After the maelstrom that was NaNoWriMo, I believe it’s time for a personal post. Those can be tricky. [Apparently?] I see so many people who wear a kind of online ambiguity mask or something. You know, they Tweet about ‘the man’ or ‘the kid’ or create aliases for their family members. I read blogs where the home location is left intentionally vague—like the author is in the Witness Protection Program or something.
I assume this is for protection? Or privacy? Sure, there are stalkers and psychos hunting folks down, but come on. I have four words: too many Lifetime movies.
So, what shall I rant on / divulge today? Well, the holidays are here. That’s a pretty boring, overdone topic. Although, I could post a how-to video on creating your own 7′ store display Christmas tree using scrap wood, a nailgun & diluted acrylic paint. Eh, maybe just a picture:
Okay, here’s a conversation topic that is often broached around this time of year. My birthday is on December 25th. It’s pretty much a non-event nowadays, but as a kid, it totally sucked. Here’s why, as filtered through the mind of a little, bratty Lucas. [Who, at that time, was known as Benjie.]
1. Birthday presents wrapped in Santa paper are stupid. Return of the Jedi would be way cooler. Who wants a birthday present (unless it’s an awesome Transformer!) wrapped in the repeating image of some fat, bearded guy?
2. Pecan pies—with candles inserted—are poser birthday cakes. They’re not cake. They’re pie. My brother got his own, personalized cake in June. At the park. Not in Aunt Joyce’s old-lady-smelling sitting room.
3. Everybody gets presents. And a most of them are waaay better than the hokey birthday junk I got. Probably because you spent all your money buying fancy Christmas presents. We all get to open stuff. On this special day. My birthday. :: pout ::
4. Dual-purpose presents suck pinecones. “Now, Benjie, this is for both your birthday and Christmas.” Also, “3 pairs of the socks are for Christmas, and the other three are for your birthday.” Thanks, grandmama. I love striped tubesocks. :: big, fake hug ::
Yeah, I want to pop bratty Benjie in his mouth too. Of course, he was raised right [as the saying goes down in Pine Level, NC.] For the record, little Benjie never got mad at baby Jesus or anything; it wasn’t his fault. And sharing a birthday with, like, the Savior of the world was kind of special in its own way. [No, no. We won’t go into the actual pagan origins of the celebration date right now…]
As we get older, holidays become more about checklists and schedules and trying to please everyone. Overspending, stress, a strings of lights which stops working AFTER all the ornaments are on the tree, etc, etc. We get busy about juggling how to make it to all the different family members’ homes for the celebrations. Divorced parents make this harder. In-laws make it harder still. Divorced in-laws? That’s stab-me-with-a-reindeer-antler hard. [Because, you know, they’re not even pointy…]
While the bratty, selfish part of Benjie has [mostly] grown up, there is a facet of his personality that still lives all childlike and innocent inside me. Benjie was sentimental, nostalgic, willing to forget about the Christmas-Birthday heartbreaks and find the magical moments in the holiday.
I know, I know. Christmas Magic. So trite. Melodramatic. Pretty damn Lifetime movie in and of itself.
But it’s truly a characteristic of mine. I could try to wax poetic and express it in soft-lit, quiet snowfall terms. Instead, I’d like to reference a movie. You’ve all seen it. Probably quintillions of times. Most people love it, but I do know a few [idiots] who detest it.
A Christmas Story.
With Ralphie’s obsession for a Red Ryder, the evil Scut Farkus and his toadie: Grover Dill, flagpole licking, deranged Easter Bunny pajamas, the glow of electric sex gleaming in the window, and Randy laying there like a slug. How can anyone hate that flick?
It’s un-American. And downright blasphemous.
Beyond all the amplified, nostalgic imagery, there is a scene that speaks to the good, wholesome kernel of little Benjie inside me. It’s towards the end when Mom & Dad are chilling by the tree with their Christmas wine. It’s quiet. The snow is falling. The tree is glowing. All is well.
I look for those moments each Christmas. Those gentle moments make little Benjie—and adult Lucas—all squishy inside. During those times, there is no selfishness over pecan pies or tubesocks. There is just that serenity that nestles in if I allow it.
And I always let it in.
Well, I went to the Christmas Magic place in this post. That was unexpected, but I’m alright with it. But what would a good post be without a nice punch at the end?
How about a clip from the Chop Suey Palace Co?
Happy holidays. And may none of your presents be wrapped in birthday paper.