What shall we write about today?
What thing can I not solve whilst still attempting with such bumbled elegance?
We could talk about the news. And the potential doom of my fumbling public thought experiment. Among other things.
For without a free and open interwebs, this right here, might go the way of the dinosaur. Or the black rhino. To be more recent.
We could go on about rabblerousing and petition signing and lawmaker phone calling and all that good stuff that is supposed to work and keep the society from turning into a dogmatic, doped up and dumbed down system. And we should. And you should. And if we don’t fight the power, we will lose our power. Band together and such.
If you really wanted to have a say on the matter, you should have just got yourself a spot on that big communications board. Much, much simpler to make things happen then.
Just signing papers, while us peasants squabble the last drips of open and instant global communication on uncreative conspiracy, old election results from the worst façade of a show thus far in history, or some other like nonsense.
Which brings another point to boil.
This goddamn Christmas bullshit. Or the holiday season, or what have you.
But let’s not kid ourselves. Christmas is the heavy hitter this time of year. At least economically. And not because of the story about some poor, loser kid born in some dirty donkey hut in the desert a few thousand years ago. That bit couldn’t help sell water to a man dying of thirst, never mind getting a Lexus off the lot.
It’s all that other dude. All red and gluttonous and proud. And, powerful. Sneaking about in the late hours. Watching. All of us. And keeping tabs. So he can pass judgement upon thee. Based upon his own morality perspective on what good behavior might be. All to grant us that have been obedient a nice little reward. Or punishment, if not.
All about him.
Wait, typo. Santa. Meant to say Santa. To be fair, they are nearly the same damn name.
But there is a similar viciousness. And before all you Who-villagers name me Grinch, I already know your defense.
It brings people together, right? The holidays remind us of giving and kindness and all that. We share and celebrate and love.
Lazy, lazy, lazy. Oh yes, indeed.
For one should not need a single time of year flooded with aggressive commercialism to find kindness in your heart. That can be done any time. To try and force a feeling based on the calendar is doomed to flop.
And besides, the kindness claimed around these times is not as rampant as the yuletide zeitgeist would like you to believe. Have you been to a place of business lately? Or even driven past one? And for those of us in the non-rural world, which is becoming most of us more and more with each year, you see anger and paranoia and obsessiveness. People trudging around malls and shopping centers all impatient and disgruntled. Trying to get the thing that someone doesn’t really need but it’s the hot item and things haven’t been so good and although maybe we should work on that I’ll just spend money instead to hopefully cover up and real resolution to the dissonance in my life and heart. But the thing is limited supply, because too many people have been going to business school the last few decades and know you can charge more for a thing if there is less of it, so you’ve got to scavenge and stress about getting it- and that’s only if you know what to get.
And what it does to children. Television running ads filled with rich stimuli creating a culture of mindless consumption that becomes defended by irrational and aggressive behavior. We’ve all seen the brat in the toy store. Crying and screaming over a thing that will mean nothing to them some day. And it is not the child’s fault. It is the parent’s, at least a bit. But children are targeted by powerful forces, the type which a working, middle class parent are hard matched against.
I see it. My own toddler has thrown her fits, though not too often over not being bought something. She does have a limited understanding of commerce. As two year olds often are. But her mother and I aim to keep free from the shackles of obsessive possession. And thus far, it goes well. She’d rather sing and dance to Elvis tunes with her toy carrot/microphone than go to the store. My hope is to keep it that way.
And to say, well how can you not enjoy Christmas if you have a daughter, I retort with this: Has anything I’ve said gone into that skull of yours?
I don’t need a time of year to see the wonder in my daughter’s eyes. And I sure as shit don’t need a pile of wrapping paper to make her laugh. Every day is better than any Christmas because of her. And we find more wonder a pile of leaves, or digging in the dirt, or dancing than we ever will in the new Barbie or my little kitty or whatever nonsense they try to sell little girls these days to keep them from being who the might actually want to be.
And not because I’m some cheap heartless bastard.
It is because I know it fails. I wanted the “in” holiday gifts because the tv told me so, and since it told all the other kids in school to want it too, our whole little elementary society was in on the desire. And I know I threw fits and created conflicts for my own parents over such things, though certainly not as bad as some.
But beyond the repentance for childhood guilt, I want my daughter to know that things will never be the source of happiness. Some things can be tools for sculpting and wielding happiness. But the thing will never be the happiness.
Happiness, if there could ever be such a thing, is found elsewhere.
Out in life. In the world. In the people of the world. In thine self. And I can say this with a free and open heart. Not because I have found some happiness comparable to enlightenment. Nor is what happiness I have found always constant. I know because the glimpses and glimmers do not live in items. The moments and weekends and late nights where life made sense without knowing why were not bought in megastores or ordered online. I have never paid for love. Though, I suppose there are folks who can and do. Sort of.
I don’t like Christmas. Not for what it is supposed to be. For what it often actually is. An excuse to be shitty to each other and ourselves all the rest of the year.
And it is a damns shame, too. Because I enjoy the winter. Nothing like New York in snow. Even a massive city filled with millions of souls can echo, in the dark and yellow streetlight glow. The loudest sound is the massive, yet gentle compilation of frozen water collecting upon the pavement and parks. There is an elegance to winter. And exquisite loneliness that can ultimately lead to a deeper sense of companionship when found. In whatever form it is found.
Winter is grand. For however long that’s got left. Gift giving is also grand when done thoughtfully. And unexpectedly.
I do, feel a little better about it now. You can go ahead and enjoy your holidays and tinsel and peppermint flavored everything. Just try not to lose whatever it is that inspired after the eggnog runs out.