Christmas is an unkind holiday. If you happen to have a big family gathering planned, with Aunt Sophie's green bean casserole and Uncle Pete's blank stare, that is a hell of merely one variety. Perhaps you've decided to ignore Christmas, and go with Festivus instead. Wise move, but it's still not going to be pretty. I know because Nancy and I went with Festivus this year. A metal pole, from floor to ceiling, sits in the living room, next to the coffee table. Awkward spot, but there aren't many places to put what is basically a stripper pole.
Festivus Day is planned out as follows:
8am - Breakfast of Nebulous Guilt. Nancy and I will eat breakfast silently, except for polite conversation. We will look to our food, around the room, and at Annie and the cats. Occasionally, we will look at each other and smile wanly. We won't talk about that thing we did. Heaven's no, not that. Anything but that.
1pm - The Polishing of the Pole. The Festivus pole is cleaned with a little bit of Murphy's Oil Soap and then polished with Nevr-Dull metal polish. Brownies are made and eaten.
2pm - Quiet time.
3pm - The Movie of Tension and Fear. Time to watch a movie that only one of us really wants to see, with the other person feigning interest and growing more and more resentful. Original plans to watch The Godfather parts 1 and 2 were scrapped when Nancy threatened me with a screwdriver. Instead, we settled on something neither of us care to see, Terminator: Salvation. I'll be resented, though, as I like the rest of the movies in the series.
6pm- The Bitterly Disputed Chinese Food Order. This is when we spend an hour arguing about what to get. I'll insist on steamed Peking ravioli while Nancy will want to get something remotely healthy, like pea pods. What we will settle on has yet to be decided. It's better for the argument that way. More in keeping with Festivus. More organic.
7pm - The Airing of Grievances. Over dinner, we'll flip a coin to decide who will start. Nancy will most likely focus on the way I do laundry. That I don't hang clothes immediately coming out of the dryer, which makes them wrinkly again. I'll probably complain about the way Nancy writes epithets on my body when I'm asleep. For example, this morning I stumbled into the bathroom to pee, only to find the words, "World's Smallest Pecker" written in lipstick on my thigh, with an arrow pointed at, well, the world's smallest penis. That's not nice.
11pm - Feats of Strength. This is the first time Nancy and I will fight each other. I'm nervous, despite my clear weight advantage. Imagine Yoda fighting Emperor Palpatine, with the speed and the hopping and the ferocity. My strategy will be to bear hug her, but it won't be easy. Nancy is one tough monkey. We also have various things around the apartment to lift, if challenged to do so; A steamer trunk full of old car batteries, an old sewing machine still screwed into a table, an old picture-tube television, that sort of thing. Again, Nancy is not to be underestimated. After what she did to that Jehovah's Witness in Duluth, I'll never make that mistake again. Neither will that Jehovah's Witness. Poor bastard.
Midnight - Make-Up Sex Caroling. Nancy and I love each other with a white-hot intensity. We argue hard, and we make-up hard. We're passionate, crazy people. So we plan on making love loudly, with the hope of spreading Festivus cheer throughout the neighborhood. At least until the police arrive.
What have you got planned?