A hard week

Rudy Norman
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This has been one of the hardest weeks in my journalistic career.

Every Christmas seems to bring new stresses and anxiety that I’m sure was never intended to be part of the season, but alas has arrived there none-the-less.

The pressure of making sure everything is done, both in your personal and professional life, is always a challenge around the holidays. The joys that come with the cheerfulness and well spirits of the season are often times lost in the belligerent negativity wrapped up in the stocking of shopping, parties and competition of getting bigger, better, faster and cooler toys and gadgets.

I don’t know what it is about Christmas that often times bring out the worst in people. The sad part is, as well, that many of these people are wonderful to be around the rest of the year – and you would never know that deep inside rests this whole new realm of holiday malice that would shock even the most hard-hearted amongst us.

Take for instance the lady in the store this past week who let it rip on someone standing in line ahead of them, because they, in her opinion, had ‘cut the line’ and she felt it unfair to her to have to wait the extra two minutes. Turns out the person didn’t actually cut the line – it just appeared that way, because of how the line was shaped going down the aisle. How many of you have been there?

Or perhaps the other lady who let it rip at the store clerk because they didn’t carry the latest and greatest gadget that she apparently just had to have, no questions asked. After the young gentleman, likely just trying to earn some extra cash for the holidays, tried to tell the lady in a calm voice that they didn’t stock the particular item she was seeking, he had to listen to a tirade of insults about how it just wasn’t good enough and he should be doing more.

I managed to catch eye contact with the young feller taking the verbal beating as he offered just a quick glimpse of a ‘please help me’ look.

Like I said – it’s been a hard week.

But that doesn’t even come close to describing how hard this week has been for some.

Shocked as much as I was this past Friday, is something I hope I don’t become again anytime soon.

I was sitting at the computer when the notification popped up that said something about a shooting in Connecticut. I clicked, and started to read. Soon, I made my way to the television and started to watch.

Messages started coming to my phone and computer from people asking the same thing: “are you seeing this?”

We were all on the same page – shocked.

I watched for a little longer, and finally, I knew it was time to get back to work, if I could at all.

I made my way back to the computer – by this time the number of children killed was 18, and they were still finding victims. I was numb. It was so gut wrenching to think what people must be going through at that very moment.

Then I looked down at what I was doing before that notification had come in.

On my desk were pages of photos, each with a name below them. The photos were of children – not much unlike the ones who had just been taken away from this world way too soon.

Before the news of the Connecticut shooting arrived, I had been sorting through Letters to Santa to make sure everyone who submitted one to the paper got their letter in before Christmas. The reason being, because we’re not strangers to complaints and even yelling from parents irate over the level of service we give to the Big Guy in the red suit, or, in their opinion, a lack there of.

That’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks. Oh where have we come as a people?

To get to the point where we complain that someone cut in line, or that the gadget we wanted isn’t in stock, or that our kid’s letter to Santa didn’t get in the local newspaper the week we thought it should.

Yet, some are wishing their kid would just come home tonight, but that isn’t going to happen.

Where have we come?

For some, it’s been a hard week. For others, they don’t realize how good of a week it actually has been. Try to think about that the next time you want to go off on someone for something that, in hindsight, doesn’t really matter as much as you think it does.

Merry Christmas.

— Rudy Norman

Geographic location: Connecticut

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