Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Scrooge Ain't Got Nuttin' On Me

Last year I was completely, totally, and overwhelmingly STOKED for Christmas. I’m not sure why. Ok, that’s a lie. “The family” was getting an XBOX from Santa Claus and “the family” was planning to play Guitar Hero until its fingers bled. I couldn’t wait for Christmas morning to come. I had lights hung on the house by Thanksgiving and both trees were up and decorated before December 1st. I lived off of eggnog and ham. I had Christmas slush every night, a delightful concoction made from various citrusy fruits, Sprite, and bags of sugar. I watched Albert Finney’s “Scrooge”, “Christmas Vacation”, and “Ernest Saves Christmas” several times leading up to Christmas. I actually played Christmas tunes in the car and sang them out loud at work. It was the first holiday season since my young boyhood where I felt that kind of excitement.

How then is it possible for me to be so apathetic this year? The lights never made it on the house and the trees just went up yesterday, only 9 days before the big day. Christmas music on the radio nauseates me. I have no appreciation or patience for the frumpy rhinestoned sweaters the ladies wear at work. I haven’t once said “happy holidays” or “merry Christmas” to a single person. Even the late great Jim Varney, aka Ernest P. Worrell, can’t get me in the spirit.

Here’s an example of my humbuginess in action. My boss is not a big believer in sales team activities, i.e. sales meetings. Incidentally we rarely get a chance to bond together and spend time getting to know one another outside of “cookie talk.” Once a year the boss takes us all out to lunch…at Christmas time. Last week he sent an email asking for suggestions on where to do lunch. My suggestion was Charlie Chow’s and it looked like that was where we were headed. I was thrilled! The morning of lunch day, a co-worker sent out an email that said “In the spirit of Christmas and the time of ‘giving’, I suggest we forego our lunch and donate what we’d have spent to the Utah food bank or local charity. Your thoughts?” My boss responded, “I think that’s a great idea. What do the rest of you think?” My despair drove deeper and deeper, my frustration burned hotter and hotter as I read reply after reply, “What a wonderful idea!” and “I agree completely!” Well I didn’t freaking agree. I was pissed. I couldn’t even bring myself to answer. I didn’t want to lie and I didn’t want to tell the truth. I didn’t give a rat’s @$$ about helping the poor in that moment; I donate money on a monthly basis to help those less fortunate than I, what the HELL do you people do regularly to help feed mouths? Instead, you fair-weather losers want to pay your alms in public for the whole world to see and hijack MY Christmas lunch to support your pathetic façade of giving and charity?! BOGUS! I was hot.

My boss called that afternoon and said, “I never heard back from you on the Christmas lunch.” “That’s because my opinion wouldn’t be popular, boss.” He laughed, “Well tell me what you feel?” So I told him, without all the detail of course. He understood and offered to bring in pizza for us while still making a charitable donation.

This isn’t like me!!! I grew up in a family that always did special things for people at Christmas time. I'm embarrassed that I thought those thoughts and was unwilling to do a really GOOD thing at an important and sensitive time of year. So what's my deal?! I'll venture a few guesses:

1) The death of Sherri’s grandma and subsequent fallout with the world’s biggest SCUMWAD all happened at the end of November when people first start gearing up for the Christmas season. It’s hard to get into the spirit when Sadness and Disgust have pitched tents in your heart.

2) The weather. It felt like September up until this past weekend when we were brutally blasted into mid-January. Bloody cold and icy snow. Compound that with the city of West Jordan’s complete lack of attention to snow removal in my neighborhood. Anger just made camp next to Sadness and Disgust.

3) A fair percentage of the world feels some economic strain during Christmas time and I’ll readily lump myself into that statistic. Paired with a lovely recession bordering on depression, financial stress can create some wicked ugliness. Worry just rolled up in the Winnebago to hang with Anger, Sadness, and Disgust. Sounds like a party.

4) Maidie is just now recovering from her 5th ear infection in 4 months. And she’s only 8 months old. Eric had so many this year that we were forced to put tubes in his ears and remove his Adenoids two weeks ago. We’ve had some seriously sick and grumpy kids the past few weeks, all close to the time of Yule. My company is also moving from a traditional health insurance plan to a high deductible plan with a health savings account; a plan that I don’t fully understand or endorse. Despair and Agitation are now stoking the fire at Camp Apathy.

Sadness, Disgust, Anger, Worry, Despair, and Agitation are all squatting in my apathetic heart. Not a lot of room at camp for Happiness, Joy, Giving, and Seasons-freaking-Greetings. I need a miracle on 34th street or some little girl to evict the squatters with her innocent “every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings” because as I see it now, the angels are having their wings yanked and torn off by bloodthirsty humbugs.


Anonymous said...

Ouch, Bro. Much suckage at Chez Tyler. Sorry you've had such a down time of it.

Sister said...

Merry Christmas! I have been in a frozen snowy hell for two months. I am personally relieved to know December is almost over...only 150 more days until sunshine.

Paul said...

Season's Greetings. A hearty dose of eggnog will drown the sorrows. Hope you guys are well.