I’ve never liked the holidays at all but I loathe them now more than ever. And it’s not as if I’m some militant Volcano worshipper angry at the fact that Jesus’ birthday is a public holiday either. I’ve just never been a fan because the holidays usually have meant, for me at least, trips to awkward family gatherings. Most years my family would make a pilgrimage to a soiree produced by a pretentious and condescending red buffalo in an abode off Canon Perdido.

This meant encountering a cavalcade of obscure non-relatives who also happened to be celebrating at the same locale. Running into these characters was as traditional as the CBS Frosty the Snowman special.

There was Jiminy who would always put on a slideshow about his recurring trips to Nauru.

And Rodger, a stocky, aloof type who would annually enthrall the crowd with tales of gambling trips to Elko. His demeanor suggested he’d been permastoned on Quaaludes since the Johnson administration; his face looked as if it were composed of White Castle hamburger patties, his pompadour caked by mountainous gobs of grease; all cobbled together to resemble a sun-dried version of Lenin’s corpse.

And Maggie, she of the strong, silent androgynous type, the offspring of a cackling hyena and a Canadian janitor.

There was also always what resembled a revolving door Model United Nations of hipsters, wannabe jocks, failed record executives, roid-ragin’ MMA washouts, and rowdy, Black Country leprechauns. Too numerous, too fleeting to name.

One year, I broke tradition and went to a relative’s house in a far corner of rural Montana where I encountered a mob of Rummy-playing troglodytes who had consumed too much Animal beer. My lasting memory of that particular solstice was a drunken yahoo starting an impromptu fireworks show, the other sauced revelers whooping it up, cheering him on. In the midst of this drunken sky-show, he managed to knock the tube over that was firing the blazing bulbs into the sky, sending a bright mortar exploding mere inches from my head.

The best Christmas I ever had was barhopping around Santa Cruz with a couple of miscreant pals of mine one year when I was nearly broke; I ended up sleeping overnight in a gas station parking lot. It was the essence of the “holiday spirit”; quality experiences with close friends.

I feel the meaning of the Holidays has been adulterated in recent years. In fact, I think Santa set up shop in La Cumbre Plaza this year the day after the Back-to-School sale ended.

This time of the year no longer comes to mean a time of togetherness and of too much eggnog. No, anymore it’s all about buying, with no iota of care given to seeing loved ones or even having depraved reunions with obscure souls.

Just the other day I saw a vivacious, intensely wild-eyed girl of about 10 ranting to her youthful and attractive but increasingly disinterested mother her thoughts on the Christmas holiday. I didn’t get the entire gist of her views, but they sounded a bit like “Money! Buy! Buy! Presents? Presents! Buy! Buy! Buy!” And it’s not just this Jr. Wall Streeter; I’ve seen countless others maintaining a similar view, from twenty-something airheads mindlessly rambling in vain at their permatanned, plastic-looking, phone-stoned mothers, to middle-aged balding men leaning on their leased Porsches, bragging to their broods of batchildren about the new Titleist their old lady is getting them.

Stores are now opening on Thanksgiving Day. And it’s getting crazy out there. A near-stampede occurred at the Paseo Victoria’s Secret, perpetrated by patrons who resembled greedy, bucket-trapped crustaceans clawing over and suffocating one another in a violent lust for cheap panties.

Will stores in coming years start offering to host holiday gatherings at their outlets, promising priority access to all the sales?

Probably. But I won’t be there. I’ll still be driving around trying to find someone with a slideshow about their sojourn to the Peshawar Smuggler’s Bazaar.


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