If you don’t already know, today, December 23rd, is Festivus! Many people believe this was a parody of a holiday started on an episode of Seinfeld years ago, but it actually began before that, with one of the show’s writers and his family, who, instead of a silver, unadorned pole, used to shove a clock in a bag and nail it to the wall in order to observe, or to not observe, a run-of-the-mill, non-traditional, non-holiday, non-themed, non-tinseled, non-everyfuckingthing December gathering. There is no alcohol. There is no traditional meal. There is no fucking music. There is no deity. There are no beliefs associated with the event (or non-event, if you will). There is no exchanging of gifts. There are no decorations (except for said pole). I cannot even begin to describe how much this concept appeals to me after the year I just had.
Probably the best part about Festivus is that there is absolutely no preparation for it. TD and I were just reminded last night that today was Festivus and we have been celebrating it to its fullest since we got up this morning without doing a damn thing! We might’ve tried to get a pole if we had known about it sooner, but given my current state of mind, it would’ve no doubt been used as a weapon or as something else equally violent and disgusting, so it’s better that we didn’t get one. So far, I’ve just using one of my fingers to represent the pole, which has been working just fine.
Another great part about Festivus are the miracles. Festivus miracles are commonly occurring events which are very easily explained. For example, at eight o’clock this morning I had an appointment with my fucking psychiatrist. I never make appointments that early with doctors! (This was actually a changed appointment from 1:00pm from an earlier date to 8:00am today because the doctor had an emergency.) It was a Festivus miracle! The morning started out perfectly.
MORNING CONVERSATION AT THE KITCHEN TABLE:
TD: We have to leave soon. You gonna get ready?
TS: I am ready.
TD: Didn’t you sleep in that?
TD: Do you want to brush your hair?
TD: Do you want to brush your teeth?
TD: Maybe change your shirt? Looks like you spilled coffee…
TS: It’s blood. I had a nose bleed.
TS: I’m not wearing deodorant or a bra today.
TD: *raises coffee cup* Happy Festivus!
TS: *smiles* Happy Festivus!
She actually took me out in public looking this way and made no further allusions to my obvious insanity. When we got to Dr. Kimball’s office, the full scope of the Festivus holiday descended upon me with the casual check-in at the reception desk with Mrs. Shitface. Ever run into one of those people who work with the general public and the first thing you think and feel is that this person should be somewhere in a small, windowless room with a bunch of filing cabinets and not anywhere NEAR the general public? That’s Mrs. Shitface. “Verify your date of birth.” That is her standard greeting.
[WORDS NOT SAID: Bitch, I’ve seen this doctor since 2005. I’ve seen your fucking face at least once a month, every month, for the past six years since you started fucking working here. I was the first patient seen in this building when the doors opened eight years ago. Everyone in this fucking building knows me, including the security guard, who also has my fucking phone number and attended my 50th birthday party. Ask me one more time for my date of birth!] WHAT I SAID: “3/20/64.” It was a Festivus miracle I didn’t grab her by the throat.
Dr. Kimball immediately lost his smile when he saw me. I understood this later when I caught sight of my own reflection in the glass leaving his office. I have never looked more like death warmed over than I did today. I had on a beige sweater that was three sizes too big, a gray t-shirt smeared with blood, humongous jeans that I had to keep rolling at the waist or they fell down, no make-up, unbrushed hair, racquetball sneakers, and because I wore short ankle socks, I had to wear my braces on the outside of my pants because they were rubbing against the back of my legs and sticking to my skin. There really wasn’t anything about the way I looked physically that an outsider would notice as much as the intangible, elusive air of total hopelessness and despair so visible in my face. When he asked me how I was doing I just immediately launched into a tirade about how the world sucks and people suck and this holiday sucks and love is dead and there is no peace and there is no beauty and that I had gotten into a screaming match with God last night. “Wait,” he said, “let me hear more about that.”
It was one-sided, of course. I can’t go into much detail here without causing someone else harm. Suffice it to say I was extremely pissed off about what I considered a huge injustice of biblical proportions and exploded with rage. I merely said, “You know what God? You can kiss my lily, white ass! FUCK YOU! YOU PIECE OF SHIT, SADISTIC, COCK-SUCKING, PUNK FAGGOT ASSHOLE!” I smashed my fists into the kitchen table and then I shot middle fingers with both hands towards the ceiling and said, “FUCK YOU, FUCK YOU, FUUUUUCK YOOOOOOU!”
So, Dr. Kimball is tweaking my meds. Wants to do something about this “irritability” that seems to be going on. I’m lucky we didn’t get into a discussion about politics. I’d be in-patient by now and slaughtered by chemical restraints. I’m already on shaky ground with my therapist because I told her I’d consider it a national holiday if Trump was ever assassinated, and then told her I was going to the Women’s March on Washington next month. It will be a Festivus miracle if the paddy wagon doesn’t show up before the night is over…or the fucking FBI doesn’t call after this blog gets posted. People are so fucking sensitive now!
When I was checking out at the desk after the appointment I wished Mrs. Shitface a “Happy Festivus!” She responded with a totally unreadable expression and I couldn’t tell if she had suddenly lost the ability to comprehend human speech or if she had just shit her pants a little bit. Either way, it was another Festivus miracle and I rejoiced!
TD actually took me out to two other public places (Sam’s and Gabe’s). As we were walking into Sam’s, she reached over and puffed out my hair on the back of my head. “I was going to smooth it down a little,” she said. “But no, it’s not going anywhere. I thought I’d make it stand up more…make it look like you meant it to look this way.”
“I did mean it to look this way.”
“I was just trying to help.”
I slapped her hand. “Don’t help me.”
She slapped my hand back. “Good, I won’t.”
“Don’t touch me,” I said and grabbed her fingers and bent backwards.
“Let go! Let go!” she said and grabbed back.
There was a slight scuffle right there by the handicapped spot near the entrance that might have looked like a spastic dance between two pharmacologically impaired detox patients until she lost her grip, I lost my balance and an elderly couple rounded the vehicle and gave us a surprised but hearty, “Good Morning! Merry Christmas!”, to which we both responded, “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Festivus!” Aside from TD scaling a shelving unit and stealing a display item (she did pay for the item, she just took the last one available), we behaved ourselves inside the store. We also managed to maintain proper decorum at Gabe’s.
We didn’t have meatloaf for dinner, which is the “type of meat” served on the Seinfeld episode for the Festivus meal. I made grilled cheese sandwiches, which is allowed, since there are no rules for anything for this non-holiday. For dessert, I served peanut-butter Buckeyes from the Candy Factory. Kim Duncan was our only guest and we each aired our grievances of the past year without shame or retraction. Donna Melton actually gave me a good idea for the one rule during this part of the festivities. During the airing of grievances, there can be no responses. You can say absolutely anything you want to fucking say and no one can say shit. You can just let it fly! It was a rousing success!
As the day winds down, we still have not settled on how to handle the last part of the celebration, the Feats of Strength, where the head of the household challenges a guest to a wrestling match. Since Kim Duncan has conveniently departed and I am the only one left, that would leave me as the only opponent. According to tradition, the holiday does not end until the head of the household has been pinned. As I am frail and sickly and handicapped and crippled, and technically not a guest but a paying tenant, I do not meet the criteria of a guest. And since this house will be filled to the brim with guests tomorrow (and two strapping brothers), I believe this holiday will continue until tomorrow when the Feats of Strength can be properly carried out in a display befitting its proud tradition. There will be a video.
All in all, it was a very successful Festivus. I have decided that each year we will come up with a special motto that sums up that year’s feeling of the day. As happens all too often with the religious holidays and trying to match or outdo the media and cultural expectations of the perfect Christmas with the perfect clothes and food and decorations and church and fellowship and love and family and snowy, showy, expensive, sparkling bullshit overkill, this year’s Festivus motto will be: “Don’t be disappointed. Expect nothing.” A fucking Festivus miracle.