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Pop Culture Mystery of the Week – Was Clark Griswold Really in That Much Financial Trouble in Christmas Vacation?

INTERNAL MEMO

For Bookshelf Q. Battler’s 3.5 Readers’ Eyes Only

TO: Bookshelf Q. Battler, PCM Webmaster

FROM: Delilah K. Donnelly, Lead Counsel for the Bookshelf Battle and Pop Culture Mysteries Blogs

POP CULTURE MYSTERY: Was Clark Griswold Really in That Much Financial Trouble in Christmas Vacation?

Mr. Battler –

Delightful to be in touch this joyous yuletide season. Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase is a perennial holiday favorite season, especially for your 3.5 readers, who enjoy good humor but for some reason, visit your websites regardless.

In this classic, Mr. Griswold puts a deposit down on an in-ground swimming pool but fears he will find himself in financial ruin when it appears his Christmas bonus will not be coming through from his company.

Pardon my suspicions, but something is amiss, is it not? Was Mr. Griswold ever in that much danger with his finances?

Happy Holidays to You and a Splendid New Year,

Delilah K. Donnelly, Esq.

Merry Christmas to you to, Ms. Donnelly, and even though Jake hates my guts, wish him well for me just the same.

What a timely Pop Culture Mystery!

I love Christmas Vacation. I watch it every year. So many fantastic quotes:

  • “The shitter was full!”
  • “Can I drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?”
  • “Hey Griz, you’re not doing anything productive, go get my stogie!”
  • “Grace? She died thirty years ago…”

Tell me your favorite quote from this movie in the quotes. Meanwhile, I’ll carry on with the mystery Ms. Donnelly has laid out for me.

You remember the scene, don’t you?

Clark’s niece, little Ruby Sue, is sad. She fears she will get no presents because she didn’t get any the year before. Her drunk, dimwitted, unemployed war veteran with a plate in his head father has no money and the whole family lives in an RV.

So naturally, Clark whines that he’s going to be in deep doo doo because he put a $7,500 deposit down on an in ground swimming pool and if his Christmas bonus doesn’t come in, he won’t have enough money to cover the check he wrote.

Does that situation suck? Yes.

Could it cause him some financial woes?  Sure. The pool company will likely want the money anyway as a deal’s a deal. He doesn’t have the $7,500 handy in his account. There will be an overdraft fee. A debt collector will harass him until he coughs up $7,500 big ones.

But really…at worst, he’ll be out $7,500.  Is that a lot? Hell yes it is. I’ll bang my head up against the wall for hours if I ever lose $7,500.

Is it going to put Clark on the verge of bankruptcy?

Doubtful. Consider:

  • From the “kiss his ass, kiss my ass” scene we know Clark is a mid-level executive. There are some asses he must kiss and some people who must kiss his ass. So he makes a decent salary.
  • He owns a large suburban home, so grandiose in size that it fits his and his wife’s extended family.
  • He has money to burn on things like a hockey jersey, personalized with his name on the back.
  • He is able to buy presents for his kids and Eddie’s kids.
  • The extraordinary electric bill that must have come from all those lights on his house was never a concern for him.

All in all, Clark’s not rich, but he’s not suffering either. Losing $7,500 because his employer screwed him on a bonus caused him understandable agitation, but he’d bounce back from it.

At the end of the day, he’d probably have to take out a modest loan to pay the pool company the sum of the bounced check, then suffer with a hole in his back yard until he saves enough to have the pool actually installed.

Stop freaking out in front of your family, Clark.  Actually, don’t. It’s funny and your boss really was a sack of monkey sh$t.

Wheres the tylenol?

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