Santa Claus Is Real
What the hell is X-mas? It means absolutely NOTHING to me. Of course, to some it's supposed to be a holy of holy days--for the Jews it's dreadle-spinning and phony gold dollar time; for the Christians it's the day of the birth of little Joshua Ben Joseph of Nazareth to Young Mary Ben Who Knows and Old Joe Ben Joseph; for the pagans it's Old Tannenbaum, the worship of the evergreen tree, the Tree of Life--Hey, folks, it's Yule Log time. Such hooey. Bah double humbug!
As a kid I hated X-mas. My dad was a prankster and my mother was a sprendthrift so I never knew from X-mas to X-mas whether I was gonna be flim-flammed or actually surprised. I remember one X-mas in particular. I was desperately seeking a Lionel electric train--I wanted one of their New York Central Hudson Torpedo sets. I mean I threw the bones, I prayed to Holy High Heaven, I threw the I Ching, I mean I used every supernatural mumbo jumbo in my faithless little agnostic body to get that train, and come X-mas morning NOTHING. Oh, something, sox, chocolate-covered cherries, a kid's tie and tie bar set, handkerchiefs--HANDKERCHIEFS! Can you imagine. We used cloth handerchiefs in those days; my dad had a stash of silk handkerchiefs that were cool as hell to blow your nose in, but I was forbidden those joys and got cotton ones, handmade in the Philippines I remember it always said on those handkerchief sets I inevitably got. But no toy train set. Boy, was I depressed. I mean the whole thing to me was re-god-damn-diculous (speaking "the lingo of an inebriated Old Duke Wayne").
I sulked way past noon. The turkey and ham and all that good food didn't do anything to cheer me up. I was one pissed little boy.
Then after dinner, the old man starts smiling like a Cheshire Cat and he gets up from the table and disappears and we can hear him going out the back door.
"Where's daddy going?" I instinctually asked. I should have been used to this but I was too young to catch on to my old man's prankster-driven mind, but no. I was a smart little brat but I wasn't very logical at all at that age--I had just turned 12, the age that my innocence ended according to my mother's brand of Christianity. My pubic hair did start magically growing. And I did get scary signals every time I caught a glimpse of a woman's legs or cleavage and also a constant 10 in the pecker-checker department, but, hell, I was still innocent when it came to my dad's pranks.
Soon, sure enough, here he came back in the house. Nothing with him but still grinning like a Cheshire Cat. "Son," he said, "I need you to help me out in the garage." Ah, screw you, I was thinking, but I followed him out to the garage anyway.
When we got to the garage, he points to a fairly large box up on a top shelf of the shelves where he kept his paints and weed killers and other poisons and stuff. "Here ya go, son, ya know I gotta bad back so I'm a little leery of climbin' up on that ladder..." The ladder was a damn kiddie ladder; I thought What a crock of shit, but I got up on the ladder and I hoisted down this box, pretty damn heavy, and my dad had to reach up and keep it from falling it was so heavy. After we got it down, he then said, "Damn, son, I totally forgot what's in that box. Why don't you open it up for me, the boxcutter's right there and be careful with that damn thing. That's why I can't open the box, I cut my finger on that damn thing a minute ago."
I opened up the box. Of course, it was my electric train, though it wasn't a Lionel, it was an American Flyer, and it wasn't a New York Central Hudson Torpedo set but a Santa Fe Warbonnet diesel set, which was even cooler because this was when diesels were driving off the old steam engines and these Warbonnets were the cat meow's in diesels. They were called Warbonnets because of their paint scheme, a red and silver scheme, and the fact they ran on the route of the Santa Fe Chiefs, the name of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe streamliner passenger trains.
Every X-mas it was the same thing. My dad flim-flammed my mother the same way. One time she opened her present and it was a set of very sexy lingerie--and you had to know my mother to know that it was very hard to imagine her in this lingerie my dad proudly gave her. She took one look at it and looked up and him and said, "What do you think I am, a whore?" I'm thinking, I'll bet he wishes you were a whore, but I was too young to make that comment openly. I would have gotten my ass busted solidly had I made such a statement at 12 years old.
"Did you pay good money for this floozy crap?" my mother asked, tossing the box with the lingerie at him.
"No, I found it in the garbage behind Minter's Department Store." That was the best department store in our town then, so, I mean, come on; free high-class lingerie--come on, mamma, and found in Minter's garbage!
My brother, on the other hand, loved X-mas, cherished all the traditions he imagined came out of our family--not during any of my X-mases but I assume prevalent during his--he was 15 years older than me.
When you went to my brother's for X-mas, he'd always come through the house with cedar branches smoking in a big dish pan (women (and kids) used to wash dishes in dish pans and not their sinks). Then he would bring out the egg nog--strident with an abundance of good rum, and then he'd start singing the damn carols--"Joy to the World" being his favorite and which he always saved for the very last. He'd been a member of a male quartet at one time and they'd had good local success with an X-mas record they put out when my brother was about 18, so he considered himself an ultimate X-mas caroler. Then out would come the steaks. My brother always had porterhouse steaks for X-mas dinner, followed by buckets of dry martinis.
Me? F X-mas. It's a stupid holiday if you ask me. Jesus X. Christ is a fabulous person to me. The salvation he offers me is not salvation at all; it's simply a way to cover your ass in case all that baloney in these many holy books is actually true. As I always say, the only things Jesus X. Christ ever supposedly said that I agree with is, "All things are possible," and "This too shall pass." Otherwise, I'd just as soon spin a dreadle and eat all my phony gold dollars. Or hell, why not burn a huge log, except I don't have a fireplace so I'd burn the building down if I celebrated Old Tannenbaum. Maybe I could like Good King Wenceslaus look out on the Feast of Stephen, except I don't like stroodle--though I could handle some good wienerschnitzel.
Anyway, I'll box something up for what few friends I have--a certain woman and thedailygrowlerhousepianist--and I'll probably sent l hat something wordy and semiotically delightful--like a roasted fat vowel served with verb tea and modified stuffing--how about it all served in a Gaelic dialect. Wow, raise high the roofbeam.
My dad would have given Tiny Tim an exploding turkey.
for The Daily Growler
Here's another blogger guy's T0p Ten X-mas Song List:
Top 10 Christmas Songs. Ok, I hate fucking Christmas music. Every year, my mom would get out some new Christmas album to torture me with and I've never gotten over having to listen to Natalie Cole or some other stupid singer ruin these songs (actually, the songs themselves are probably the problem). And, then this monstrosity called Manheim Steamroller got together and they pretty much took over every Christmas with their crappy Yanni-esque renditions of every fucking xmas tune imaginable. So, I was thinking to myself, do I like Christmas music at all? Well, I have to admit that I do a little bit. I don't know if I like 10 whole songs, but these are the ones I can tolerate the most at least. Here goes: 10. Jingle Bells - ok, I hate this fucking bullshit but I'm having trouble coming up with 10 good ones. 9. Silent Night - only because it inspired the "Silent Night, Deadly Night" film franchise. 8. Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer - ok, this one sucks too. But whatever... 7. Away in a Manger - finally, Jesus! 6. Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer - ok, this is the most unfunny, terrible song ever. It represents the absolute lowpoint of Dr. Demento's career (although he wasn't directly responsible), which I suppose makes it perfect for the worst holiday ever. 5. The Christmas Song - Nat King Cole is great. 4. Santa Claus is Coming to Town - The Bruce Springsteen version. Clarence Clemons as Santa Claus. 3. Little Drummer Boy - only by David Bowie and Bing Crosby and actually the pre-song chat they have is the best part, or maybe it's that "ba rum pa pa pum" part. 2. Good King Wensuslaus (sp?) - this is mainly awesome because of the mysterious Feast of Steven, which sounds totally pagan. 1. 12 Days of Christmas - this is completely pagan. My favorite are the "5 golden rings", but you've got to give props to any song where a partridge, soon to be at the end of some santerian blade, is the ultimate gift. Barb likes the whole album "Santa's got a brand new bag" by James Brown, the highlight of which is "Santa Go (Straight to the Ghetto)". If I had heard the album, its contents would probably take up my whole top ten.