In the era of the reset button, everybody loves a do-over, especially baby boomers, who can turn to spas, smoothies, surgeons and Spanx to keep reliving their eternal youth.
And no boomer loves a mulligan better than that Yuletide gremlin, the Grinch.
Born fully grown in Dr. Seuss’ book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” in 1957, then given a new animated life by Chuck Jones in 1966 (there was a Jim Carrey movie version in 2000, but we’ll leave that one unwrapped under the tree), everybody’s favorite holiday crank has been terrorizing the sweet Whos of Whoville since the Cold War and shows no signs of slowing down now.
In all that time, two things have never changed about the Grinch: He starts out mad, then he gets glad. What happens in the middle is Christmas, which even old Grinchy-claws decries as an overcommercialized holiday, full of clanging bells and crashing cymbals.
After stealing all the Whos’ tinsel and treats, intending to tip it all over a mountaintop, the Grinch waits for the wailing and gnashing of teeth at dawn. Instead he sees a Christmas star light up the little town of Whoville, over which wafts a heavenly song emanating from happy Whos holding hands, with nothing to their names but one another.
Puzzled, cold-footed and shocked, the Grinch suddenly realizes that pure love from above is the reason for the season, causing his pinched heart and puny strength to grow to miraculous dimensions.
Luckily for the Grinch, he saves the load and gets the ultimate Christmas do-over, learning that the only thing better than being visited by Santa is becoming Santa.
The Whos, being Whos, forgive the thief in the night and welcome him to their table, where he carves a roast beast of indeterminate species.
Welcome Christmas, Christmas Day.
Birthplace: Dr. Seuss’ brain, 1957, probably in La Jolla, Calif.
Print cred: Random House book and Redbook magazine (1957)
TV cred: “Halloween Is Grinch Night” (1977), “The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat” (1982), “The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss” (1996), “Glee: A Very Glee Christmas” (2010)
Movie cred: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (live action, 2000)
Video game cred: “The Grinch” (PC/other, 2000); Nintendo DS game “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (2007)
Stage cred: A musical theater version had a limited Broadway run in 2006, with Patrick Page as the Grinch.
Favorite books: Chapter 2 of the Biblical Gospel of Luke, which contains the Nativity story; “Sewing for Dummies,” by Jan Saunders Maresh, so he could whip up the Santa costume really fast; and “Mush! Revised: A Beginner’s Manual of Sled Dog Training,” by Charlene G. LaBelle, so he could get his dog Max and that load all the way up Mount Crumpit.
Favorite movies: Pre-Whoville: “Scrooged” (1988), because Bill Murray portrayed Ebenezer Scrooge as a really nasty piece of work – and it can always be shut off before the end; and “Bad Santa” (2003), for its truly degenerate portrayal of mall Santas. Post-Whoville: “The Search for Santa Paws” and “Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups,” because it’s all about a Claus and his dog(s).
Favorite music: Anything by Boris Karloff or Thurl Ravenscroft; all Christmas music, especially “Welcome Christmas (the Whoville Song)”; anything played on a great big Electro Who-Carnio Flook.