Private Eye | Christmas Cards: Holiday wishes to friends and the not-so-friendly. | Private Eye | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Private Eye | Christmas Cards: Holiday wishes to friends and the not-so-friendly. 

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Growing up in Bingham Canyon, I heard season’s greetings uttered in many languages besides the Queen’s English that I speak and write with to this very day. In our home, it was Kala Christougena. Our neighbors were Japanese. According to a recent e-mail I received from a great old friend who is an LDS stake president and who served his mission in Japan, I assume they said, Kurisumasu Omedito. I can only hope, because I’d be mortified if it’s a swear word. He’s in line for LDS Church presidency someday, and I don’t want to screw it up for him. n

The Croat and Serb homes sent us their wishes in the same Slavic tongue. My Mexican and Puerto Rican neighbors said Feliz Navidad. Several homes greeted us in Italian. Next to my grandparents home lived the Olsens. I wouldn’t know if they were speaking Dutch, Norwegian or Swedish, but the message was taken. This was all in our little neighborhood in lower Bingham Canyon called Lead Mine. Of all the languages spoken there, one stands out, though. Have you ever heard Basque? It’s the most confounding language I’ve ever heard. If they indeed were expressing Merry Christmas, great, but there’s no way to prove it.

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The only Jewish family in Bingham Canyon owned the Princess movie theater. Despite what the “War on Christmas” folks tell us, I don’t recall a Merry Xmas sign on his marquee. Not when the original The Shaggy D.A. or Flubber were playing, anyway. Plus, the X in place of the word Christ in Christmas is likely not of Jewish doing, but perhaps a derivative instead of the Greek letter X, or Chi, the first letter when writing the word Christmas in Greek. Or it could have another origin, but placing an X there is not the attack on Christ’s name as some want us to believe.

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I learned Mele Kalikimaka from a song in junior high. I never heard the phrase “Happy Kwanzaa” until I was an adult. Bingham Canyon numbered persons from all over the globe, but we didn’t have blacks or Hawaiians living there when I was young. I’m sure they would have been as welcome as everyone else. It was that kind of place. But, for at least a brief period of time each December, everyone understood and embraced everyone else no matter their background, no matter their status. ’Tis the season to lay down the swords, to be grateful and—for a brief time at least—to find peace.

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In that spirit, I want to express my own gratitude to some of the people who have affected me this year. Here goes:

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Merry Christmas, Barack Obama. I hope the hope you talked about is all that and then some. Your promise is spectacular. Our expectations are high. Our children believe in you. If your promise of hope and change turns out to be the same-old, same-old, I hope you suffer a better fate than George W. Bush—but not much better. And I hope that doesn’t happen.

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Merry Christmas, Sarah Palin. I mean that. You got problems. Kid problems. In-law problems. Budget problems. Image problems. Arctic-air problems. Moose problems. English-language problems—and that’s coming from a guy with the same problem, so I know it’s true. Fifteen minutes of fame problems. Whatcha gonna do, hon? I already know. You said so. You’re going to pray. I’d pray for you, too, but I have my limits, so Merry Christmas and that’s it.

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Merry Christmas, Jon Huntsman Jr. The card you sent our office is on the wall. Great looking family. It can’t be easy running a ship with a crew of legislative pirates manning the oars, but you’re doing pretty darned good at making Utah a better place for all citizens nonetheless. As just one of the many Utahns who felt excluded by prior administrations, I hope the best for you next year and the next. Unless we find something to criticize, of course. Huntsman-Palin in 2012. Fuhgetaboutit.

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Merry Christmas, Chris Buttars. What a jackass you are.

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Merry Christmas, Dan Savage. Yeah, you’ve mellowed and don’t hate all Utahns anymore, just Mormon Utahns. That’s progress, I suppose. Since there are new fish to fry regarding GLBT issues, I hope you drop some anger and use your influence, charm and wit in more useful ways in 2009. The money we would have spent on bringing you here for a visit has found a new home, helping to fund gender research studies at the University of Utah. The issues—your issues—remain real here and maybe we can budget you in for a visit next year. Are you OK with meeting some really cool Mormons, Dan?

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Merry Christmas, University of Utah football team. See you in New Orleans. Go Utes.

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Merry Christmas, University of Utah ticket office. Bah, humbug.

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Merry Christmas, Carlos Boozer. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. That’s the march-beat of Carlos leaving town. The whole country is hurting financially, and Carlos says his $10 million annual salary isn’t enough. We could run two newspapers and employ more than a hundred people for what he gets just sitting on his entitled ass. This is a time when employees don’t call in sick for fear of losing a day’s pay. Carlos has missed over 100 games since coming to Utah and has over $100,000 to show for each of them. What’s wrong with this picture? People willing to pay $800 courtside to see that fiasco, that’s what.

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Merry Christmas, doctors Wall, Naylor, Probst and … many more at St. Mark’s Hospital. Thanks for the new scars. Keep the scalpels sharp and the anesthesia flowing just in case.

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Merry Christmas to all of you. And Brian Barnard, too. John.

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