

Cache Valley has an addiction to construction. Except for Main Street. Nope, no reason to make that artery more pliable for traffic. Main Street is just fine!

— To the zoning boards of the various towns in Cache Valley:

Stop handing out residential building permits. You are creating an infrastructure problem that will be unmanageable, uncontainable and unfixable a decade from now.

Stop. Now.

— My editor prefers I do not take shots at the Herald-Journal. But, hey, it’s Festivus!

When the rare big story breaks in Cache Valley, the hard news journalists at the HJ do a very good job. But that is not often enough for me to buy this pathetically thin newspaper. And my criticism of the HJ sports desk has already been noted.

The current sports editor for the HJ is a notorious cheerleader for the Utah State Aggies’ sports teams…most specifically the coaching staff for the men’s basketball team.

You cannot be an impartial voice as a beat journalist when you have a lifetime resume of fluff pieces extolling the virtues of a program and excusing the failures simultaneously. You are either a commentator or a journalist. Doing both is an obscenely unprofessional conflict of interest.

— If you live in Cache Valley and you attended Brigham Young University, I must begrudgingly accept that you brandish that hideous “Y” logo throughout town. If you live here and only wear BYU gear because you find that it creates some form of solidarity with mediocre sports teams; or, you do so to identify yourself as a proud member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you need to enter counseling to address your self-esteem issues.

Wearing BYU clothes in Cache Valley does not qualify you as a winner; nor does it bring you closer to God. You just look like a pompous moron.

Oh! How I could go on and on! But that is enough for this Festivus. I think I have carpet bombed Cache Valley with enough grievances for the year.

On a serious, solemn note, if you are feeling stressed because you bankrupted yourself buying Christmas gifts for people who really did not need gifts, make this the last year you do that.

If you find that you are unhappy because the stress you brought on to yourself only because that is what people do at Christmastime, stop today.

Christmas should not be an exercise in material anguish. Why we do this to ourselves is beyond my ability to fathom. Most of us have so few opportunities to enjoy life. Christmas should always be one of those times when we enjoy the things we have.

To you and yours, I wish you a truly wonderful and peaceful Merry Christmas.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!