I read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens today, for the first time. When I was a kid it seemed like every year there was a new television production of it that my family, TV whores that my siblings and I were, chose to watch despite the the seemingly equal parts creepiness and smarminess, “God Bless us, every one!” Playing a genuinely good and sympathetic character like Tiny Tim without going overboard on smarm is a delicate balance that most young actors can’t keep. All the ghosts and Scrooge’s comfortless house just scared me.
So I’ve never been interested in reading the book.
WHAT was I thinking?
What I love about Charles Dickens is that he has you at hello, but then goes on to make the big speech and takes it all the way to “You complete me.” He was such an amazing writer.
Here he is in the second paragraph,
“Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
Mind! I don’t mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country’s done for. You will therfore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.”
He had me.