Saturday, 21 December 2013

Twas the Night Before Christmas Reboot by Naomi Elana Zener

Twas four nights before Christmas, and all through my house,
Not a baby was stirring, not even my spouse.
The wine was poured in my glass with care,
In hope eyes would glaze over with drunken stare.

I was nestled in my pjs, lounging lazily on the couch,
Husband doing all chores, fearing angering this grouch.
And mama with remote in hand, DVR full of taped shows,
Settled in for undisturbed TV watching family knows.

When in the kitchen there arose such an awful clatter,
I sprang from the family room to investigate the matter.
There were my dishes, smashed to the floor,
A pattern discontinued, “oh shit” hubby swore.

The light up above beamed on the shards of my favourite plates,
Gave way to baby screaming, sounds every drunk mom hates.
Followed by the appearance to my eyes seemed a ghost,
No wait, twas my toddler sleepwalking, disturbing me most.

All I wanted was one night to myself to watch a chick flick,
That Elf must have reported I was naughty to St Nick.
My hopes for some peace and quiet dashed, such a shame,
On husband’s clumsy shoulders rests all the blame.

Now baby! Now toddler! Get back to bed, go to sleep!
Out of your mouths mama doesn’t want to hear a peep.
To your bed, to your crib, crawl, walk, run, don’t fall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!

As my glass was now dry before that tsunami flew in,
Back to the fridge I returned for some Chardonnay chillin’.
Babes tucked back in bed, hubby in basement hiding away,
I decided to online shop for gifts, time for mama to play.

Target, Shopbop, Gilt, racking up charges on my Amex,
Time better spent than engaging in weekly marital sex.
And then, if like magic, noises came from upon my roof,
Twas Amazon drones delivering gifts, tapping each hoof.

At my doorstep neatly piled the bounty of my spending spree,
With such great discounts on all items, they were almost free.
Then arrived a portly FedEx deliveryman carrying a festive sack,
“Sorry ma’am, wrong house, got to deliver Mayor Rob Ford his crack.”

My eyes, how they sparkled, so many gifts I had to carry.
Each box seasonally wrapped with bows in red cherry.
The contents of which gave me a warm glow,
I celebrated my good deed with a glass of Merlot.

How hubby would delight seeing me in the negligee sheath,
A gift for him really, into which he could sink his teeth.
Perfume aromatic, fragrant to get rid of odours so smelly,
Due to baby’s vomit when feeling unwell in her belly.

Fuchsia croc stilettos from Prada, a box I will hide on my shelf,
To hide from the prying eyes of that nefarious Elf.
A twinkle in my eye at the pile of best-selling novels to read,
To get through all, more of nights from my kids need to be freed.

Of spending spree, no word spoken, Amex my kemo sabe,
Angry family if they discover all of the gifts are only for me.
Emerging from man cave, sniffing out shopping with his nose,
Hubby spoke not a word, no point in coming to blows.

For he knows how hard I work as mom, wife, attorney and writer,
Deserving a night off to shop, watch TV, will make my day brighter.
As for denying family Christmas presents, no hopes did I deflate,
We’re Jewish, these are my Chanukah gifts, albeit one month late.

But, like a good mom, my children and family I would never deny,
For them DVDs, toys and an iPad were ordered in good supply.
Happy Belated Chanukah to my family, gifts for each crazy night,
Merry Christmas, happy holidays to all, may your new year excite!

© 2013. Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, 13 December 2013

The Joneses Called & Said You Can’t Keep Up by Naomi Elana Zener

Flashbulbs blinded the patrons, which were made worse by the jeers and catcalls of the hordes of autograph seekers, naysayers and paparazzi pressed up like sardines against the trendy Beverly Hills’ restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling window. The world renowned and infamous couple, Mr. and Mrs. Jones, were sitting in the tony eatery supping on a divinely decadent elaborate meal prepared especially for them, with no expense spared. Accustomed to the glares and stares, the Joneses dined as though they were the only two people in the restaurant, let alone on the planet, cleansing their palates between courses with a healthy swig of Cristale, blissfully unaware of the masses watching their every move. Without warning and to the Jones’ horror, a plebian reporter abruptly disrupted their oasis by commandeering a neighbouring table’s chair, pulling it up to their table and joining them.

“Well, if it isn’t the elusive Joneses,” the reporter exclaimed. “I’m Joe Public, a reporter, not the plumber, from the Main Street Everyman’s Gazette. In light of the ongoing economic crisis crippling the planet, I wondered, hoped really, that I could interview you both to get your take on the sad state of the World’s financial affairs.”

“What sad state?” Mr. Jones inquired as he proceeded to take a delicate bite of caviar on toast point.

“Every country, especially the United States, has been downtrodden and underwater financially ever since the Great Recession hit. Albeit, housing prices are showing some gains of late and job numbers are mildly improving, so many people have lost their homes, jobs, life savings, all in their pursuit of the ‘American Dream’ bought on credit,” Joe replied. “All to keep up with the Joneses. To keep up with you.”

Mr. and Mrs. Jones shared a perplexed look as they digested Joe’s comments and then quickly tossed their heads back in guttural laughter.

“Is that a joke?” Mr. Jones asked.

“Is what a joke?” Joe responded.

“How can you even suggest that anyone can keep up with us?” Mr. Jones exclaimed. “We drive an Aston Martin Vanquish. Do you know how fast that thing goes? Even if someone buys a BMW M5 they have no way of keeping up or even catching us.”

“You, with your designer clothes, overpriced automobiles, flawless diamonds and multiple homes have set the tone for an ideal that people are chasing to their detriment. An ideal that only the top one percent can achieve,” Joe stated. “They see you with your black Amex free from the shackles of a limit, and your Cartier Love bracelet, and then go to the mall with their ten credit cards with low limits and high interest rates, maxing them out trying to emulate your blinged out lifestyle by buying jewelry at Zales. Then, they sit at home  in the house they can’t afford on the couch bought on a ‘buy now pay later deal,’ wondering how they are going to pay for groceries or the mortgage. Don’t you feel responsible?”

“How can we be responsible for anyone who chooses to shop at any store where the diamond quality is less than VVS1?” Mrs. Jones retorted. “I wouldn’t even let my maid buy diamonds at the mall.”

“May I ask what that shiny diamond Cartier Love bracelet hanging from your wrist cost?” Joe asked.

“If you have to ask what it cost, then you shouldn’t be buying it!” Mrs. Jones admonished.

“You must agree that you have created an image that others follow. Like a god, people revere your lifestyle and want to recreate themselves in your image no matter the cost,” Joe advised. “They want to dress like you, vacation like you, buy homes like yours.”

“Dress like us?” Mrs. Jones asked rhetorically. “What a crazy notion.  These people are wearing shmatas that are at least two seasons old bought either on sale at TJ Maxx or at a clothing graveyard.”

“What is a ‘clothing graveyard’?” Joe queried.

“A consignment store, you know, second-hand,” Mrs. Jones advised.

“I’m shocked you even know what that is,” Joe stated.

“Where do you think I recycle items in my wardrobe that I’ve been spotted or photographed in?” Mrs. Jones replied. “Plus, I use the money earned from resale to pay for our staff’s Christmas gifts. I have financial management skills. Also, you could even say that I am an environmentalist because by consigning my clothes I am enabling people to reduce, reuse and recycle, rather than going out and wastefully spending on brand new clothes at full price. Plus, people who buy my items look chic in them, so in fact I am actually doing a civic service by beautifying the Earth by populating it with well-heeled women.”

Ignoring Mrs. Jones blatant arrogance, Joe decided to follow another line of questioning directed at Mr. Jones.

“Sir, you must know that all of the technological gadgets that you’ve amassed, giant flat screen TVs, cable and high speed Internet, Netflix, tablets and the like are all luxuries you enjoy, but are not necessities?” Joe asked.

“What do you mean they aren’t necessities?” Mr. Jones asked. “They are the basic lifeblood required to remain digitally apprised of what’s going on in the world. How else does one expect to stay informed? And, for the record, your attack on my wife ignores the basic principle that you get what you pay for in life. If people were smart and saved up to buy just one pair of Louboutins or Manolos, then they would save their feet from damage by not wearing crap from Payless, saving themselves from having to shell out big bucks on chiropody treatments.”

“So, then what is a luxury in your opinion?” Joe asked.

“The Emirati royal family’s new yacht, the Azzam.  No one needs a five hundred and ninety foot yacht,” Mr. Jones explained. “At six hundred and five million dollars, just think of the real estate you could buy that doesn’t depreciate like a boat does.”

“That boat is just so gauche!” Mrs. Jones exclaimed. “Since you must still watch free over-the-air TV, you don’t understand how Netflix is a necessity. Time is money, and who wants to waste time watching useless commercials.”

Joe, realizing he had made no headway at trying to get the Joneses to accept any responsibility for setting a dangerous lifestyle precedent, decided to dumb down his cross-examination of them in the hopes that they would finally see the error of their ways.

“Ok, so we agree to disagree about the clothes, cars and toys you buy, but what about your homes? Do you really need so many? And, do they need to be equipped with the highest end restaurant-grade appliances when you don’t even cook?” Joe queried.

“Why should we apologize for having good taste and wanting to have the finer things in life?” Mr. Jones asked.

“Of course we use our appliances. Every time we have a dinner party, our chef or the catering staff prepares each meal with them, “ Mrs. Jones explained. “The better the appliance, the better the food tastes.”

“As for the number of homes we own, well that makes solid financial sense. Real estate is a safe investment,” Mr. Jones offered.

“Plus, one could go mad looking at the same scenery and d├ęcor day in and day out. Vacation homes are important tools to promote good mental health,” Mrs. Jones stated. “Next you’ll try to argue that having a maid or a gardener is a luxury.”

“Aren’t they?” Joe asked.

“You could sprain an ankle or have a heart attack engaging in such physical manual labour! Why do you think they invented in ground sprinkler systems?  Having a staff is a necessity borne by you and your fellow media comrades by publicizing all of these so-called studies telling everyone what is good and bad for our health. In fact, it’s you people causing us to hire nannies and housekeepers. The flip side is that we are creating jobs, thus lowering unemployment,” Mrs. Jones advised.

“How can you say that by performing manual labour you run the risk of having a heart attack when you workout and exercise?” Joe laughed.

“Because, we hire trainers to oversee our every move so as to prevent any injury from happening,” Mrs. Jones retorted.

Joe shook his head realizing that the Joneses would not have an epiphany recognizing their frivolity and wastefulness. They would continue to buy their own hype and the masses would continue to run like caged hamsters in a spinning wheel perpetuating the vicious debt cycle.

“I give up. You think it’s ok for people to go broke trying to keep up with you,” Joe sighed.

“Hell no!” Mr. Jones roared. “We don’t have large mortgages, if any at all. We own our cars. We don’t lease them. My wife’s jewels are family heirlooms inherited over the years. The people you talk about have no financial management skills, but we do. They should hire financial planners to help advise them.”

“How can they afford that when they are in debt up to their eyeballs?” Joe fumed.

“Please, people have access to cheap credit and with government policies keeping interest rates at historical lows, they can afford a planner instead of a new pair of shoes. If you want to blame someone for the World’s debt crisis, blame the government, not us.”

“For the record, if you can’t afford a bank loan, luxury purses make for excellent collateral. Just look at China where the ‘Yes Lady Finance Co’ gives loans against designer handbags. Only, you must ensure that the security is in the form of Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Channel or Gucci,” Mrs. Jones offered. “But, think twice before giving up a Birkin. Those damn waitlists for a new one are a bitch!”

“You people are unbelievable!” Joe exclaimed. “You tell people that it’s ok to fake it until they make it, the hell with keeping a roof over your head or food in their belly. What do you say to them when they can’t feed their family?”

Mr. and Mrs. Jones gave pause to Joe’s question, unsure of what they would do if they had no food to eat.

“Let them eat cake” Mrs. Jones offered.

© 2013 Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved.