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Sage advice
Peanuts by Charles Shulz for September 23, 1975

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This is not what I intended when I sat down to draw it, but the spirit overcame me.

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Last week on NPR's Ask Me Another, one of the contestants admitted to being a big Peanuts fan. He had a Snoopy tattoo on his back, but "self-identified" as Linus. Listening to him talk about himself, I naturally thought about me.

I like Peanuts. (Who doesn't?) As a kid, I most enjoyed the antics of Snoopy and Linus, but I wouldn't say I ever self-identified with either of them. Snoopy is too outgoing and Linus is too deep. I also really enjoyed Schroeder, though he's far too single-minded. None of them are really me.

After watching A Charlie Brown Christmas to get in the mood (fun fact: three of the dancing kids are officially named "3", "4", and "5"), I asked Google to point me to some sites that would help me to find out exactly which character I should be associating with. and both suggested that I was most like Charlie Brown, the main man himself. They said that like Mr. Brown, I was a well-intentioned leader with charm and a strong work ethic, generally fun to be around despite my insecurities. That sounds to me like something someone would write in a generic horoscope. said I was more like Linus, a "sensitive intellectual" with book smarts. hit furthest from the mark, declaring that I was most like the easygoing and "super casual" Peppermint Patty. (I think I must have answered something wrong in that one.) None of these seem quite right to me, so I kept testing.

I got more agreement from,,,, and They all decided that I was demanding, easily irritated, and a generally insufferable know-it-all. The character associated with those traits is none other than she of the yanked-away-football herself, Lucy van Pelt.

Telling it like it is

Yeah, that sounds about right.

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Running errands, I passed the local Lowe's where they have filled their windows with inflatables and artificial Christmas trees made of brightly colored plastic and electric lights. It looks exactly like the scene in A Charlie Brown Christmas where Charlie Brown rejects the peer pressure for an artificial aluminum Christmas tree and buys a dismal Christmas sapling instead in symbolic rejection of the commercialization of Christmas. Charlie Brown probably doesn't shop at Lowe's.

Mere minutes later inside the Kroger supermarket, where I passed real cut Christmas trees on sale for $16.99 -- cheap enough that you can still afford to buy the green spray paint you will need if you are planning on using it as an actual Christmas decoration -- I saw this:

Somewhere someone thought this was a good idea.

That's right, it's an artificial tree designed to look Like Charlie Brown's tree. This product misses the point so badly, it has to be trying. The mere existence of this product means that the terrorists are winning: it is the very definition of weaponized irony. Good grief.

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When I watched A Charlie Brown Christmas as a child, the cartoon was already 20 years old, but the primary sponsor was usually McDonalds pushing Happy Meals to children. Now, 20 years later, most commercials that aired on ABC's seasonal broadcast were pitching cars to adults. I'm not sure what exactly that means or how significant it is, but I don't think I like it. (That's the safe position for me, because I don't like much of anything.)

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To be continued...