January has arrived, hasn’t it? It’s only a matter of weeks now before my phone rings and my annual torment begins anew. Last year they called in February. Perhaps they’ll wait 'til March this year? Perhaps not.
Every year it is the same. The phone rings by my bedside as the milky morning sunlight creeps through the blinds of my frigid bedroom, jolting me from my peaceful slumber. With heavy hands I reach for my spectacles – good, reliable spectacles with black rims and heavy lenses. “Hello,” I sigh into the phone.
“Hey! It’s your favorite marketing director!” comes the reply. “How’ve you been, old man!?” When did the young people of this country stop respecting their elders?
“Hello, Thomas,” I say, rubbing my temples.
“So,” Thomas says, excited to the point of exhaustion. “Are we ready for another Summer!? This year we’re gonna get you in front of a limo doing the dance. Then a bunch of kids and the Looney Tunes characters will come out of the limo and do the dance with you. Except, they’re just gonna keep coming out of the limo, like, a shitload of 'em, ya know? Like, more than could ever fit into the limo. How’s that for an ad!? People are gonna eat this shit up, huh?!”
“Oh, I suppose so,” I mumble, still rubbing my aching head.
Maybe this is the year I say No. Maybe this is the year I reclaim my dignity. Maybe this is the year I stand up, a man, and say, “NO! No, I will not dance for you. I will not be your circus monkey, your clown. I will not remove my dentures and smile open mouthed! Nor will I wear a tuxedo with a red bow tie! I will not dance or move or even tap my foot to the Vengaboys! I Will Not sell my dignity for a paycheck and a bit of seasonal notoriety! I WILL NOT!”
But I know as well as anyone that this isn’t the year I say No. This is the year – like all the years before – that I begrudgingly accept his offer, don my tuxedo, take my pain medication, remove my dentures, drive myself to Six Flags and embarrass myself for $8,500. This, regrettably, is yet another year that I will say Yes.
“So, how does March 15th sound to be on set?” Thomas asks, as if I actually have a say in the matter.
“Oh, that sounds fine.” God, what have I become?
“Great. See ya then, old timer! Oh, and don’t forget to take your teeth out before you get here. We don’t want you freaking any of the kids out! HA!”
“Oh no, I won’t forget.”
Someday soon the swift hand of death will take me from this world. Only when my body is rotting below the soil will my torment end.