Bears hibernate all winter long, snug and safe from the outside world. Bears are lucky bastards.
I do not sleep all winter long. I am not snug and safe. I have to put up with Christmas.
It is a bloated, greasy, greedy and unholy holiday too obnoxious to confine itself to one or even 12 days. It arrives before Thanksgiving and lasts over a month – a red-and-green vulture pecking out eyes and rasping jingle-goddamned-bells. The lights go up in shop windows and hardly a street corner is free of some rum-pot in a Santa suit who may well be fat but is about as jolly as a Hell’s Angel asking for a loan.
What does that rumpled wino St. Nick have in the sack over his shoulder besides 12 elves dead from sweatshop labor? Burnt turkey, lumpy mashed potatoes, stilted conversation, and a belligerent uncle jabbering about the rifles he has stashed in case some queer commie from the A.T.F. decides the messiah can’t have hand grenades. That is, if you’re lucky enough to have a big crowd for the holiday.
This holiday prays on the lonely like no other. Calendar-mandated happiness just doesn’t exist. Every year, the suicide numbers peak during the holidays, as does public drunkenness, although some of that vomiting can simply be chalked-up to the taste of eggnog.
But Christmas is not our fault.
A nasty pack of commercial hyenas stuff Christmas down our throats before anything is stuffed down the Thanksgiving turkey’s. If it were not for the omnipresent drone of schmaltz pussed out by Disney, Radio Shack and rock hawkers like DeBeers, the gawdawful holiday would die of public hatred. If Christmas is something more than a craven attempt to sell third-rate electronics and drive people into debt, why do peddlers have to sell the idea every year?
Every commercial you see reminding you that “it’s that magical time of the year” is your enemy, every caroler is a liar and “It’s A Wonderful Life” would have worked even better if it took place on George Bailey’s birthday. I say revolt. Set fire to the tinsel chains, turn off the television and refuse to read “A Christmas Carol” past the part where Scrooge berates that prole Bob Crachit.
You could also not buy so much crap. Animals do not need festive little sweaters, tree ornaments have shorter half-lives than seaborgium, and an angry mob will track you with hounds, bludgeon you and flay your carcass if you buy an album with “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” on it.
You could even lay off the gifts a little. Coworkers and acquaintances could probably use a kind word more than a “Hang in there!” kitty mug. Your friends and family could probably be best treated by an evening of drinks and good food.
This is not to say I will be giving my friends and family anything so cheap and transparent as mere affection and pleasant time. No, no, I will buy gifts. I will let the other lemmings trample me off the cliff. I love my parents, I love my friends and I would sacrifice anything for them, and now is the time of year when the man in the shiny picture box tells me to do so.
I do like Christmas for one day every year: December 26th, the day I spend with my dad. On those gray mornings we wake, and we go downstairs to look at the tree. And then we take it down and chop it up with a chainsaw. Slowly, we feed it into the fireplace. We sit back, drink brandy, tell bad jokes and breathe pine smoke, safe in the knowledge it will be 364 days before that unwelcome, glutinous guest barges in on us again.
Brendan Buhler is a Daily Nexus assistant campus editor and his column, “Black Box,” appears whenever the elves are finished with the inside of his head. However, a reindeer gored him at a young age and while flesh and bone mend, some scars never heal.