Okay, so it’s time to blog about Christmas I suppose. I don’t really feel like it. It doesn’t feel like Christmas. I think that’s the problem. Here’s why:


1) I’ve spent the last six weeks going out of my way to avoid Christmas carols on the radio, the television, in the stores. It’s impossible. You have to try though because if you don’t you will go insane before December even begins. I used to like Burl Ives’ song Holly Jolly Christmas, but that was before the radio put it on heavy rotation between Halloween and Christmas Day as if it were the National Anthem and every fifteen minutes a ballgame was starting.


My Christmas ‘party’ was here.

2) Last night was my work Holiday Party. My wife looked stunning in her dress. The in-laws were prepared to take the kids overnight. All that was left was for me to get dressed. Then the eight year old came home from school in tears and with an earache and a 101.9-degree temperature. Instead of the party, we spent the night at the Immediate care center, then in line at Walgreens getting coughed on by strangers. Instead of a pasta bar, fresh salmon, and free beer, I dined on some bland bowl of something from Chipotle, or as I like to call it, the place with $7 flavored rice.


3) I live in Chicago and it’s going to be 40 degrees tomorrow. They’re calling for rain on Christmas Eve, which should turn to snow. In other words, slush is going to fall from the sky. I’m dreaming of a slushy, sock soaking Christmas, just like the ones I used to know. The really pretty snow, the kind we associate with Christmas even though we rarely have it which is why Bing Crosby had to dream of it will come. We will get snow. We will get that pretty, heavy blanket of white, but you can bet it is going to fall after Christmas, just in time to bury the decorations my wife will want me to take down, now.


This is what kids who don’t believe in Santa Clause get for Christmas.

4) The kids are getting older. My eldest is in high school and what he wants is either high-tech, too expensive, or it’s clothing. The other two are at the point where the clothes and the toys are about even and Santa is something they either aren’t quite convinced of, or haven’t the heart to tell mom and dad that they don’t believe anymore. Once that magic is gone, the whole thing becomes something else entirely.

5) I won’t be spending all-night, and I mean all-night, putting together little flimsy plastic toys with instructions that would make the people at Ikea scratch their heads in their complexity. ‘This was supposed to be Barbie’s Dream house, why does it look like a Pepto-Bismol factory post-apocalypse?

6) Of course it doesn’t help that right now my house is a cluttered mess and the whole place smells like chili.


7)   It ain’t like it used to be. I don’t have to go into detail on that. If you grew up in the 1940’s, it ain’t like it was in the ‘40’s. If you were a child of the 80’s, it ain’t like it was back in the day. If your formative years were the 1990’s, it’s not like that anymore is it? Our place of reference might be different, but when I say ‘It ain’t like it used to be’, we all get it. We grew up and so did the world. What a shame, huh?


8) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Charlie Brown are On-Demand. It used to be that those shows were Specials, events to be watched all together at the same time, and only one time each year because once it was over, it was gone. If you missed it, you were shit-out-of-luck. Now you can watch them all day any day as many times as you’d like whenever, wherever, nothing special, no event, just another damn show to choose from of the thousands on that digital jukebox of television and movies. Play it again, Sam. No need for a quarter, just hit ‘enter’ on the remote.


9) I’m lucky. Sounds strange but, it’s a reason. So much of secular Christmas is wishing and getting. Well, there isn’t much I’m wishing to get. I mean, at least not material things. My wife and I make a decent enough living that if there is something we really and truly want, we buy it. So, there is no excitement for that gift I’ve been dying to get. Nor is there much excitement for the gift I can’t wait to give, because there is nothing special on her list either. ‘Let’s get through it without getting the flu’ seems to be at the top of the wish-list this year. Can’t circle that in the Sears catalog.

10)   I’m getting older. Shit, I’ve been through this rigamarole now forty-two times. This will be the forty-third. I have to admit, it’s losing some of its charm. I mean, I get it, Bing sings, we go to Mass, the presents get opened, I eat too much, I feel like shit, and tomorrow is depressing because it’s been weeks of anticipation, a flurry of momentary excitement, and then it’s over until next Halloween when Burl Ives starts singing A Holly Jolly Christmas.

27777393 Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Happy Halloween too I suppose, it’s all running together now.


Maybe this isn’t very unusual.  Maybe you’re like this too.  I’m pretty good in a crisis.  When something major goes wrong, I’m usually able to keep things together.   All it takes is simply taking a deep breath and doing what needs to be done without panic.   “Okay, everyone stop screaming and let’s just look for the finger.”  But…

But when it comes to the little things, the small annoyances of life, I go off the deep end.  “Can anyone explain to me why it’s so frigging’ difficult to replace a roll of toilet paper?”  This question often leads to a ten minute, profanity-laced diatribe on common courtesy, laziness, and responsibility.

“Are you kidding?  Why does this one shoe keep coming untied!!!  Shit!”

“Motherfuckin’ housefly!  Land you son-of-a-bitch!”

“Where are my glasses?”

“Who’s been stealing all my socks?”

“Where’re those damn keys?”

“Who took the scissors?”

“Where’s the fuckin’ remote?”

“Could you park closer to the line asshole?“

“AH! Why do I keep dropping stuff today?”

“Stop chewing in my goddamn ear!”

“You’ve got to be shitting me!  Are all the radio stations playing Kool and the Gang at the same fucking time?”

For some reason, the more insignificant something is, the more aggravated it makes me.  I’ve even gotten overly annoyed because I was yawning too often.  “Son-of-a-bitch, stop yawning!!!!”   But why?  Why when the whole world seems to be crumbling can I keep my cool, but when my cell phone drops a call I want to take a sledgehammer to it?

Here’s my thought:

Is it the short amount of time in a test that drives you nuts, or the ticking of the clock?  The ticking is worse because it is a constant reminder that the time is short and getting shorter and that you may not finish before it runs out.  Likewise, the small annoyances, the little things that go wrong are constant reminders that none of this is in our control.  That at any given time something can go wrong.  At any moment an obstacle can come out of nowhere to block the way to your goal, whether that goal is to get something out of cabinet without banging your funny-bone on the door, or if that goal is to live to be 90.

Those little things are the ticking of the clock that reminds us we’re spinning very fast in a volatile universe full of destructive forces and giant rocks.  At any given moment that proverbial piano can fall on your head and end it all  (or more likely a distracted driver, a stray bullet, or a gas leak).  I’m walking to the mailbox and trip over my shoelace, dammit!  Just a little reminder that it also could’ve been an out of control bus.

Of course maybe the answer is simply that it’s human nature to hate interruptions, blockades, and divergences.  I have a goal, read this text.  Can’t do it without my glasses.  Now I have a new goal: find my glasses.  This diverts me from my first goal, which was to read the text.  Ugh!  It’s annoying just thinking about it.

Whatever the reason why, the real question I suppose is what to do about it?  My guess is, I don’t exercise enough, don’t sleep enough, and don’t manage my time well.  It seems that when I have an outlet for my frustrations such as exercise, and am well rested after a good night’s sleep, and I’m not rushing around trying to get a lot done in too short amount of time, not only do little setbacks not annoy me as much, but they actually seem to occur less often.  And so, in order to live a happier, profanity-free life, I am consciously making an effort to get to the gym, regulate my sleep time, and manage my time better.  (So if you catch me taking a nap, I’m not being lazy, I am actively trying to save my life from a falling piano.) Of course that doesn’t change overnight.  So what do I do in the meantime?

One sage advised, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.  It is all small stuff”.  Exactly, and that’s the problem.  Now where is that fuckin’ remote!