Not Wishing You a Merry Christmas

Not Wishing You a Merry Christmas

I am not going to wish you a Merry Christmas. I am not going to wish you Happy Holidays, a Happy New Year, or even Happy Ass Slap from an Expensive Hooker. No matter what we say anymore, someone's out there to complain. So, I won't offer you Xmas cheer, a Happy Hanukkah,  Joyeux Noël, Feliz Navidad or a Happy Solstice. I wish you more than this. So much more. When someone says to you: Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. Have a nice Tuesday or a bitchin' Saturnalia, I wish you the clear-sightedness to see when another human is saying something just to be kind, affable & cheerful. I wish you enough common decency to choke down your pettiness, smile & respond in your own kind, affable & cheerful way. I hope you'll be reasonable enough to comprehend how one person phrases something shouldn't diminish your joy; that most battles never need to be fought & that being offended is a meaningless thing. I...
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The Misanthropic Heathens & the Quest for Christmas Magic

The Misanthropic Heathens & the Quest for Christmas Magic

“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.”  - Charles M. Schulz “What kind of Christmas present would Jesus ask Santa for?” - Salman Rushdie, Fury * When I was a tiny, brand-new person, I knew what it felt like to be overwhelmed by music, cookies & twinkling lights. I knew the absolute joy that can only come from a tiny, brand-new person's sense of wonder when presented with stories & images of magical elves, animals & places. I knew Christmas magic. It was nothing less than magic. Like any kid, I got excited about presents. But, wasn't the anticipation & surprise always more fun than the actual object wrapped up inside all of that pretty paper? I consider myself lucky that for the first few years of my life, I had grandparents who I always spent the holiday with & that they got more excited about Christmas than anyone I've ever met since. There was always an enormous tree, standing upon a big...
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There & Back Again, Part 3 – Screw Me in St. Louis

There & Back Again, Part 3 – Screw Me in St. Louis

When Olivier & I arrived at the Greyhound station in Erie, PA, we were giddy.  It was 3pm on Saturday, the day after Christmas.  We'd had a big pile of Arby's earlier that day, so I had gotten my fix after craving their delicious, cheddary slop for the past 2 years.  We were leaving behind the stress of a Festivus gone bad & were looking forward to a week at home in Colorado. We had our bus tickets, 200 lbs. of luggage & a box of chocolate donuts.  We were ready to voyage across the country for the next day & a half.  We would have to change buses several times, but still... it was only a day & a half. A day & a half.  No sweat. The first thing that we figured out was that there was no dicking around when it was time to board the bus.  If you're traveling with someone, it's next to impossible to find 2 seats...
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There & Back Again, Part 2 – Prickly Lodgings

There & Back Again, Part 2 – Prickly Lodgings

"Next to a circus there ain't nothing that packs up and tears out faster than the Christmas spirit."  -Kin Hubbard "Family love is messy, clinging, and of an annoying and repetitive pattern, like bad wallpaper." -Friedrich Nietzsche . I truly believe that tragedy can bring out the best in people... & that the holidays can bring out the worst.  Humans are fucked up like that.  In spite of everyone's best intentions, sometimes holiday gatherings get tense or chaotic.  No matter how hard you try, you may still end up feeling as though you've stepped out of reality & into one of those ridiculous Christmas movies where everything goes wrong. We arrived at our destination in rural PA a day late.  We got to see a few relatives - some that I had not seen in several years & that Olivier had never met.  We had a great time - in spite of my occasional fits of choking on mucous & bleeding from the...
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There & Back Again, Part 1 – Paris to Pennsylvania

There & Back Again, Part 1 – Paris to Pennsylvania

It's all quite blurry now, but what I remember of it all is full of various landscapes, faces & suitcases.  There was eating, drinking, merriment &... mucous. Fucking holiday travel.  It's always a lot of planning & stress, but we had a plan - a simple plan.  There was no way that it could fail. We had a direct flight from Paris to Pittsburgh, PA.  We would rent a car, then drive 3 hours to a tiny, rural town just outside the middle-of-freaking-nowhere.  After 1 week, we would board a Greyhound bus to Colorado.  Another week there & we would fly from Denver back to Paris. There were various parties, reunions & get-togethers planned in several different locations with dozens of people. Ok, so it wasn't really such a simple plan.  Maybe we'd hit a snag here or there; 1 or 2 little things could go wrong. Or... everything could go wrong. Olivier & I woke up at 4:30am on December 20th.  I stared at the...
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Greed is Disgusting.  Gluttony is Better.

Greed is Disgusting. Gluttony is Better.

"I do like Christmas on the whole.... In its clumsy way, it does approach Peace and Goodwill.  But it is clumsier every year." ~E.M. Forster It's finally over.  The shopping, the wrapping, the unwrapping...the over the river & through the woods.  Ugh.  Finally.  Over.  It's not that I don't like Christmas...it's just that Christmas, like a great many things, annoys the living shit out of me. It's a time of year that is filled with stress like no other.  Deadlines, travel plans, added expenses & the relatives that we've managed to avoid since last year.  But the greatest annoyance of all is that greed is more apparent during the holidays than at any other time of year.  At a time of year when many of us would like to be reminded of the beauty of the human spirit, I generally end up disgusted with it. People forget what's important about getting together for the holidays.  It's not about the giving or the receiving...
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