It must be time for a tirade. I haven’t gone off on a wild ass hare brained tangent in some time now and frankly I think I am overdue. Given all that’s going on in the world it is shocking I haven’t been on a grand profanity laced vile spewing tirade long before now. We have the fiscal cliff with the whole world hanging on to see if a compromise is reached. We have Pravda calling US communists. There is Joe Flacco playing like an elite QB-in an all-girls school in the northern reaches of Maine. We have every asshole in the world opining on shit they know nothing about on the news networks.Every day you have to listen to alleged financial professionals talk about Apple like it’s the keys to the goddamn kingdom of wealth. The only people dumber than our President are in the House and the Senate. Maryland is going to the Big Ten even though they can’t even win in the ACC. It is a 12 hour drive from Louisville to the Atlantic Ocean but they are joining the Atlantic Coast Conference. You look around at the world and it’s hard not to think the Mayans may have been a bunch of cockeyed fucking optimists.
There are lots of good causes and subjects for a righteous tirade but I am going to kick off with Christmas. What have you fucking sinister bastards done with Christmas? I used to love Christmas. I would turn into a happy, happy ho-ho-ho motherfucker around Christmas time. Christmas always kicked off right after the Army Navy game on the first Saturday of December. I can even put up with those who think it should start Thanksgiving weekend. But it is absolutely ridiculous to be picking fake pine boughs out of my nostril while trying to pick up a teenage mutant ninja Barbie cat costume for the kid two weeks before Halloween. I can put up with the Salvation Army bell ringers in December but if I see you before the Thanksgiving turkey is thawed or the point spreads for that days games have been posted I am going to stuff your head in your damn kettle and play a rousing chorus of Ina Godda Da Vida. If I have to stumble over the Johnny Walker holiday gift sets to pick up some hooch for Labor Day it’s not a good thing. Christmas starts in December not mid fucking summer.
I get the whole idea of Christmas. The date has nothing to do with the actual birth of Christ but was designed by the men in pointy hats to replace Saturnalia and other Pagan Winter solstice festivities in order to retain converts. Not sure it was necessary since most of them were converted under pain of death but I guess the early Church fathers threw the pagans a bone. Most of the culture of the time had a winter festival as the work in the fields had come to a halt and it was kind of a last bash before the harsh winter set in. Booze, ribald behavior, grand feasts and just general good old we are about to freeze our asses off and will be lucky not to starve kind of shindig. To preserve the party the birth of Christ was switched to December and many of the old traditions were assimilated. I get it. To keep the coffers full you have to keep the parishioners happy and they wanted a party in early Winter so let’s give them a big one. What’s bigger than Gods Birthday?
But that's not enough. Now we have to go back and turn a couple of the old Gods into Santa Claus. What better way to celebrate the birth of the savior than inventing lies to tell the children about a jolly old fat man who brings all the kids presents. Let’s throw in some elves and flying reindeer to make it more believable for the little tykes. Don't let them think their parents loved them enough to scrimp and saved to give them gifts to celebrate the day. Let them think that the magic fat man dropped them off for free. In order to be sure they grow up well rounded let’s spend the first seven years of their lives hard selling them myths of magic fat men and bunny rabbits dropping off gifts to honor the birth and murder of their god and then tell them the savage truth and shatter all their illusions when they are 8 or so. That sounds like a grand idea doesn’t it?
Still in spite of all the basic madness I can get into a little Christmas. Deck the halls, exchange some gifts, break out the good wine, cook a giant ass turkey and put some Sinatra Christmas tunes on the boom box. We have had some mad Christmas celebrations around Chez Melvin. I am sure we will have many more but I am not participating in this mad circus that passes for Christmas these days.
I am a dyed in the wool capitalist and for years I have passed off the grumblings about the commercialization of the holiday as demented mutterings of left wing religious whackos. But mother of god this is out of hand. Wal Mart opens for Christmas shopping before Aunt Ethel has passed out from cheap gin or fat ass Cousin Leroy has consumed an entire pumpkin pie at halftime. People actually camp out to buy television sets and laptops and other life changing devices. Of course if they had just gone to work all week instead of eating grilled hot dogs in a Best Buy parking lot they might not need the discounted price as badly. They have riots at Toy Stores to buy some piece of crap toy that will be broken before the sun sets Christmas day.
I thought it would be safe to watch TV once the election was over but we kicked right into Christmas shopping commercials. YOU! SHOP NOW! BUY THIS CRAP! WE ARE PLAYING CHRISTMAS SONGS WITH THE WORDS CHANGED TO PROMOTE OUR SHITTY PRODUCTS! YOU MUST BUY THEM FOR PEOPLE YOU DO NOT EVEN LIKE VERY MUCH! NOW! BUY THEM NOW.
If you aren't in the mall you must hate God and be against peace on Earth you evil bastard. This is insane.
If you aren't in the mall you must hate God and be against peace on Earth you evil bastard. This is insane.
Consider this. The US economy is 70% consumer related in nature. Something like one third of all retail activity takes place in the fourth quarter of the year. More than 20% of the US economy can trace its roots directly to a pagan orgy to celebrate the fact they stood a good chance of dying before spring and they all wanted to get drunk and laid before they died. Think back over the past few years and tell me how many of those Christmas presents you still actually possess or would have purchased for yourself in the first damn place? We go on a spending binge to celebrate the birth of a man who preached love one another and help the poor. We actually let our children grow up thinking they must be rotten little shits because Santa didn't break in and leave as many presents at their house as they did the rich kids across town. Retail has built the birth of God, a drug addled fat man in a red suit who sees flying reindeer and talks to toy building elves along with a pagan orgy into an excuse to go into debt to buy shit for people we don’t like and that they will never use because it shows our belief in good will for men. The scary part is not that they would try to sell us that crap. That’s their job. The scary part is that we buy into it.
I am not anti-Christmas. We should all have Christmas. We should gather our family, friends, and people we love together on Christmas Eve and celebrate. Play the Christmas music (an aside. I love Christmas music even the pop stuff. But please if you are a death metal or rap group resist the urge to cut a holiday record. “ Gonna kill dat bitch ho in da santa hat” and “death to the mothfuckin cop on Christmas eve “is not in the spirit of the season), roast the bird, pour the wine. Give each other gifts but make them mean something like good books or great music. Spoil the little ones the next morning if you are able but for godsakes let’s focus on something besides this shopping gives meaning and purpose to life crap. Let’s take a step back and actually enjoy the holiday instead of obsessing on whether we got the right gift for the kid in the mail room who routinely reads your issue of the Wall Street Journal while taking a dump before delivering it every day.
Fuck all these meaningless mandatory gifts. Give a homeless guy a sandwich. Or better yet a blanket and fifth of Jack. Find some young mother with three kids struggling to do the right thing and take her family a months’ worth of food and books for the kids. If you live in a college town find those kids who couldn't go home for the holidays and throw a dinner party. Randomly pass out some money to harried looking strangers with sad looks in their eyes. Donate some books to the library. Pick up a soldiers tab in the airport bar. Get an old dog at the rescue shelter and take it home to have a peaceful old age while making a decent donation to the shelter. Give some cool little gifts to people you love and throw a few bucks in the direction of those who need a hand in this world. Makes more sense than a Simpson’s themed cocktail set for some cousin’s kid you have haven’t seen in a decade.
Take the time you would have spent shopping and volunteer to teach a literacy class. Take your kid fishing. Go for a walk with your wife. Put Coltrane on with headphones and crank that shit up loud. Read a book. Make love to your wife under the tree (there maybe an age limit on this. You really don't want to get found there in the morning because your trick knee kicked in and her arthritis is acting up). Take your kids to a ball game or a concert. Teach your son to throw a spiral. Call an old friend and swap stories and lies for a while.
They sell us the idea that Christmas can be magic if we just spend enough. Quit buying that shit. Christmas can be magic if you spend the day doing things you enjoy with people you love. Take the pressure out of the holidays and make it about love and family. Make it about heavy drinking and wild sex. Make it about an NBA game and a good book on a lazy day. Make it about anything but this mad rush to spend on shit no one needs or really wants. Lose the intense pressure for it to be some magical religious experience with snow flakes and wrapping paper. Make the magic your way.
Me? I'm gonna mix it up. I’m going to spend it with people I love having a big ass feast. I will drink excessive amounts of wine and invite friends and neighbors stop by for Christmas cocktails. The kids are flying in for the week. We put a ban on presents for the adults and will spend it at the bar and the bookstore as it should be. If my knee works, my arthritis doesn't kick up, the little one goes to bed early and my wife doesn’t kill me in my sleep maybe we can have some wild Christmas sex. Christmas day when the madness subsides I will try to hang out the couch and watch a movie or read a book until the kids get their hung over asses out of bed and the madness starts again. There will be magic of our own making that has nothing to do with fat men in red suits or the churches desire not to lose its pagan converts over the winter. It will be the magic of family and friends, of love and kisses, of wine and laughter, of life and being alive not of the malls bottom line. It will be Christmas, Melvin Style.