This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A friend of mine told me recently that we cannot change. We are what we are, and there is no way a person can make any significant transformation to his or her life. This goes, he said, all the way back to the Big Bang. Everything is set and no one can change it.
I reminded him of Ebenezer Scrooge, who did, in fact, change his life profoundly, after a handful of ghostly seminars. Scrooge, my friend said, is a fictional character. He didn't exist. I paused, confused, then asked, "What the dickens are you talking about?"
I left my friend to his brooding, lonely depression and faced my own brooding, lonely depression, which is a slightly deeper blue than my friend's.
This, I finally decided, is the holiday season, and I for one am not going to spend another one tormenting myself over my miserable lonely existence.
This year I am not going to tell people that I hope the yuletide log falls from their fireplace and burns their house down. Enough of this wretched, forlorn, gloomy, bleak, dismal, dreary, cheerless, thesaurical life. Get out there, I said to myself, and spread a little sunshine.
But how is this to be done?
I've reached the Scrooge Part Two phase, where I've seen the ghosts and decided I want to be a better person, but don't know how to go about it. Scrooge, who is now dead as a doornail, had money. He could send turkeys and geese round to Tiny Tim, and for his dad, Bob Cratchit, heaps of mince pies something they have over there in England. They also have humbugs, which are delicious.
Problem is, I'm broke. I have no turkeys, mince pies or humbugs to distribute to the neighbors. The real problem is that I've been miserable for so long that it has become a habit. I was born way back in 19, and I've become so entrenched in decades of misery that I don't know how to break out of it.
Buying things for people seems to be our way of showing kindness, so I had what I thought was an excellent idea. I scraped up enough cash to purchase one of those large boxes of Twinkies, the traditional American Twinkie, that I planned to hand out to strangers, only to find that the blasted Twinkie company went belly up.
This is the story of my life. The best-laid schemes o' mice and men turn to crap. I think that's how the quotation goes. The point is, I want to change, I'm eager to change, but I don't know how to do it. I've tried pills and I've tried psychotherapy, but nothing seems to work.
Anyway, my hope for Christmas is that you will all have a moderately good time watching sporting events and "It's a Wonderful Life" on TV, that your houses don't burn down and that there will be a relatively small number of suicides this holiday season.
Jeffrey Stewart is an unsuccessful novelist and a contributor to Miserable Old Farts. He wallows in his own self-pity in Taylorsville.