I really wanted to play a drinking game while reading Dickens’, A Christmas Carol. How many, “bah humbugs” could Ebenezer spout? Too many, let me tell you. But I must say, I find bah humbugs make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. This is a classic tale no matter the time of year. Scrooge has become an actual description in our lexicon. And we all know what someone means when they insist on calling someone else a, “Scrooge.” A term of endearment? HA! Maybe somewhat. I like to think of, “Scrooge,” as a tough cookie on the outside, but gooey on the inside. My dad is a, “Scrooge.”

I know the story well. Who doesn’t? One thing I don’t know much about is Dickens’ other works. I’ve never read anything besides, A Christmas Carol and A Tale of Two Cities. Slap me around if you must, but I’m just going to have to put him on the long list of authors I MUST read more of.  I enjoyed this story and not just because of its universal appeal. The writing style worked well for me. Sometimes (and perhaps this makes me sound daft) I have issues with classics. The vernacular, sentence structure…even metaphorical phrases can sometimes draw me out of the story. I have to re-read. To be fair, I find myself re-reading cotemporary stories at times, too. Still, I was pleasantly surprised by the ease of this book. Having knowledge of the story helped some, but even with that in the back of my mind, I let the story unfold as it was intended.

I’m also a sucker for horribly unlikable protagonists that learn the error in their ways. Ebenezer Scrooge has to be the literary character with the greatest learning curve. Nothing like a ghost or two and a glimpse into your bleak future to teach an old dog new tricks. At its root, A Christmas Carol is a cautionary tale and one that all of humanity can attest to. Time is subtle. It’s a silent killer really. We all live our lives rather ubiquitously, not stopping to assess every experience that shapes who we are or more importantly who we become.  Then it hits you one day: Who are you? How did you become who you are? Thankfully, not all of us need to be visited by ghosts in order to look at our reflections. But then again, there are those, “Marley’s,” out there how are chained to their inability to better their reflection.

Ultimately, Scrooge’s journey is uplifting. It’s never too late to change your outlook and behaviors. And if it weren’t for the ghosts there would be no motivation for Scrooge to want to change. Why change if there’s nothing holding you accountable after you die? The ghosts aren’t scary because they are ghosts, but because they represent, “life after death.”

No one wants chains weighing them down, in life or in death. They hurt, are noisy… they simply aren’t functional. We can all take heed from Ebenezer Scrooge!