Festivus For the Rest of Us: Part I


It’s The Most Magical Time of The Year


Ah, December. What a magical time. Frost in the air, cookies in the oven, stockings hung on the mantle with care. It’s a time when families gather all around and set out as a pack to choose one tree that will serve as a reminder to the other trees not to get too cocky as we parade it through the streets atop our four-door, family vehicles before dragging it inside and decorating it’s withering body with sparkles and various other whimsical baubles. We prefer to put them in front of large windows so that its slow and drawn-out, but none the less beautiful, death tells passerby’s “Hey, hey look at all this shit we can pile on this thing. I know right? Keep it moving, plebeians”.

O Christmas Tree

O Christmas Tree

How much better does your slowly rotting carcass look in our house that it does from that

tacky whore, Debra’s?

Christmas begins exactly 3.14 seconds after the sinking feeling of regret over what they just did to their own bodies seeps into the very core of every man, woman, and child in the U.S.. That is the precise moment when every retail worker in America sacrifices a forgotten kid left under a rotating coat rack in preparation for the storm that is coming. No, it isn’t Black Friday. It’s the onslaught of Christmas music. I love Bing Crosby but for the love of God stop that. Stop that right now. Stop playing “White Christmas” every 30 minutes. Also I feel like I’m in the minority of people who don’t find Mariah Carey that wonderful. If I had wanted to hear the sirens of depressed dolphins I would have watched Blackfish when it popped up on my Netflix suggestions. I didn’t click on it so please stop trying to force feed it down my throat. I am not your baby bird, Walgreens. I simply came in for a replacement toothbrush and a bottle of your fancy pants Icelandic water, not to be assaulted by Hall & Oates while I’m still raw and vulnerable from that man in the gingerbread-man costume you’ve got out front ringy dingy dinging that bell in my face like he’s summoning the apocalypse.

Yes, I see you. Yes, I always give my change, but yes, I do have an enormously irrational fear of mascots, but let’s question that supposed irrationality. I can’t see their faces. Why are they hiding? What are they hiding? Who are they? You never know. They never caught the Zodiac Killer is all I’m saying. The same can be said for men in Santa suits.

This is season where we suddenly find that old man that always stares a little too long at the sliced roasted beef in the deli section capable of holding our children for an unspecified amount of time. We say to the guy that we saw not three weeks ago skinning an unrecognizable animal in the parking lot of the Walmart, “Hey, want to make my kid’s dreams come true?”

No. No stop that.

It’s nonsense and it is ludicrous.

It’s just really really weird.

At this point, someone’s probably already thought “Oh, you’re just being a Grinch”. Well, I reject your cliche Christmas insult and here’s why. I love the holidays and I always have. Winter is my favorite season because it makes everyone happy. The lights go up and for just a brief month it’s like no matter what happens the whole world is still celebrating something and it brings everyone together. Everyone spirits are lifted and you feel warm despite the fact that your pinky finger fell off a week ago from frostbite because your amazon shipment of gloves didn’t show up on time. You should have gotten a prime membership, but during the holidays none of that matters because you’re just so darn elated that it’s “that time of year” that you could lose a whole arm for all you care as long as those lights stay twinkling. Everything shines during the holidays. Everyone works to make things just a little nicer. My life has always seemed to be so much smoother during the holidays.

Until this year.


On the First Day of Christmas I Lost My Sanity


It had been 3 years since I had last seen the back of that abnormally large head. I would have recognized it anywhere. As he turned around, the corridors of the university dissolved into a strategic map of emergency exits and escape routes. I made an evasive maneuver so swift and precise that that the air force would be in awe into a narrow hallway. My legs were suddenly as lithe as running water as I slipped through a crowd of students that were exiting a classroom. The fear of being recognized had turned me into a weapon of stealth. I could have stolen the Crown Jewels on the massive avoidance high that was currently pulsing through my veins. The overgrown potted trees that lined the walkway tugged at my hair with their whispery branches. It was always my hair! I grabbed the offending pieces and tugged them free. I ducked under the boughs and continued on my way, pulling bits of twigs and plastic tinsel out of what was once a good hair day.

What was that? A candy cane? I groaned and unstuck the sticky candy out of my hair and tossed it into another potted tree. Come on.

Who was I running from? Probably a murderer, right? I mean, surely that’s the only explanation to why anyone in their right mind would be sprinting to their class through the unused service corridors of the building like some kind of lady of the night.

 Nope. I was running from Ryan Hughes.

 Ryan Hughes, my ex from high school. Ryan Hughes, the guy who had made my senior year of high school a living Hell. Ryan Hughes that had followed me through the hallways with a small posse of his friends and used his extremely poor whispering skills to mock everything and anything about me. I had never once turned around when Ryan Hughes and his merry band of idiots went on and on about all the things that I had supposedly done for him. With pitchforks made of un-witty jabs at fictional occurrences and torches fueled by the low-hanging fruit of my sub-par appearance, his mob had shadowed me where ever I went and reeked of what can only be described as a fine cocktail of Axe body spray and Eau du “Peaked-In-High-School”. How he even managed to get into college was a mystery to me.

I was going to have to cut a bitch. That’s it. On Animal Planet I once saw that you could deter a shark by punching it on its snout. Maybe a strategic ambush with a tube sock full of combination locks would be enough to drive him out of my territory and send him back to the depths of Hell from which he came. Maybe I’ve been watching too much Orange is the New Black and have started adopting prison rules.

Could I have simply been an adult and just continued on my normal path like a rational human being? Of course not! This is Ryan Hughes and quite frankly I hope that abnormally large head gets such a bad case of early-onset male pattern baldness that he ends up looking like a freshly hatched pigeon baby before the age of 21. He was at least top three in my list of nemeses. He was right behind the person who tickled me until I peed myself at my ninth birthday and that elderly saleswoman at the world’s largest Buc-ee’s that followed me around for two hours because she thought I was stealing after she caught me taking nautical themed selfies in the floppy hat section. It wasn’t as act of thievery, you old pile of osteoporosis held together with coupons and a tube of denture adhesive! It was an act of whimsy!

I ducked into my next class and took my seat. Great. Now this place was tainted too. Of all my exes, Ryan Hughes would be the one I would most like to never see again but choosing between any of them was like choosing which rusty nail you’d step on in the night. They were all pretty much shite. I’m sure Freud could have a field day with the reasoning behind why that kept on like a broken record.

I flipped my backpack open and pulled out my laptop.

Stupid Ryan Hughes and his stupid giant head.

What was he hiding in that head? Had his ego actually inflated his head like the legends of myth? Was he part of a long line of bobble-headed people that gave birth to the saying “don’t get a big head because then everyone will think you’re an asshole because they’ll associate you with those Ryan Hughes fellas”. Maybe it was filled with gum balls. Perhaps it was even filled with the wishes of children made upon the Christmas Star. Who the hell knows? Maybe he was a mascot. It totally went with my whole theory of those acts of menace.

I was too busy furiously clicking at the endless amount of folders, trying to find my notes to notice the horror of what was unfolding beside me.


To Be Continued


Happy Holidays from M.S.O.L.!

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