Christmas Cheer

Bruce Krasting's picture

 

I did get an invite to a Christmas Eve dinner party. After the last few years of mishaps I thought I might get left out. This one was up in Bedford, a town where only the 2% are allowed. I was reluctant to go, as I don’t fit in so well with the “horsey” set, but the hostess said there would be several single ladies there, so I went, thinking I might get lucky.

 

The invite said “holiday casual”, so I went casual, Khaki pants, blue blazer, striped shirt, no tie. What a mistake that was. It seems that holiday casual actually means that you dress up wearing silly outfits; so even though most of the guests looked like idiots, it was me who stuck out like a sore thumb.

 

The place was a sea of guys wearing red and green sport coats. Every man had a tie with a snowman, Christmas tree or a wreath (no Menorah ties at this party). Then there were the pants; how can anyone wear red pants and a green jacket these days?

 

The women all looked great. The usual pearls, diamond rings, colorful outfits (some with fur trimming?), $1,000 shoes, $300 hair-dos, etc. I thought it was amusing that half of the girls were wearing silly Santa caps as part of their garb.

 

One nice lady was dressed as an Elf; all green, silly shoes and hat, a black belt. Thinking maybe this was one of the singles, I tried some small talk, saying, “That’s quite the outfit you’re wearing”. Her, happy I’ve noticed, “I had it made special for this party”.

 

I’m thinking how crazy that is; but look a little closer, and see that this costume is very well made; hand stitched, tailored just right, nothing cheap about it. I come back with a surprised, “You’re kidding?” Her not smiling, and saying something about needing more Egg Nog, and she’s gone.

 

I got myself a drink from the punch bowl, (Cosmopolitan, made with Tito vodka, of course), went into the den where there was a fire burning and the guys were drinking brown liquor from cut glasses, no ice, thank you. One guy smiling at my pink drink, probably thinking I’m gay.

 

The small talk was of the usual stuff, vacations, horses, promotions, vacation houses someplace nice. There was some back and forth on the more pressing issues; the cliff, the economy, taxes and, of course, guns.

 

To the extent that this group represents the thinking of the top 2% (I think it does), then Boehner should have been there listening. What I heard was a complete acceptance to the idea that taxes on income and capital would be higher next year. One guy said, “They should just get it done already”.

 

Later, I wondered about this seeming inconsistency. I doubt that there was single person at the party who is now paying the top rate of 35%. If tax rates go up in 2013 to 39%, they won’t pay that rate either. It’s far too easy to move income around so that it doesn’t get taxed at the maximum rate. (Ask Mitt Romney - he pays only 11%.)

 

There was one loud gripe, the new 3.8% Obamacare tax on investment income. This crowd will, in the end, get hit harder with this tax then they will with the increase in tax brackets. That’s probably worth noting, whatever popularity Obamacare may have had with upper income Americans, it’s going down next year when the new tax starts hitting.

 

Bedford’s thirty odd miles from Newtown, so that topic had to come up. I thought it was interesting that there was a clear consensus for harsh new gun control laws, but at the same time, I knew that damn near all these folks had a loaded 9mm back at the house; just in case…

There were no NRA supporters at this bash, but they liked the idea of a cop at the local schools, and agreed that the only thing that was going to stop a bad guy with a gun; was a good guy with a gun. Listening to this group, I wouldn’t be surprised if guards with guns start popping up at some tony private schools.

 

For dinner I got seated between two well decked out ladies, the one to my left was a knockout. Maybe 40, but tight, red dress, dark hair, black high heels and nice legs. I asked her how she managed to stay so fit, her saying she rode horses and did Pilates. I was embarrassed to ask what the pilates thing was about; what ever it is, it was working for her. I got the sense she was upset about something, her knocking back red wine like it was water.

 

She was sitting next to a guy wearing a dark green jacket, red vest and tie with reindeers. He had about 20 years on her; the word “trophy” did come to mind. Anyway, towards the end of the meal she excuses herself, comes back five minutes later. Mr. Green Jacket made a big deal of her return, gets up and helps her with the stiff-backed chair. But he muffed it.

 

I happened to notice that the damn chair was still not where it should be, and watched as she grabbed the sides to cinch it into place. Greenie still had his hand on the back of the chair, so it tilted back just a bit.

 

Sure enough, as her backside hit the back of the chair, it tipped a bit more. Gravity took hold, and ass over teakettle she went. It probably only took a half-second for her to go down all the way, I saw it happening in slow motion.

 

Green Jacket tried to save the day with a last minute catch, but he flubbed, and ended up just hitting her in the head as she went akimbo. As the chair went down, her legs went up, and her left foot whacked the bottom of the table about as hard as a four-inch heeled stiletto in a size six foot could hit.

 

It was like a gunshot. At least half dozen long-stem goblets ended sideways, silverware flying. For a second or two, not a sound. I’m on my feet ready to help, but Green Jacket is already lending a hand. As she gets up, she gets close to Greenie and whispers in a voice that only the three of us heard, “You fucking asshole”.

 

I have a sick sense of humor, so that line got a quick chuckle from me. The lady sitting on the other side of me (why do some ladies tint grey hair blue?) snapped, “There’s nothing funny about it!” I looked at her, “You don’t know the half of it”. Red Dress was rubbing her foot, looked at me, and sort of smiled.

 

It was snowing when I left; on the slow ride home Green Jacket and Red Dress came to mind. I was thinking that Green Jacket was not going to get lucky before the New Year, and I was going to look into that pilates thing.

 

Anyway, have a good Christmas Day!

 

bk