Nothing says "Morning in America" like a $10,000 bet over an obscure line in a book that nobody has read. And who, in these boom times, doesn't have 10 grand to move around the table in a little clubhouse one-upsmanship?
To celebrate this exciting new dawning, I pulled my best black suit out of the winter closet, emptied mothballs out of the pockets and whisked myself away to the glitziest Christmas party I could get into.
This one was for "millionaire job creators" and their most trusted lobbyists. These are the same "millionaire job creators" Harry Reid said he doesn't believe exist. Yes, Harry Reid, I do believe in unicorns!
Anyway, the doors and sidewalks outside the party were clogged with celebrators holding signs and singing carols. Some of them even lay down on the sidewalk, linking arms and making themselves into a red carpet leading to the glowing door of the party. There were police there, too, joining in the celebration.
The carolers shouted compliments about how I was in the top 1 percent and it made me feel like C-3PO in "Return of the Jedi" when all the Ewoks gather around him like he is some kind of gilded deity.
They sang carols like, "Millionaire, millionaire, now is time you pay your share!" I will tell you, that's not one of the classics I remember, but it sure was nice.
A little alarming, however, that they knew so much about my personal financial information. I looked around nervously to make sure there weren't any IRS people around because that could very quickly bring around nighttime in America for me. No worries, just people celebrating.
There was a policeman standing in the street and so I walked up and asked him if he would snap my picture with the carolers, maybe even lying down with the carpeters. (Truthfully, I wasn't really going to get down there with them. I don't lie down on city sidewalks.)
Anyway, I don't know if he couldn't hear me over the singing and cheering or he couldn't see me through that black helmet shield. Or maybe he just couldn't manipulate my camera phone with those black gloves on while holding that festive baton. He made no move, no gesture, no sound.
So I decided to take my own picture, which I know is kind of dorky and the pictures don't always come out right ... but what was I to do? I leaned in with the crowd and snapped the picture. When I looked at the picture, I realized one of the funny carolers had made rabbit ears behind me only he used just one finger and it was going the wrong way.
So, I walked up to him and said, "What is your name? Do you want to see our picture?" He said something that I am pretty sure was not his name. He had a fat nose ring hanging below his nostrils. It looked infected so I recommended that he go get it checked out. He repeated what I do not believe was his actual name.
I was stepping on the hair of one of the carolers lying on the ground. As I tried to say "excuse me," she gave me the same single, backward rabbit ears (perhaps a half-floppy-eared rabbit hopping away? Those are soooooo cute.) And then she shouted something that I don't think was her name either.
I smiled and pushed my way on up the steps. I could smell the mix of cocktails and perfume in the warm air gushing out of the party for millionaire job creators. My spirits lifted, I gave a chuckle. Right then, one of the carolers grabbed my coat, jerked me back and put her face close to mine. Clearly, she was not a regular tooth-brusher. She snarled, "Do you think this is funny?"
I said, "Why yes, I do. It is morning in America again!"
She exploded into a fit, spitting nasty words, flailing her arms about. It was the opposite of Christmas joy. And so I said, "Perhaps this sort of attitude is why your parents kicked you out of their basement. But I bet if you cleaned up your attitude and took a shower, they might take you back for Christmas!"
I couldn't make out what exactly she said but she certainly wasn't in the self-help mood so I just turned and went into my party to celebrate the new dawning.
• Charles Hurt's column appears Wednesdays. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.