I understand the deliverance of redemption, total transformation of the spirit—but my dear old friend, Ebenezer Scrooge, wasn’t such a bad chap before all that.
To be sure, there were moments when the dark knight of his soul simply ran amok with him—but old Scrooge was a frugal, thinking, and sorely misunderstood man.
Coal is a dirty fuel, is it not?
I understand, everyone feels compassion for poor, kindly Bob Cratchit, working his numbed fingers to the very bone for old Ebenezer, for very little pay and far less appreciation.
But Cratchit had wool gloves—fingerless, true—but he also had a little candle, right there on his desk, to warm those frozen fingers. He also hung up his coat, scarf, and hat each day when he should have kept warm inside them. With smarts like these, my friend Ebenezer was quite generous to keep him on.
Besides, Ebenezer was way ahead of his time. He was an environmental thinker in a time when businesses and households thought little of the effects of burning yet another lump of coal, save their pence and pounds.
Not only did Ebenezer conserve at the office, he conserved at home, sacrificing comfort as he bundled up in his cap, nightshirt, and robe, and hunkered down behind the drawn bed curtains to stave off the bitter cold. Ebenezer conserved (a limited coal resource) and preserved (that London fresh air).
He was no dirty fuel fool.
‘Twas a free market even then, was it not?
First of all, it’s fairly unclear as to whether Ebenezer was an usurer, a banker, or a property owner so it’s really not fair to judge him by today’s Occupy Wall Street standards. Besides, it wasn’t as if he and Jacob Marley were a big corporation—they were simply small business owners.
Some say they were greedy, jumping through every loophole imaginable and taking advantage of inside information, even scandal. Bah! I say. That’s just standard business practice nowadays—sound business practice if a leak doesn’t spring and soak the papers.
Old Ebenezer employed poor Cratchit at but fifteen bob a week, scarcely enough to feed his family, or so it’s told. It’s even likely Cratchit thought himself ill-used every work day, not just the Christmas Day he begged off of work each year.
So, I ask you, if the working conditions were so very terrible, why did Cratchit continue in his employment with Scrooge? Why didn’t he seek a position elsewhere? Isn’t that what any talented, intelligent clerk would do today, find a situation commensurate with one’s experience?
Apparently not Bob Cratchit—he remained loyal to Scrooge despite his wife’s nagging, the wailings of more children than he could afford to keep, and his own Tiny Tim’s failing health. A job is a job, take it or leave it—and Cratchit took it, right along with the poor working conditions, far less than a living wage, and no healthcare benefits. Workers’ rights? Yes, sir. Bob got right to work, right along with the working class.
You can’t blame Ebenezer for paying Cratchit the lowest wage Cratchit would accept (at least he didn’t outsource). If Cratchit didn’t want it, someone else certainly would. It’s a free market, right? And it works both ways. Besides, even today’s corporate giants are raking in record profits—you can’t fault Ebenezer for cutting corners here and there, and over there too, and amassing his
capital good fortune. And he put that good fortune right back into the company, creating jobs—you know, work for all the other people who would’ve been begging in the streets (his housekeeper and cook [not illegal aliens either]).
The free market worked for all, even then—Ebenezer was free to make money and Cratchit was free not to work. Day in and day out (save Christmas Day), he chose to continue his employment with old Scrooge. Besides, if British society was so concerned for the likes of Cratchit, it should have supported workers’ rights with a living wage and healthcare for all. Oh, but that would have been those other Europeans.
Ebenezer was a good old job creator.
Miserly ≠ Misery—and money doesn’t make merry.
Ebenezer was indeed a miser, but somehow miserly equates to the misery he supposedly wreaked upon whomever and wherever he passed. I happen to know that he didn’t chase off those Christmas carolers because he didn’t want to put a half penny in the hat—it was late, Ebenezer had had a very stressful day at work, partly due to the news that Cratchit would want to take the following day with full pay. Ebenezer just wanted to eat in peace (too tired for seconds of that bread) and get some well-deserved sleep (little did he know uninvited
guests ghosts awaited him at home).
Really, it’s like that infernal, incessant ringing of the bell outside the market today—I’d gladly put money in the pot if I didn’t have to listen to that, but, as it is, I must cover my ears and make a mad dash for the auto. Besides, shouldn’t carolers carol simply to spread the message of Christmas and good cheer to all without begging people for the hard-earned cash around which they’d already pulled the purse strings as tightly as possible in these unstable economic times? Besides, they’re swiping the plastic at this point just to get that spoiled rotten little love to shut up about that must-have electronic gizmo.
Ebenezer knew a few things—miserly behavior, saving money for the betterment of the future, and the knowing that money doesn’t make merry is wise, indeed.
My friend, Ebenezer, was the wiser miser.
Minding your own business is good and proper.
Honestly, what ever happened to personal responsibility? My friend Ebenezer was the pillar of personal responsibility. He was an upstanding businessman, routinely heading home long into the evening hours, the last to leave the place of business just like any good employer (manager, supervisor, CEO, et al). He worked cooperatively with the same business partner since they were in their youths—how many people today can say they started and retired in the same job, moreover the same company? He was admired by his fellow businessmen, providing them with the role model for good business that we know today.
He truly believed that it was enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people’s. He paid taxes and supported the social services of the times. In fact, he supported social services so much that he was dismayed when two old codgers asked for cash donations, claiming the poor had no food or drink.
Not only did Scrooge mind his own business, he even tolerated people who didn’t mind theirs. When his nephew protested that his uncle didn’t keep Christmas at all, Scrooge simply stated, “Keep Christmas in your own way, and let me to keep it in mine.” Scrooge embodied the phrase to each his own.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Fezziwig retired—he kept loyal to the old ways and decided to close up shop, making way for the new-vested-interest ways. Competition drives down prices, and it sometimes drives down profits (or closes up shop).
Or does it, descendants of Sam Walton?
Meanness = Lack of Love and Kindness
If this happened to you, you wouldn’t know what love is either. First of all, Ebenezer’s mum up and dies the minute he’s born, his father blames him, and then his beloved sister follows suit and up and dies giving birth to his nephew. Mortality was a cosmic cruelty back then. Okay, I suppose it still is—but, even so, Ebenezer got more than his fair share.
Any pseudo-professional blogger will tell you that children who are abandoned, who aren’t loved, who finally trust in love and find only pain and sorrow, cannot possibly know love—they find bitterness where love might have dwelled, they build up defenses against the pain of it, they strike first, lest they be stricken by more love-stricken grief. They become what they know because the world has offered only this—this lack of love that creates, equates to meanness.
And just when he thought he’d found love, took a chance on it, trusted in it once more, that poverty pious Belle released (dumped) him simply because he worked hard to make money, money he would have spent on her happiness. Look around this Christmastime (ka-ching!)—love is all about what you buy someone and how much you spend on it. Some people just don’t get that.
My friend Ebenezer was a victim of circumstance, his situation. In fact, I’m quite proud of him—despite all this, he made something of his life, even by modern-day standards. It just took him a while.
But what is time in regard to a man’s soul?
Souls Redeemable at Any Time
All right, so Ebenezer was a geezer by the time he cashed in his redemption chips. But he redeemed them—he redeemed himself. And it’s never too late for the deliverance of redemption, right?
Besides, after a night full of nightmares starring self-pitying and -loathing Marley and those sidekick socialist ghosts, I would have wanted to give all the happiness in the world too. Wouldn’t you?
You see, all told, Ebenezer is a right jolly old soul.
Humbug, Mr. Darles Chickens!
What words would you write of my dear new friend, Ebenezer Scrooge, now?