Thursday, November 1, 2007
Get Ready, Get Stressed
You can hear it in the soft susurration of the wind through the slits in store banners. You can feel it in the palpable excitement of marketers everywhere. You can taste it in Starbucks Cinnamon Holly Egg Nog Gingerbread Frappe. To many it seem may like Halloween just ended--especially any office worker who spent all day yesterday desperately trying to turn 40 manila folders and a necktie into a Spongebob costume--but to retailers everywhere, why, it’s Christmastime!
And frankly, I couldn’t be happier. That’s because I like to look ahead. I'm a “big picture” person. Visionary, if you will. While others care only to study what’s right before--or coming right at--them, I prefer to stare off into the horizon, hands in pockets, gently rocking back and forth on my heels while I softly whistle a tune. Maybe it’s “Fantasy” by Earth, Wind and Fire. Maybe it’s “Shining Star,” also by Earth, Wind and Fire. Or maybe I’ll just turn that mother out and beat box to “Boogie Wonderland” by Earth, Wind and Fire. You never know with us “big picture” people. You never do. Can’t pin us down but you can always count on us to bring home the funk.
Anyway, Christmas. To help get you in the mood I’ve put together a short holiday prep list so that when the season actually does roll around you won’t be caught off guard like the grasshopper in that fable. You know the one I'm talking about. While the ant toils away to get ready for the long winter months ahead the grasshopper frolics and fritters, completely unaware that the ant is in actuality the very serial killer that’s responsible for a string homicides in the vegetable garden. Then one day the grasshopper returns home only to find his roommate hacked to pieces and a message on his bathroom mirror scrawled in blood that reads, “You’re next.” The grasshopper tries to tell the police what happened but they’re of no help. So he must take matters into his own hands. Ultimately ant and grasshopper face off on the ledge of a partially constructed high-rise. We see the flash of a knife. We hear the peel of a gunshot. We see a limp corpse drop 40 stories. We are horrified but learn a valuable lesson and are all the better for it.
Anyway, the list:
The Francesco Explains It All Holiday Prep List
Eight Weeks before Xmas: Panic. The next few weeks are going to get very busy very quickly so best to get the inevitable breakdown out of the way now. Snap at friends. Snarl at strangers. Sucker punch acquaintances. Sob hysterically and howl incessantly on the drop of a hat or every leaf. Then get right to work.
Seven Weeks before Xmas: Play God--Wrathful Edition. Decide who will and who won't get presents this year. Recall caustic remarks, casual slights, age-old vendettas, stutters that might have masked an aspersio or even dubious advice. Remember, the more ill will you harbor for friends and loved ones the more money you'll have to spend on yourself this season.
Six Weeks before Xmas: Go batshit looking for a Wii. Pester managers. Bribe store clerks. Blow "Game Stop" employees. Invest more time and energy into finding a video game system than you did your marriage, your career or your attempt at resuscitating Grandpa. Success is your only option. Suicide your only alternative.
Five Weeks before Xmas: Stop what you're doing. You completely forgot about Thanksgiving, didn't you? You forgot to buy a turkey, right? You forgot to make sides, right? Well, no time for cooking now! Just quickly determine how many people a kindergarten "hand outline" turkey drawing and 16 cans of 4C Bread Crumbs can feed if you get everyone drunk enough early enough.
Four Weeks before Xmas: Get decorations and supplies out of storage two weeks ago...You did already do that, right?...RIGHT?!?...Oh, for...What the hell are you waiting for, merry elves or striking television writers to get your house ready for the holidays? Perhaps you thought if you played a jaunty carol all the supplies would come marching down the stairs from the attic and assume their rightful positions on the tree, hmm? Jesus! People like you make me want to--no, no, not gonna let you do this to me. Time of joy, time of peace. Just T.P. the inside of your own house in lieu of streamers or tinsel. But for the love of God make sure it's at least two-ply or quilted toilet paper. Anything else and you might as well be celebrating Winter Solstice.
Three Weeks before Xmas: Freeze holiday food and snacks you should have already made. Oh, you didn't make any meals yet? Well, here's a little holiday tip--guests don't like to starve! What the fuck have you been doing with your days, dancing a merry jig? Explaining to visitors why there's a big bow of Charmin on your mantelpiece? Getting drunk, yet again, in front of the kids, as if THAT won't affect their self-esteem or future relationships in any way whatsoever?! GOD! At least open a freaking jar of mixed nuts! Can you do that?! Huh?! Can you?!?
Two Weeks before Xmas: Mail the cards you no doubt probably haven't even thought to address or even buy. Man...let me ask you a question--Why do you even bother getting out of bed if you're only going to destroy everyone's Christmas with your astounding indifference and incompetence?! No one likes to be forgotten on the holidays! No one! That includes your kids whose names you probably can't even slur correctly after your eighth whisky sour. I got an idea, and it's one you can do as you decide between neat or on the rocks. Just tell your wee ones that Mommy and/or Daddy simply couldn't be bothered to make this season a happy one for their children. Just tell them Mommy and/or Daddy were never equipped to be parents. Just tell them Mommy and/or Daddy will eventually prove to be nothing but two dead albatrosses hanging from the freaking necks of their grown, emotionally crippled offspring for their entire goddamn adult lives! Go on...TELL THEM! I'll still be here with more helpful advice when you get back.
Last Week before Xmas: Ruin everything for everyone. After all, why stop a ten-year streak now? Surely they hand out medals for such astounding accomplishments, medals you'll no doubt pawn for more booze and the bite-size Snickers bars your kids have come to call "brunch." Sigh...Well, I tried to help you get ready for Christmas. I really, realy did. But you didn't want a list. You didn't want a guide. You wanted your own staff to do everything for you while you danced that jig, waited for decorations to climb down the stairs and on to the tree and hoped elves would show up with a Dyson, Tilex and Glenfiddich. And now here you are, with nothing to eat, no tree or gifts for the kids and no one to blame but yourself. You make me feel so very, very sick and so very, very superior.
Well, that's all the time I have for now. Please join me tomorrow when I stress that there are only seven short months before swimsuit season.