Merry Christmas and Pass Me the Jim Beam

If you were wondering just who would issue this year's Most Depressing Christmas-Related Press Release, we have your answer: The fine folks at FEMA .

In a brilliantly understated few sentences, a script for radio public-service announcements succeeds in making us want to slit our wrists, and we didn't even get hit by Rita or Katrina.

"Spending the holidays in a FEMA travel trailer?" The ad opens brightly. And really — what says "holidays" more than "FEMA travel trailer"?

But the prospect of a joyous holiday in a cramped single-wide that's your home while you wait for a sclerotic bureaucracy to function is not, as hard as it may be to believe, all candy canes and lollipops. As the ad continues: "Don't let one disaster become another. Check your home for fire hazards. Buy fire-retardant decorations and keep them away from sources of heat. Avoid using candles..."

Sweet weeping Jaysus, they may as well just require you to serve a Swanson's Hungry-Man dinner, a Ding-Dong and a bottle of rotgut booze.

No worries, though. FEMA manages to wrap things up with a cheery exclamation point: "Have a fire-safe holiday season!"

We'll try, man. — Rich Connelly

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