Your Holiday Horoscope

horoscope-chart2Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 21) – You will wake up with the phrase “mature self-expression” on your lips.  And by the end of a day playing hookie from work, you will have finished your masterpiece…a 15-foot high snow erection on your front lawn.

Capricorn (Dec. 22 – Jan. 19) – A sudden and extreme hunger this week will cause you to pull into a nearby drive-thru and, once and forever, disprove the adage that even a bag of Krystals will make a turd.

Aquarius (Jan. 20 – Feb. 18) – Your talent for ad-libbing holiday songs with words like “poop” and “fart” will earn you a solid fan-base among your seven and eight year old relatives and neighbors.

Pisces (Feb. 19 – March 20) – If anyone else jokes to you about that stupid Mayan prediction, you’re going to fucking lose it.

Aries (March 21 – April 19) – Something compels you to transcribe every 23rd word from Section A of tomorrow’s paper, to reveal:  Powerful deranged squirrel won’t finance black honey martyr.  You assume John Boehner is the squirrel and, well, we’re totally fucked.

Taurus (April 20 – May 20) – Because your family expects you to be the son-of-a-bitch you usually are around the holidays, you will go to the opposite extreme this week and agree with everything they say.  But you will still come across as a son-of-a-bitch.

Gemini (May 21 – June 20) – Despite being heavily sedated, you will still be able to feel your chubby nurse tweak your nipples.

Cancer (June 21 – July 22) – You begin to worry if your sign has something to do with your immediate health.

Leo (July 23 – Aug. 22) – While distracted by the smartphone you bought your spouse for Christmas, you will mistake the statue in front of your office building as one of your stupid co-workers giving you the finger.  But you will become surprisingly proficient at texting with your nose before the surgeon removes the pins from your knuckles in early March.

Virgo (Aug. 23 – Sept. 22) – Your only resolution for the new year is to answer every question with “fourteen,” which will, despite your innocence, land you in a state penitentiary for the next 20 years.

Libra (Sept. 23 – Oct. 22) – Tired of a world filled with moochers and copycats, you will stroll out to your favorite cork tree and sit there under its shade, just quietly smelling the flowers.

Scorpio (Oct. 23 – Nov. 21) – Look to your left.  Sucker!

Coffee Totally F***in Rocks!

Within a few minutes of drinking my first cup of coffee this morning, I was busy drafting out a vision, or rather a lingering memory, of last night’s pee dream.  You know, the realistic and worrisome, but partially waking, thoughts you get when your bladder is full and it’s telling you to get up before it demonstrates to you and your wife how much closer you are in life to wearing Depends than to the night-time pullups your kids wear.

Last night’s episode was about what I would be like, how I would react, when I finally admitted that I had a brain tumor (I don’t, fyi).  Would I pull my kids out of school to spend the two remaining months of my life with them, or would I embrace a life of “letting myself go” by swearing off clothes, personal hygiene, and personal dignity?  Would I be a reluctant bastard screaming at the gods, or be accepting of the reality that I would be never feel what sex is like in my fifties, sixties, or seventies?

Then I wrote down some thoughts about Boba Fett living in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, taking his little Fetts to private school and then hunting down a drive-through sausage biscuit. Next came the Heisenburg Uncertainty Principle of Parenting, in which I determined that both the whereabouts and attitude of my children cannot be accurately known at the same time.  I also made a note about the uncertainty of this Uncertainty Principle – that once you discovered this truth, it would no longer apply.  A sort of “opposite day” in Quantum Mechanics, thereby giving rise the Opposite Day of Quantum Parenting hypothesis.

I wasn’t done.

Under this I also wrote:

  • A list of my favorite Christmas marches, including Bizet’s “Farandole,” of course, but also “Carolan’s Concerto” as performed by The Chieftains and The Belfast Harp Orchestra.  Although not a traditional holiday tune, the Concerto sounded Christmassy this morning as I whistled it while completely stripping and re-decorating the tree
  • “the pipsqueak terror?”
  • “basket of sundry goods to the Jewish mafia”
  • And, finally, what I can now only decipher as “Xmas mauphes.”

how-about-a-nice-cup-of-shut-the-fuck-upAfter returning from taking the kids to school, I began searching frantically through the kitchen for my notebook, which I eventually found in my pocket.  But during the search I noticed inside the sealed glass jar where I keep the coffee grounds was a two-tone brown of a dark shade atop a sediment of tan, like a wholly uninspired attempt at sand art.  I realized I had forgotten to blend the caffeine and decaf grounds that I normally brew, instead going pure and uncut.

And now, I’m going back to bed.

It Takes a Christmas Village to Raise a Snow Angel

ponderous chainI’m usually not so taken with Christmas in early December.  By this time I’m wrapping myself in a weighty coil of holiday defenses that I’ve been acquiring over the years.  It’s a sort of layaway agreement I have with the good spirits at Scrooge & Marley.  They tell me I’m working on a “ponderous chain” indeed.

But from the residual calm and goodwill from my recent trip to Cancun, I joined the family in a visit to a local Christmas village this weekend.  It is normally costumed as a country outpost that spews charm from a dozen stores selling candy, confederate flag bikinis, and cigar boxes featuring a nonchalant Christ waltzing up Calvary with a cross that must’ve been made of balsa wood.  But the village has now been transformed in the traditional way, with string lights stapled to every square inch of the place and an endless loop of Jose Feliciano blasting through speakers camouflaged as trash cans and rocks.

According to the posted schedule of events, “The Snow Angel” was to appear in the exhibit hall fifteen minutes after we arrived.  Not knowing what Snow Angel was, I felt this might be the only chance I had to find out, and that it could be our last chance to get a decent family picture for a holiday card.  So I dragged my son wearing his holiday best – a Hawaiian shirt (Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say!) and polyester athletic shorts – and my daughter dressed in every shade of purple from maroon to periwinkle, up the hill with a growing concern that we may have to wait in a long line of snow angel enthusiasts.

After a moment of wandering around inside the hall, we found the queue.  And as a few other families trickled in, the trumpets rang out from above and we looked up to see the Snow Angel dressed in sparkly white, standing on a balcony, and miming a pre-recorded greeting over the PA.  She was a short woman who, because of the high unemployment rate, was probably just happy to have a job, though not so happy to overcome the fear of walking down the long staircase with all that angel gear, wings and fluff.  As she took a seat on her throne, I saw more clearly the huge plastic mitre on her head and that, from the side, it looked like a gravy boat.  Poor thing, I thought.  She couldn’t possibly be doing this for the money.  Maybe she was in a bar fight and this was the sentence from a judge who desperately needed a vacation.   

Before I knew what was happening, one of her gendarmes, a large man in a white high school marching band uniform, ushered my kids up the stairs to the Snow Angel.  In the past, each time we have visited Santa, I have taken care to coach them on the Santa-Child dialog that us adults know well:

Santa:  Asks for Child’s name

Child:  Gives it

Santa:  Inquires as to Child’s self-judgment of his/her behavior over the past 365 days, as if this is a reasonable request.  Would, for example, pushing your sister in front of a bus be cancelled out by, say, single-handedly dismantling an Islamist sleeper cell, or does it average out to something merely “fair?”

Child:   Despite reservations, gives “good” self-evaluation

Santa:  Listens to Child’s milquetoast judgment while studying body language, scanning for fidgeting and sweaty upper lips or other evidence of lying and guilt.  After an intentionally long moment of silent staring, known within the Santa Guild as “yuletide waterboarding,” asks Child what he/she wants for Christmas.

Child:  Mentions a few toys, then urinates on Santa’s leg.

Santa:   Dreams of the 40-year old scotch he’s already given himself as an early Christmas present.

But, as I watched my kids sit with this woman, I realized I had no idea what they were supposed to do, or say.  I had given up my children without any kind of holiday compass.  Surely Snow Angel wasn’t boggarting Santa’s judgment for toys racket.  Maybe she could reveal scores and other details of future sporting events.

The kids spoke to her for a moment and upon their release we were escorted by another drum major to the “Buy these overpriced pictures or we’ll tell Child and Family Services about you” counter.  After our purchase, as we walked back into the village with fuzzy pictures in my hand and guilt in my heart, I asked them what they said to Snow Angel.  What she said. Did they ask for anything? Will the Falcons finally win a Superbowl?

“She said she knows Santa,” my daughter said.

And with just over three weeks left until Christmas, I found that old holiday spirit again, telling me it was time for another link on my chain.  And I wrapped myself up in its cold and steely warmth.