Thomas the Grinch Engine

Christmas.  The time of goodwill to all is in reality a great boon for the forces of stress, unhappiness and unmet expectations.

One source expressed their yuletide sentiments thus:

Do they expect this to continue for ever?  The dread, the hate, the boredom?  Every year, until we die?

You could deck a lot of halls with that much ennui. 

Now, I’m a reasonable man.  I know that Christmas is not all bad.  I got some sweet presents that I will actually use.  I saw some relatives who I don’t often get to see.  I ate some ham.

But in reality, after the age of about 15, tinsel, turkey and toys  are scant compensation for the reality of Christmas.

Christmas taints an otherwise pleasant set of experiences.  Giving presents, eating with relatives, hosting parties can be most excellent.  Adding Christmas to the mix creates an x-factor of towering expectations that almost certainly will not be met.  Unhappiness somewhere between fleeting doubts and pervasive misery is an inexorable result.

Which is why I invented a cost-benefit tool to rate Major Holidays.  The tears-to-joy ratio (TTJR) ™.

  • Christmas has a high TTJR.  I blame the earliness with which the pervasive cheap decorations appear.  If they held off until December 20, noone would have to worry about Christmas so much.
  • Your birthday has a TTJR greater than one only if you throw a party and noone comes.
  • Easter is very low, unless you eat so much chocolate you spew.
  • Australia Day has a TTJR approaching zero, unless you’re indigenous, in which case you were robbed of your patrimony and culture, so the ratio is inverted.

If you would like to apply this proprietary tool to your celebrations, please comment below, and I will license it to you for a small fee.


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Thomas the Think Engine is the blog of a trained economist. It comes to you from Melbourne Australia.

One thought on “Thomas the Grinch Engine”

  1. Problem A: I ate some ham- fail.
    Problem B: you don’t have a trade mark.
    However, the over all TTJR of bagging you out means i had a great time.


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