A Christmas Carol, 2018

In the year 2018 humankind had proved that it was privy to the dangers of ignorance and want. So, let us then fast-forward this retelling of Dickens’s classic tale to that most joyful of acts: when after being visited upon by three ghosts our hero awakes from his slumber and succumbs to that sweet Christmas spirit. 

Ebenezer Scrooge awakes in his bed. He has survived the three ghosts. Feeling a new sense of purpose, the old man enters his office, sits at his desk, and logs into Facebook.

An hour later Scrooge scrolls past an advertisement for a shower coffeemaker called Bathe and Brew. He clicks on the link and is directed to a website that sells empty boxes of gag gifts such as fart filters, bacon-scented dryer sheets, and plant urinals. “Wisecracks,” Scrooge says. “Every last one.”

Remembering nephew’s Christmas party and its annual white elephant gift exchange—where attendees gift useless items that are difficult to dispose of—Scrooge smiles and adds seven of every product to his shopping cart. It doesn’t matter that the extra 120 gifts will hinder the gift exchange’s precise numbering system—Scrooge has Christmas spirit.

Shifting in his chair, Scrooge then remembers that nephew specifically asked all attendees to wear ugly Christmas sweaters and/or Christmas pajamas. Not owning a sweater or pajama that could be deemed Christmas-y enough, Scrooge purchases $300 worth of ugly Christmas sweaters for the entire party. “It’s not wasteful if I work hard to waste it,” Scrooge says, a little louder.

After submitting his credit card information to another 100% secure website, the mouse in Scrooge’s hand begins to rattle as the energy of Christmas spirit pulses through his veins. He decides to send his sole employee, Bob Cratchit, a feast of artisan olives, water crackers, brie, and cookies all placed atop a bed of shredded green paper and wrapped in plastic. “He’ll never know who the sender is!” Scrooge cries in delight as he leaves the “Note” field blank and completes his third online transaction of the day.

The bell on Scrooge’s smartwatch tolls. “Ack,” Scrooge says, “Already 1 p.m. and only 23 steps.” He continues browsing the internet when he sees a video of Woody Guthrie’s song “Jesus Christ”, which starts:

“Jesus Christ was a man who traveled through the land
Hard working man and brave
He said to the rich, ‘Give your goods to the poor.’
So they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.”

Unlike the awe-inspiring power of the three ghosts, Scrooge is struck by the simplicity of the song’s guitar strums and idea of Jesus Christ as carpenter born from humans into an unequal world of haves and have nots. What if the purpose of Christmas wasn’t buying unnecessary presents, white elephant gifts, and ugly Christmas sweaters? But after Googling “Woody Guthrie good?”, Scrooge learns from Fox News that Woody Guthrie was a communist.

To regain Christmas spirit, Scrooge watches another internet video. In this one, a group of people unwrap a ball of plastic wrap—which will take hundreds of years to decompose—to retrieve treasures such as a plastic bag filled with sugar in circular forms, a bottle of nail polish, and another plastic bag filled with sugar in a rectangular form. “A Christmas idea if ever there was one,” Scrooge says. “I shall bring one to nephew’s party.”

Scrooge bypasses his hat, scarf, and coat (which have been in storage all winter) and drives to the grocer to purchase as many boxes of plastic wrap that he can fit into the trunk of his SUV. While sitting in traffic, Scrooge thinks about the climate report that the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come showed him. “Bah humbug!” Scrooge thinks, as he inches forward.