2012 was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year--although as my father and I agreed just before the end of it, it's always possible 2013 will be worse, so best not to trumpet 2012's passing too showily. That said, 2012 will likely never come around again, and that's something.
I had an emphatically homebody-ish New Year's Eve, which I am going to describe because I am not the least ashamed of it. Not everyone goes out to discotheques or is unable to go to a discotheque only because it's impossible to leave the new baby.
My parents came over. We kicked off the night by driving to a Future Shop (I needed a longer audio cord), which was closed. We came back to my apartment, ordered some pizza, and then watched a good half hour of something called something like Senior Star, a Hamilton talent competition featuring aged lady fiddlers in sparkling lounge pants being assessed by a panel of judges who all appeared to be drunk.
Then my parents convinced me that Midsomer Murders is no longer quite so precious now that the first Inspector Barnaby is gone, and so we watched an episode. It featured a man's bare bum, so obviously I will not be watching that filth again.
For no apparent reason, I then forced my parents to watch a rerun of Psych, a show which, if I were an even slightly different person, would drive me nuts, but instead makes me feel delighted.
My parents left at 11:45, leaving me with a critical decision: Would I watch the Toshiba ball drop on Pepsi Anderson Cooper, or would I defiantly not care about midnight and read defiantly in bed? Would I be all "Oh...midnight? Is that when the new year began? (lazy laugh) I'm afraid I'd already turned in." Or would I decide it's more annoying to not care about midnight and defiantly watch one of those guys I think might have originally fronted a Christian rock band get John Lennon lyrics wrong?
As it happened, I made no conscious decision at all, because at about five minutes to midnight, George the cat rushed into the room and demanded attention, and so when the ball dropped and tragically crushed Kathy Griffin, I was busy lying on the floor being head-butted by a merciless purring tabby and missed the whole thing entirely (as did Stabler,
who was busy rolling about in her first hay tribute of 2013).
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The other night, my husband and I were on our annual drive to collect what turned out to be an only-marginally-deformed Ikea Christmas tree (last year's was truly defective, but this one has only one funny empty patch that can be camouflaged by way of strategic bulb placement), and we were listening to that radio station that's been playing Christmas music since June (the one that features DJs who sound increasingly exhausted, rattled, defeated and drunk).We were driving along, happily criticizing some familiar Christmas standards, when we heard a song. A song unlike any other song. A song that was released in 2000 and that I somehow missed until now. A song that caused us both to lapse into a stupefied silence and then dementedly and desperately struggle for words as though trying to speak English for the first time in the middle of an emergency.The song is called "Christmas Shoes", and it's by a Christian group called New Song. It may well be the most stunningly appalling song ever written. If it were only half the song it is, it would still probably be the most appalling song ever written. And it keeps getting worse - that's the most amazing thing about it. You hear one verse and think, "surely that has set a new standard of awfulness and the next verse cannot be any more astonishingly awful" and then you hear the next verse. And it is worse. You start with a poor and raggedy child who wants to buy shoes for his mother. Then you find out his mother is very sick. Then you get the raggedy child looking forward to his dying mother MEETING JESUS. Then you get the narrator claiming that God has made this urchin's mother terminally ill to help the narrator appreciate the true meaning of Christmas. Then, when you think your brain can hurt no more, there is a children's choir. Here's a link to the youtube video. It's actually worth going to the website itself to read the comments section and to realize that you are on one side or the other of a great and unbridgeable divide. You will either be one of those people who questions why a young ragamuffin would want to buy his dying mother footwear, why the be-turtlenecked (I was going to go with "en-turtlednecked", but decided the "be" sounded more sophisticated) singer is sitting on a giant tree, and why anyone, ever, would listen to such a song by choice, or you're one of those people who can barely type your response to the video through the tears you're crying over that poor, poor boy who wants to make sure his mother is well-shod for Jesus.
You will be, if not in good company, at least in company whichever side you're on. Patton Oswalt has transformed his amazed horror into a Christmas stand-up routine.
And if you're one of those people who can think of nothing more moving than a man in turtleneck and blazer singing Christian things about death and a terrifyingly didactic and heartless God, you might enjoy both the BOOK AND MOVIE based on this song.
POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough. Also, I'm not very good at copy-editing, so if something looks wrong, it was put there by axident.
Now that the rich, rewarding, and spiritual experience that is Christmas has passed away, leaving only bulging, exhaustion, and garbage in its wake to remind us it ever was, it's time for New Year's.
There was a time when New Year's caused me a great deal of anxiety. When I was young, and interested in noise and glamour, or rather, interested in attractive and fashionable people thinking that I was interested in noise and glamour. Now that I have accepted that I am not glamorous and have seen that many of those same people are aging badly, I am more reconciled to that formerly much-dreaded eve. Now I see good friends and eat cheese until my enjoyment of those good friends and good cheeses renders me unconscious.
The other reason I no longer dread New Year's Eve in particular is that I have accepted that as every day brings us closer to death and offers the opportunity for promises that will never be fulfilled, there's nothing all that special about December 31st. Why feel let down by yourself and by this life that so soon will be over only once a year when there are 364 other days to play with?
Send the Catastrophizer your requests for advice and/or rationalizations using the form conveniently provided HERE. I will publish my responses on the THE CATASTROPHIZER page.POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough. Also, I'm not very good at copy-editing, so if something looks wrong, it was put there by accident.
The Castrophizer's earliest artistic response to Christmas (1982)
Please note: The following observations apply equally to non-Christmas holidays that involve families, reproaches, and long-simmering resentments sitting down together at a table to eat.
We recently purchased our Christmas tree. It was all trussed-up and anxious looking, but we had high hopes, and when we took it home and liberated it from its twine, it proved to be the tree equivalent of a pimply and emaciated twelve-year-old. It is sparse and spindly when it should be dense and luxuriant; it shrivels where it should proudly spread.
My father reminded me that this should remind me forcibly of the Christmases of my youth. Our trees were often waif-like unfortunates. We would argue over which side was the most defective so we could turn that side toward the wall. Often there was no least defective side and we just had to make do with a holiday vision of spectacular arboreal deformity.
I may never have a polished, self-respecting tree. (I am clearly beginning to build up to an unsolicited Christmas gift of ponderous insight and dubious value). No one has a truly stately and flawless tree. Or if they do, they also have a weight problem and parents on the verge of a divorce. Nobody has a Christmas that is not in some measure grim and disappointing. So no matter how bleak and joyless your Christmas ends up being, don't flatter yourself that you're interesting or singular. Someone, somewhere, is having a worse one.
Send the Catastrophizer your requests for advice and/or rationalizations using the form conveniently provided HERE. I will publish my responses on the THE CATASTROPHIZER page.
POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough. Also, I'm not very good at copy-editing, so if something looks wrong, it was put there by accident.