The phone rings — itâ€™s 3 a.m. The voice on the other end sounds panicked.
â€œWhat do you mean thereâ€™s a code 1225?â€ I ask. â€œItâ€™s not even Halloween yet.â€
â€œThe bastards struck early this year,â€ an anonymous voice responds. â€œTarget already has full Christmas displays up. We just didnâ€™t see it coming so early. Weâ€™ve been scrambling to organize since the initial attack.â€
OK, I just need to calm down, take a deep breath and focus. This is what youâ€™ve trained for, Jesse. I put on a pot of coffee, regroup and begin wrapping my head around what just happened. The War on Christmas 2011 has just seen its first shots fired — and we got caught with our pants down.
As a member of the Global Resistance In Negating Christian Holidays (GRINCH), I have been fighting the Great War on Christmas for as long as I can remember. It started when I was a small child in a family of non-practicing Jews who loved Christmas. By simply celebrating this holiday, in our completely secular way, we were taking the Christ out of Christmas long before formal organizations like GRINCH came together to take the fight worldwide.
Every Dec. 25 our family would run downstairs, unwrap presents, share in the joy of the holiday and unbeknownst to us at the time, slowly kill Christmas.
So once I reached enlistment age, joining GRINCH was the natural thing to do. Boot camp wasnâ€™t easy — the yule tide obstacle course, the eggnog-boarding in my advanced Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape training, shooting my first gingerbread manâ€¦
Letâ€™s just say that I left forever changed and more ready than ever to take the fight directly to Christmas.
Before too long, I was the veteran of several major campaigns.
â€œOperation Retail Therapy,â€ which involved complaining to management after clerks wished me â€œMerry Christmas.â€ And â€œOperation Amendment X-masâ€: a phone, email and letter writing campaign aimed at getting Congress to amend the Constitution, forever renaming Christmas to â€œX-masâ€ — literally taking the Christ out of it. And finally, unscrewing strategic light bulbs, ruining whole neighborhoodsâ€™ strings of Christmas lights during Operation Black Out — helping to win the Battle of the Silent Night.
After this, I moved up the chain of command and took more of a leadership role within GRINCH.
It seemed we were on our way to winning the war; salutations of â€œHappy Holidaysâ€ replaced the repulsive sound of â€œMerry Christmasâ€ in retailers across the country. Nativity sites were torn down from government sites nationwide. And public schools had to tone down the level of Christ in their holiday plays and celebrations.
And then came the hero of the pro-Christmas forces — the holiest of knights, Bill Oâ€™Reilly. Before Bill, we waged our war from the shadows, unnoticed by most. But he blew the lid off all that, exposing our attacks for what they were: an all-out war on Christmas.
Oâ€™Reillyâ€™s prominence as a popular entertainment figure propelled his pro-Christmas message to a national audience, forcing GRINCH even deeper underground.
We faced another setback in early 2002 after being put on the terrorist watch list post-9/11. Much to our enemyâ€™s dismay, however, our organization only grew more rapidly — for every individual GRINCH member tortured and eggnog-boarded into converting to the pro-Christmas forces, we gained 10 sympathizers and new recruits.
For every house attacked by unmanned candy cane drones, GRINCH grew in power and influence. Indeed, the overly aggressive tactics of the Bush administration and Commander Oâ€™Reilly only seemed to work to our advantage.
Today, GRINCH is stronger than ever. With our Manchurian Candidate working toward a second term in the White House, our Pine Beetle Campaign slowly killing off future Christmas trees, and â€œHappy Holidaysâ€ overtaking â€œMerry Christmasâ€ as the No. 1 December greeting in retail stores nationwide, our progress is notable.
Yet still, the war rages on. This year, the pro-Christmas forces launched a surprise attack, not unlike the Tet Offensive, Yom Kippur, Pearl Harbor and others — catching us off-guard.
But itâ€™s only the first battle in a much larger war. We have sleeper cells across the globe, celebrating Christmas with no Christ involved, just waiting to be called to further action.
So, hang your stockings extra tight. Tell Neighborhood Watch to keep an eye on your Christmas decorations. And warn your kids: If they arenâ€™t good little girls and boys who make sure to keep the Christ in Christmas, GRINCH might visit their house this year, and then, there wonâ€™t be any Christmas at all.
Jesse Benn is a senior political science major who encourages everyone on campus to join in the walk-out at 2:30 today to show their support for the Occupy Protests. His column appears Thursdays in the Collegian and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.