Monday, 25 December 2017
Christmas morning, 2017.
Two things greatly lacking in my life.
Gave myself a gift yesterday. Watched a favourite film from the '70s, Mel Brooks' 'Blazing Saddles'. There's a scene where Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder convince the threatened townsfolk of Rock Ridge to build a fake version of their town for marauders to destroy. It all goes well until Slim Pickens kicks one of the buildings over -- and discovers there's no structure behind the facade.
Kinda like playing Christmas songs on Christmas morning when there's no family, no tradition, no celebration. No joy. Just the voices of Elvis, Nat King Cole, Mathis, Sinatra and Stevie Wonder accompanying the usual cacophony of what-if, what-should-be, what-a-fool-I've-been, what-am-I-doing, where-am-I-going ...
Before a Vince Guaraldi song comes on and something cracks. Not, as Leonard Cohen sang so beautifully, a crack where the light gets in. There's a bit of time travel, a memory of sitting before a bank vault-sized TV set at the house on 20 Dayton Road, the smell of my mother's perfume, my little brother in his pajamas, my father's footsteps upstairs, Charlie Brown and Linus and Lucy, a passageway that fills with water and threatens to pull me under, a torrent of torment that will wash away only when my heart beats its last.
In this self-made setting Christmas is a day of reckoning. No wife, no kids. Coupla cats, who are laying peacefully beside me now, but without a tree adorned with ornaments to destroy even they get shafted by my hermit-like existence and resultant Christmas morning facade. I've learned -- hell, I've been taught by professionals -- to live in the present, appreciate the little things. But Christmas is big. Too big for cognitive massaging. It's one day of the year my mind wants to believe in the whole enchilada, swallow it down whole. But we reap what we sow, as the cliche goes. A life of solitude isn't rewarded on a day of giving. Nor should it be.
Here's something I posted on Facebook two days ago: 'Just played secret Santa for a country Victoria bloke who dropped his wallet on a Balaclava sidewalk. $9 to mail it to him after finding no other means of contact. Judging by the battered state of a condom wrapper found tucked inside, the guy's overdue for a bit of luck ....'
If I'm willing to help a stranger, the least I can do is try and help whoever may be reading this, whether it be friend, foe or someone in-between. 'Help' is probably too strong a word, for I'm not sharing anything you don't know. However, like every Christmas fable, hymn, carol, movie and TV show Christmas episode ever made, there's a moral tacked onto this tale:
You got people around you? Love them. Let go of the cynicism. Make the illusion of Christmas real. Knock on a neighbour's door, shake his or her hand, give their kids chocolates and a smile. Visit family and make this the year their bullshit doesn't get under your skin. Enjoy the stories, laugh at the jokes, even if it requires an extra glass of wine.
More than anything, do the one thing I find impossible: Love who you are. And do that every motherfucking day of the year.
If this blog post has made you sad ... don't be. If it reads like a call for help ... it isn't. All that I can truly call upon from this hunk of junk I call myself is honesty. My blessings are many, my burdens few. Love someone today. A lot. And wish them a heartfelt Merry Christmas.
'Cause that's what I'm wishing for you.