Just in time (or not) for the holidays, I’m here to celebrate with that time-honored tradition of being a Scrooge, a Grinch, and an overall Grumpy-Pants. As the old saying goes, “It’s that special time of year when we can all gather around a dead tree in front of the fireplace and eat candy out of socks…” or something like that. Bah Humbug. Actually, I love Christmas. It’s my favorite time of the year. Except for days when I eat ice cream. Those are also my favorites. They’re all my favorites, but some are more my favorites. But these bim-baffled, befuddled blogs won’t write themselves.
Long Laborious Lines
There are lines for everything during the holiday season. Lines to check out at the store, lines to see Santa, drive-thru lines to see Christmas lights, lines to get into other lines leading to lines where no one knows. I feel like the majority of my time post-Thanksgiving, pre-New Year is spent standing in lines, avoiding lines, and trying to get out of lines. I’m in a line right now! Not really; but sorta.
Hot Chocolate in Hot Florida
There are approximately two temperatures for hot chocolate: 1) insanely scalding, esophageal cancer-causing hot, and 2) gross, mushy, lukewarm. It always sounds like a good idea, but it never ends well. My kids always want some, and then we just end up with all these cups of unconsumed cocoa because we all realize, “Hey, wait a minute, it’s 90+ degrees out right now! What am I doing drinking this lava mud?”
Don’t know what to get your loved ones for Christmas? Well, the department stores sure do have some ideas! How about some odd, random novelty items that no one ever thought they needed, nor would anyone ever buy for themselves. Here’s a box of two dozen different types of salami all for one person. There’s a 5-foot tin can of pickle-flavored popcorn. Oh, and now what about this lovely tie and belt rack shaped like a luscious mustache. Look, here’s a general rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t buy this for yourself, don’t waste money buying it for someone else. Just get them what everyone really wants: cash/gift cards. Oh, am I ruining the “fun” of Christmas? Oh, it’s not supposed to be practical? Well, don’t get offended when I donate that grenade-shaped coffee mug or throw away those sparkly, light-up Santa glasses.
Odd Number Pockets
This one doesn’t have to do with Christmas per se, but it has become a common gift. What is it with this trend of modern clothing having odd-numbered pockets? The absolute worst offenders are newer chino shorts that only have one pocket on the back right butt cheek. I can’t even find shorts anymore that have pockets for both cheeks. What about my left side? Why no love there? And I know maybe it sounds a little crazy, but when I see these shorts for sale I actually feel an intense raging inside and want to rip off every odd pocket in the store. Maybe I have some repressed trauma or unresolved symmetry issues. I don’t know. I just know I hate them, and I don’t understand them. Why oh why?
Large Public Gatherings
For the past couple of weeks, we’ve had Christmas school productions, dance recitals, pageants, church events, and other miscellaneous and ambiguously festive public gatherings. And after two years of quarantining, I can confidently say this: I really haven’t been missing out at all. In fact, I must have emotionally suppressed just how much I loathed large public gatherings until this December rolled around. Take this year’s recent dance recital which was clearly planned and produced by people who don’t have small children. The “performers” (starting at 2-3 years old) had to be there at 5:15 PM. The recital started at 6:00 PM. There was an intermission around 7:30 PM. The recital ended at… well, I don’t know when it ended because we left by around 9:00 PM. Keep in mind, our dancer only had two performances: one at the beginning of “Act 1,” and one in the middle of “Act 2.” Normally, bedtime is 7:45 PM. When were these kids supposed to eat, use the bathroom, or do anything else? I don’t know. And they had to sit with their class, and “supposedly” no one was allowed to leave early. There were nearly 40 musical dance numbers altogether and we were only there to see two! Beyond all that, whether it’s at the movie theater, school auditorium, or any other venue, I had totally forgotten how terrible large, indoor public gatherings were. I was experiencing some real phobias and anxiety as I listened to 400 people cough and sneeze to the rhythm of off-beat tiny, tap shoes. Plus, the whole arena just smelled like hot farts and discount department store perfume. And I thought to myself, “Is this what it means to be a human and live in community? I did not miss this. Can we go home now?”
Merry Christmas y’all. And a happy, smelly New Year.