Wednesday, December 06, 2006


I'm drinking the eggnog

Something a little more serious, though I hope not too much. I have to say a few unpleasant things, but bear with me, I'm going someplace good in the end.

If you know me at all, then for many years now you've probably had to endure my December funk, the annual black rage that sets in around august and lasts until New Years Eve, when only alcohol is powerful enough to kill it. Simply put, I got me some issues with Christmas.

A big part of it is, simply, that I've had some shitty Christmases. The worst, with a bullet, was 1992 when my family's griping over Clinton's recent election quickly mushroomed into a five-way screaming match that led directly to my storming out the door, and not coming back until I'd found myself a new place to live.

But that's just the star on top of my tree of Christmas grievances. On a personal level, there's the years of working shitty jobs that only get shittier with the season, giving me lots of overtime money but no time to buy presents with it. On a wider level, there's just the fact that this time of year encourages, nay, rewards behavior that I find abhorrent.

Good taste and restraint are not only forgotten, they're actually considered bad things. Hey, put on this sweatshirt with an airbrushed kitten wearing a Santa hat! Then let's put some NASCAR ornaments on the twenty-foot tall tree! Put enough lights on the house to be seen from space! You got some space on the lawn, why not get an inflatable snowglobe with a snowman fellating Santa! Then we'll put some tinsel on the Hummer and listen to Kelly Clarkson sing Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer as we go see Tim Allen as MC Scrooge getting taught a lesson by Ice Cube in the hip-hop musical A Chrizzle Carol!

As you can see, hating Christmas is not something to do lightly; you have to be committed, especially if you're gonna keep from disemboweling everyone who calls you a "scrooge" or a "grinch," and get indignant with you for the heinous crime of just wanting to be left alone. Do what you want, I tell them, but, y'know, I'm behind on my bills, and work is really busy, and I'm just not interested, okay? No, you have to join us! If you don't put on the Santa hat the terrorists win! Drink the eggnog!

Thing is, though...I love eggnog.

You know what I always think of, this time of year? A Charlie Brown Christmas. That comes on, and suddenly I'm six, watching the old "CBS Special" bumper, with the word SPECIAL spinning towards you, backed by that bossanova beat, and all those Dolly Madison commercials you never saw any other time of year. It didn't even matter that you couldn't get Dolly Madison snacks here, the point was that when you saw A Charlie Brown Christmas that meant that CHRISTMASTIME IS HERE. It says so right in the first song! I watch it to this day, and goddammit, I get squishy when he hangs that first ornament and makes the tree droop.

I love those Rankin-Bass specials, with the crappy stop-motion and Paul Frees doing every other voice. I love the streets where the trees are full of white lights, casting a soft glow and creating the illusion that things are all right. I love the quality the air takes on, when it's snappy-cold but clear.

I always rail about how the stores start bringing in the Christmas stuff around august, before school's even started. This year was no exception, but I started realizing that my anger didn't run as deep this time. I was merely venting about an annoyance, rather than making a declaration of principle.

As Christmas tree lots started popping up (a couple of weeks before Halloween), I found myself eyeing the goods, picturing how various ones would look in the apartment, what kinds of decorations would look best...I found myself getting alarmed.

I've been rolling this over and over in my head, and there are certain truths that cannot be ignored. I've got a good job, the best job I've ever had in my life. I'm back home, around all my friends, and I'm here with the woman who I love, and who makes me realize that I deserve to be loved.

There's no getting around the disturbing truth. I'm happy. This is a new thing to me.

Even more disturbing, I'm fully on board with Christmas this year. Like, not just tolerating it, I'm actively looking forward to it. I'm getting squishy right now just at the thought of watching White Christmas with Shelly's family.

I'm drinking the eggnog.

More to come.
Copyright 2006 Rich Bowen

i know i am not alone when i say "YAY!" and it is really about time that You were happy...You deserve it.
i love You
you now have the strength of 10 two.
It is odd how the level of life's challenges can weigh so heavy on how we respond to holidays.

We are having a struggle because our cars have had to get worked on. Costing a small fortune and perhaps even a visit to Utah to see the fam.

But at the same time, having good friends and family around that really show love and support makes it a little easier to enjoy things. Even if we will be having a different Christmas than originally planned.

Well, also, we love the snot out of you and Shellswick (no relation), so we are glad to not have to trek up to the great white north to show it.

Speaking of which, I am reading and enjoying 'I hate Canada'.

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