So This Was Christmas
Ben Stein
by

Christmas

Oooh, Merry Christmas, baby.

Up early to write a letter of thanks to my wife to accompany the Christmas gifts I bought her. She’s a goddess/saint, so it’s easy to express happiness about her. She is as close to perfect as anyone I know and I pray she returns to health soon. She simply has no meanness of spirit about her. None. She’s as kind as anyone can be. A saint. No anger. All forgiveness.

After I wrote my letter, I swam for a long time. It’s cool out but the pool is warm and so am I. Then a long shower and some delicious Ensure, world’s most efficient food.

My wife was still sleeping so I went out to meet a close friend at a park near me. She’s had terrible problems with her mental health, all as the result of some serious auto-immune venous inflammation bodily health problems. She’s a very nice woman, but she suffers terribly. Just horribly. It’s astonishing how calmly she talks about her repeated hospitalizations for dreadful pain, mental and muscular. She’s brave. The sun was shining brightly and it was hard to imagine how dark it must be in her heart as she undergoes such pain.

Then, a change of outfits and off to lunch at the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel with the friend of a friend who happens to be in town with nothing to do on Christmas. Alex was invited but did not care to go. She likes to sleep and who can blame her?

Then, as we were leaving the hotel, my friend’s friend, a stunningly beautiful young woman, said, “There’s Bono. Should I ask him for a picture?”

“It’s okay with me,” I said.

Bono, who must be a billionaire, was dragging his own suitcase without a bellhop. That surprised me. I went over to him and asked if my friend could have a picture with him in front of the hotel Christmas tree.

I also introduced myself. Bono, a gentleman through and through, said, “You can take one with me if I can take one with Ben.” But frankly, I don’t think he had a clue who I am. (I don’t have much of a clue either.) We took lots of pictures and my friend’s friend, a curvaceous 23-year-old, was in ECSTASY about being so close to Bono. That’s power.

The young woman was literally transported to a realm of dream-like happiness. That’s what it means to be a star.

I went home and watched a debate about anti-Israel “BDS” policy, which has something to do with trying to harm Israel because it’s predominantly Jewish under the guise of working for Palestinian rights. It’s all nonsense. Arabs in Israel are treated FAR better than Arabs in any Arab country and everyone knows it. But anti-Semitism is a mental illness and it flourishes under the guise of the BDS movement. Well. People have hated us Jews for a long time. I’m SO BLESSED TO LIVE IN AMERICA!!!! Yes, there are plenty of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions weirdos here, but they don’t run things. Donald Trump, the most pro-Jewish President since Nixon, will not allow anything like BDS. Elizabeth Warren? Who knows what her tribal council will say.

The debaters were a stone dope named Cornell West, who somehow is a professor at Harvard, and one of the smartest people on earth, Alan Dershowitz, a retired law prof at Harvard. Dershowitz just blew Mr. West into little pieces.

Alan Dershowitz used to work for my nemesis, Michael R. Milken. I spent many years investigating Milken for Barron’s and this earned me the hatred of many of Milken’s pals, including Dershowitz. Never mind. Dershowitz is a genius and is now using it in a good cause — defending Israel and Trump. I love him now.
It was an interesting debate on C-SPAN, the greatest of channels.

That reminds me — a few nights ago I watched a gripping anti-Communist drama called Man on a Tightrope on TCM. It starred Gloria Grahame. I had heard of her but did not know who she was. Wow. Beautiful. She died in 1981. What a loss.

She had the sweetest face you ever saw. By coincidence, the same night, I met a cute middle-aged woman at the supermarket who wanted me to help her find the Sugar Smacks. She gave me her name and city of residence. She told me her birthday was on Christmas and hinted she wanted me to take her out. I didn’t say a word. I looked her up when I got home. Stripper. Serious arrest record. I think I’ll let her find her own breakfast cereal. Back to today, Christmas. I rested after lunch and then Alex and I had a delicious roast of beef. It’s too much work to make though. So, no more of that. The only good part is that my wife really loves it and ate a huge amount of it.

Christmas. Christianity. The ultimate rebel religion for it teaches men to act against their own instincts to kill, to rape, to steal. It tells men they are heroes and saints if they go against human nature. Judaism says the same thing although not as clearly. Christmas is a huge day. It marks the beginning of a worldwide attempt to overcome who we are and make us more like divinities. I know it can work because my wife is a Christian and she is a divinity.

It’s really our only hope in the age of nuclear weapons. We will learn to love one another at least sufficiently or we will kill all of us. Christmas is a big, big day and deserves the respect of all of us.

Now to pray with my wife, take a long shower, pray in Hebrew the Mourner’s Kaddish, which I still say for my mom and pop and all I have loved who are gone, kiss my wife, pray the Lord’s Prayer with her, and go to sleep. I generally drift off as I watch the blue green light from my pool flicker on the ceiling.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

We will serenade our Louis
While life and voice shall last,
Then we’ll pass and be forgotten with the rest.

I listen to Jo Stafford sing it over and over. “The Whiffenpoof Song.” It moves me terribly. I often get up in the middle of the night just to listen to it. And gone is my pal from Yale days, Richard J. Balzer. The world is a colder, sadder place without him. He laughed a lot.

Ben Stein
Ben Stein
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Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes “Ben Stein’s Diary” for every issue of The American Spectator.
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