On my travels recently, I stopped into a bakery out on the Island on Sunrise Highway, having been drawn to the shop's window display of Christmas-related baked goods and confectioneries. Upon entering the establishment, I was immediately overwhelmed by the delicious aromas therein and using my nose as a compass, I soon found my way to a rather delicious-looking display of my all-time favorite holiday cookie—a Gingerbread Man.
I am certainly not alone in my passion for this treat as even William Shakespeare in his Love's Labor's Lost opined: "And I had but one penny in the world, thou should’st have it to buy gingerbread." The first gingerbread man is credited to Queen Elizabeth I who knocked the socks off visiting dignitaries by presenting them with one baked in their own likeness. Gingerbread tied with a ribbon was popular at fairs and when exchanged, became a token of love. On a more practical note, before refrigeration was a twinkle in someone’s eye, aromatic crumbled gingerbread was added to recipes to mask the odor of decaying meat. But I digress.
I must have been standing in one place, drooling from my mouth, while unabashedly staring at the assorted gingerbread cookie treasures in front of me for some time when a store employee clad in a white apron, baker’s hat and a brilliant smile approached me, asking if she could be of service. I quickly related my long-time love of these treats and asked the price of the individual gingerbread man cookies. Suddenly the employee's warm friendly visage dissolved into a somewhat stern countenance as she replied with an air of superiority, "Our shop rejects not only sexism and gendered expectations, we also, as an enlightened business, reject the gender binary itself. The cookies are $2.50 each but, in our store, we require that everyone refer to each cookie as a gender inclusive gingerbread person."
I was all set to depart the store without making a purchase as I really did not want to engage this apparently self-important dough puncher in a debate surrounding the gender (or lack thereof) of a biscuit, but a gingerbread man "Jones" is what it is. The gingerbread man sitting in the baker’s pan before me, replete with sorrowful raisin eyes and cherry nose, trimmed right down to his fingers and toes, was suddenly calling to me in a whisper that only a true g-bread dude aficionado could hear.... "For God's sake, please get me out of this politically-correct misandrist torture chamber."
I couldn't help myself as I "accidentally" knocked over a display stack of bread sticks and as the staff person was busy setting that straight, I quickly turned and said, "C'mon gingerbread man, you know how to run. Get out of that pan and jump down to the floor and get your gingerbread man body right out of this store." And as he jumped down and scampered through the store and out the front door, he glanced back at the baker standing beside me and yelled, "Run, run, as fast as you can, you can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man and I'm out of the pan!"
As the little gingerbread dude disappeared from view, I turned towards the baker still beside me, holding the bread sticks fully expecting to be excoriated for assisting in the little guy's escape and offered to pay for the bread sticks as well as the now missing and apparently pan-sexual gingerbread thingy. To my surprise, the baker simply sighed and said, "That's the fifth gender inclusive gingerbread person to make a break for it today. They are quick little devils, aren't they? You know, quite frankly, they are proving to be more trouble than they are worth. Perhaps I could interest you in some gingerbread houses we have at the back of the store?" I thought for a second and then replied, "Only if it is inclusive, affordable gingerbread housing with gender neutral bathrooms!"
The moral of this little story? Get over yourself and stop worrying about the myriad of insanely inane issues that are touted by those supercilious elites among us who love to hear themselves preach and focus on what's really important—family, friends and community.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
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