Thursday, December 16, 2010

My argument with Christmas

Yesterday, in a confluence of both my normal exercise routine and unfortunate consumption of sugar at the Christmas luncheon, I was not my usual jolly self.  Actually, I'm never actually jolly.  The extent of my jolliness was limited to a luncheon discussion observation that Eagle Crest Resort in Oregon, a casualty of the real estate boom, could be re-purposed by redeveloping its underused golf course and creating a combined golf course and cemetery.   Actually I think many golf courses could benefit from such redevelopment, and that's the topic of a whole other riff.  Point is, by 5PM yesterday, I was pooped, and the last thing in the world I wanted to observe was the jolly Salivation Army representative drooling "Merry Christmas" as I schlepped into my local store for groceries.   (I long ago grew tired of lecturing them on their religious discrimination.)  My response was similar to the first lines in this clip from "The Life of Brian," sans the feminine affect:

Yes, I did say, "He's not the messiah; he's a very naughty boy." I didn't say, "Now go away," though.  Oh well.

I'm glad Uku does Christmas.  We do too.  But it's so much in your face in America. As Barbara said, it's so much dukkha this time of the year.  I think part of the problem is a Western dualism, frankly, that says this time of the year should be this and not that.  I would so shop at a store that didn't have the incessant shopworn Christmas songs.

It is very impermanent of course.  But people will get pushier, more Christmas-y towards the end of the season. Cards must be sent out. 

Much of it is a conditioning formed of years of Christmases with 5 siblings, two parents, sometimes  cousins and relatives, and one bathroom, and my parents "carpet bombing" approach to the whole gift-giving thing.  They meant well. Did the best they could, with what they knew.

And the stories I could was insane.  Every couple of years we'd be "knocking over the f*Ck!ing tree" as an old National Lampoon tradition had it, breaking expensive ornaments.   That would result in parental rage, which, I guess, was the punchline to the whole event. Not physically abusive, mind you - just shouting.  It was Christmas, you know.  We'd put a cheap white plastic wreath on a huge crucifix that hung in our living room and declare, "Jesus won the Preakness." My mother would mutter about us heathens not going to Church.  Come to think of it, I don't know why we'd associate Jesus with winning one of the triple crown races by a cheap plastic wreath put around his wooden crucified image.  I mean, have you ever seen a horse that's won a triple crown race with a wreath around it's neck?   Then again, I never watched much horse racing.  Neither did I witness many crucifixions, except those done in the cinema.

But no, jerks don't become less jerky in Western Christmas culture.  They adopt "Christmas" as the reason to be jerks, myself included.

I still don't get the jolliness thing.

But I'll do my best to have a nice Buddhist Christmas. My wish is for you folks to have a good belly laugh however you can get it.

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