Extremely Foreword: Tradition and Masochism
7 Dec 2023

We don’t need Christmas.

I don’t mean the religious thing – that’s fine. Go to Church. Believe what you believe. Do your thing, I have no problem with it.

Even the commercial thing. If you feel the need to relieve your wallet, I won’t stop you. Go all glitzy in the malls and consume more than you should and purchase the affection of your offspring and your spouse – or try to arrest their slide into indifference towards you. Fine.

But do we have to have the whole damn lot over every year?

A good person, wonderful soul, friend of mine once told me that you should be happy washing lots of dishes. Rather than bemoan the toil of the cleanup, he opined, focus on the joy of having had so many folks over that I have dishes to clean. Sure.

Then again, it very much depends on the crowd.

Didn’t quite take into account people who are boringly, immovably, impossibly grey and middle class who still somehow think of themselves as armed factions of La Cosa Nostra. There will be backstabbings, assassinations and turf wars (emotional ones at least) as they vie for power, influence and turf.

You know them, don’t lie to yourself.

The kinds of people who send you messages with their insipid gifts. The old cow has more money than the Vatican and yet when it comes to splurging on you once a freaking year she manages to knit you a pair of vomit-inducing socks herself.

Or the brother’s pretentious wife dropping off new wine glasses because ‘those things you took out last year, my God, would no longer do’.

You watch the kids and their parents show up and wonder how in the hell you share genetic material with any of them. And then you oscillate. Between being shocked by an emotionally dead generation virtue signalling on command from their phone screens, and resenting the lazy autopilot absentees who raised them.

All of it would be bearable, except that through all this, you have to pretend not only to love everyone present, but to LIKE them.

“Hey uncle Peter!” and a fake, bargaining chip, manipulative little laugh.

“Can’t believe it’s been a year already, we really must…” from the snob again.

Why do we do it?

When did masochism become an acceptable tradition?

I suppose I shouldn’t be too grumpy. It’s Christmas, and the Christmas spirit is alive and well (I’ve heard, just not within these walls).

Fine.

Knock yourselves out.

No really, hopefully long enough so I can finish the turkey without having to listen to the buildup of a full blown fight over dinner.

I guess there’s always something to be grateful for.

My very favourite thing?

Not having any dishes this year.

PS – Extremely Foreword will be back next year with a new look as part of the expansion and upgrades. See you all there. And btw – yawl know I’m kidding. Enjoy the beautiful people in your life, and if you don’t have any, enjoy the solitude. Or better yet, suffer, and then use your suffering as a tool to get what you want next year. It’s what you people do…