Thursday, December 25, 2014

And so that was Christmas, and what did I do?

Remember that quote from Fight Club comparing Christmas trees to sex crime victims?

This song is judging me.
"Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" by John Lennon and Yoko Ono is one of those songs that has always gotten on my bad side. When I was a kid, I was just annoyed by the fact that it was draggy and sanctimonious and not in that bouncy, upbeat Frosty/Rudolph sweet spot I preferred. I tend not to like slow, serious, or sad songs about Christmas. Not now, not then.

In  my younger days, I wasn't even that keen on "Silent Night," a song I associated with the temporary and unwanted cessation of Yuletide cheer. "Silent Night" was something I had to sing in church, looking serious while pretending I wasn't thinking about what Transformers and Masters of the Universe toys I was (hopefully) going to get. (And let's be honest: the "round yon virgin" part is uncomfortable, right?) Though it wasn't actually a hymn, "Happy Xmas" had that same effect on me. That song is basically a radio station's way of saying, "Okay, stop having fun for the next few minutes and start thinking about poverty and injustice instead of gingerbread."

Nowadays, the John Lennon song bothers me for another reason. It's those goddamned judgmental opening lines: "And so this is Christmas/And what have you done?/Another year over/And a new one just begun." At a certain point in your life, you hear those lines and think, "Oh, jesus, what have I actually done this year? Pretty much two things: jack and shit. That song hates me." I mean, I went to work and paid my bills and wrote many, many, many paragraphs about Ed Wood on this blog. That was pretty much it. Sorry, starving children of pretty much everywhere. Better luck next year, downtrodden and oppressed peoples of the world. If you were counting on Joe Blevins to come to your rescue this year... well, he didn't do it. Dang me, dang me, they oughta take a rope and hang me.

And John Lennon and his preachy little song are looking down on me right now, tsk-tsking my laziness and overall indifference. Pretty much the only fun I can have with "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" is substituting the lyrics from "On Top of Spaghetti." They fit perfectly with the melody. Try it yourself sometime.

Anyway, some other notes about the Christmas that was:
  • Christmas may be over, but the holiday experience definitely is not. I've got another whole day with the fam, then the wondrous gauntlet of travel awaits me. One train, then another, then a cab. (And that's if everything goes according to plan.) It's a whole thing. I'm writing this post from a cheap, crummy motel somewhere in Indiana, far from anyplace I've ever called home. My furniture misses me.
  • Yes, it is wonderful to see my father, my sister, my niece, and my nephews. I love them dearly. But it is also wonderful not to see these people for a few months at a time. I love my privacy and solitude dearly as well. Sometimes, I actually get caught up in the spirit of the holidays and think, "You know, I should've gotten married or something. Maybe had kids. Gotten a real job, bought a real house, and lived a real life, like a grown up instead of an eternal adolescent." It passes, usually around the middle of the second day with the aforementioned "fam." Then I realize that the life I'm living now is the life I was meant to live. This is the best I can do.
  • What's there to do in this part of the world? Not much, my friends. Not much. My dad and I took in a movie, and it was exactly the film I wanted to see today: Big Eyes. I may write a review of it. Then again, I may not. I'm capricious. For now, let me say that I liked it and would recommend it. This is a story I've been waiting years to see on the big screen, and I'm pleased with the way it was handled. If you're worried that it might be too "Tim Burton-y," let me put your mind at ease. Even Danny Elfman's score -- lighter and jazzier than usual -- is not typical of the Burton canon.
  • I checked in with the Christmas Story marathon a few times, catching a few minutes here and a few minutes there. My goal each year is to see the whole movie, just not in order. The timing didn't work out this year, though. I saw Ralphie go down the slide at Higbee's twice and beat up Scut Farkus at least once, but I never saw Flick stick his tongue to that flagpole. At least not this year.
  • How was your Christmas? Good? That's super. Me, I'm just kind of relieved it's over. Aren't you? We survived, people. We made it out.

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