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Going old school on television Christmas specials

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By Robert Villanueva

Bumbles bounce.

If you recognize, and even smile at, that phrase, welcome. You probably are one of us.

Yeah, you know who we are: members of that group of individuals who look for those Rankin/ Bass Christmas specials each year. We seek not only the well-known Rankin-Bass Christmas specials — like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” — but we also might enjoy the occasional show that wasn’t as well-known, such as “The Year Without a Santa Claus.”

We might watch “Frosty the Snowman” or “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” We sing along with mice when we watch “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Really.

We’re here to support your old school Christmas special habit.

The first step is admitting you’re a fan.

If you’re not sure, ask yourself if you randomly sing the Heat Miser/ Freeze Miser song or if the tune to “We’re a Couple of Misfits” spontaneously plays in your head this time of year.

If so, you might have O.S.C.S.S. (Old School Christmas Special Syndrome).

If the phrase “It’s a difficult responsibility” is followed in your head by more lyrics and music, you might have O.S.C.S.S.

If you set your DVR to record “The Little Drummer Boy,” or if you even own the DVD, you might have O.S.C.S.S.

From what I understand, there is no cure.

In fact, some research indicates O.S.C.S.S. might be hereditary, handed down from generation to generation.

O.S.C.S.S. is not limited to Rankin/Bass productions, either.

If you know the answer to “given the choice between you and a seasick crocodile,” you might have O.S.C.S.S.

If you’ve ever sung “Fah who for-aze! Dah who dor-aze!” or carved “the roast beast,” you might have O.S.C.S.S.

If you’ve ever done the Charlie Brown Christmas dance, which can involve any of a number of dance moves, you might have O.S.C.S.S.

The condition had it roots in the late ’60s and early ’70s, when such holiday specials became regular TV fare. Sure, there were some, shall we say, less successful Christmas specials during that time frame — I count “Rudolph’s Shiny New Year” and “Frosty Returns” among those — but the ones that were good were ones I truly enjoyed.

One of the telling symptoms is that I can’t find much enjoyment in recent Christmas specials. Not much effort seems to go into them, with few exceptions.

So, yeah, I’ve got O.S.C.S.S.

And if you recognized yourself somewhere in these lines, you just might have it, too.

Cases range from mild to severe. A mild case might involve enjoying the select old school Christmas special, while a severe case might mean you rarely watch any other Christmas special.

Don’t be alarmed.

O.S.C.S.S. is not terminal. And generally it is not contagious, though it can be, in certain cases.

Many of your own friends, neighbors and even family members might have O.S.C.S.S., and you might not even know it.

It is known as “The Invisible Habit,” though sometimes it arrives with symptoms, such as Charlie Brown dancing or singing in a deep bass voice about how mean the Grinch is.

At any rate, it is generally harmless, but those who have it must often find support from each other. In many cases, those with O.S.C.S.S. face discrimination and outright animosity.

But as someone with O.S.C.S.S., I will not deny my condition. Someday maybe all non-O.S.C.S.S. people will be accepting.

My fellow O.S.C.S.S. carriers will understand when I say:

Even a miracle needs a hand.

There’s always tomorrow.

Happy Birthday!

Robert Villanueva can be reached at (270) 505-1743 or rvillanueva@thenewsenterprise.com.