Dr. Charles Petty
Humorist, Professional Motivational Speaker
Inducted into the National Speaker Hall of Fame


HALLOWEEN! Good? Some TV evangelists say Halloween glorifies demons, witches and evil. However, Halloween is also about candy, greed and controlled rudeness: All-American virtues! Halloween is the favorite holiday of children. They get what they really want - candy, not underwear. They can get as much as they can stuff into a pillowcase, or until their little legs cramp from exhaustion. They do not have to say "Thank you," and a trick is appropriate for those who give no treat or an inappropriate one. An inappropriate treat is something like candy corn (doors have been ripped off hinges because of this sorry excuse for candy), or unwrapped candy/fruit where every mother knows is hidden the mythical razorblade. To top off this quest for candy, fueled by greed and constrained by controlled rudeness, one gets to do it while wearing outlandish clothes, fake hair and a false face. Wait a minute! Who said TV evangelists were against Halloween? They perfected it!

THANKSGIVING is the bad holiday, the second most stress-filled holiday. Why? The food and the guilt. Pictures depict food on a table only Martha Stewart could prepare. Turkeys take hours to bake (longer if you forget to turn on the oven), are rarely golden brown and leak grease all over the oven. The dressing is dry as a brick or resembles throw-up! Giblet gravy is made from parts no one wants to touch, much less eat. Cranberry sauce is eaten only once a year, which may account for the gagging sounds.

Norman Rockwell's painting of several generations gathered around Martha's banquet table, enjoying retold jokes and stories and focusing on the true meaning of the holiday has created holiday rage among families. In reality, families reluctantly gather around tables designated "adult" or "child" to complain about the food or remind everyone that Mother's was better and use the occasion to reprimand the ungrateful, correct the wayward, enlighten the ignorant or brag on themselves. The Native Americans were smart. If you can't beat them, create a holiday where they will self-destruct. Works every time.

No argument that Halloween is good or Thanksgiving is bad, but how can CHRISTMAS be ugly? The decorations are beautiful, the food delicious and the reason for the season religious. Christmas gets ugly when:

  • the honking in the parking lot at the mall is not because people love Jesus, but because they are getting ready to ram the car that got their parking space.
  • little ladies with purple hair wrestle each other to the floor over a sale item.
  • benches at the mall are occupied by hollow-eyed males muttering over and over, "Whatever you think, dear."
  • the most common statement from the store clerk is, "Sorry, your credit card is maxed out."
  • cars on the way to Grandma's house have children strapped to the luggage rack!
  • 95% of the gifts given on Christmas Day will be returned to the stores on the day after Christmas.
  • Christmas cards feature people not born on Christmas Day and Christmas letters describe those whose accomplishments rival the One who was born then.
  • the central figure of the season is Santa, who should be the poster person for Overeaters Anonymous.