Time for a new tradition! Every year, on Christmas Eve, I tell my family a story I've made up for the occasion. Sometimes it's serious, like "Honkeytonk Angels" or "Christmas in Winooski." Other times it's very, very silly, like last year's "A Chrismoose Carol." Some are throwaways and others in retrospect I probably should have written down. But what the heck. I can always write more.
Anyway, it occurs to me that all my friends out there in cyberspace deserve a Christmas story too. So here for your entertainment is . . .
It’s a job, heralding is, nothing more. Oh yeah, sometimes you get a prestigious gig announcing the birth of God or the end of the world. More usually, it’s just a supermarket opening or the invention of a new flavor of toothpaste. You pop in, announce, “You’ve got lung cancer,” and then pop out again. Mission accomplished.
A moron could do your job. Provided that moron had the gifts of precognition, heavenly radiance (so the marks know you’re not a hallucination), uncanny beauty, instantaneous teleportation, and a deep and resonant speaking voice. It’s the rarity of these qualities being found all together in a single individual that keeps you from farming the work out.
Sometimes you meet a fellow heralder and then the two of you wax nostalgic about the old days when angel heralding meant hanging in the inky vastness of nonexistence, trumpets ready, to announce the sudden and inexplicable emergence of a universe from the invisible confines of a non-dimensional monoblock. Or the rare and inexplicable beauty of a single hydrogen atom pulling itself up out of the quantum foam into the realm of being. You remember heralding the creation of concepts that are the building blocks of reality: Love! Beauty! Electroweak Interaction!
But then break time’s over and back to work you go. You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it. And do it you will, because an angel is faithful, one hundred percent. Horton has nothing on you.
“Troy’s decided to invite you to the prom,” you tell a temporarily ecstatic teenage girl. “Also, your zits are back.”