“It’s Christmas time for you and all the little bells are hanging two by two. The Holly and the Nativity” as Mr. Nick Cave so wisely observed on The Birthday Party’s frankly barmy track Dead Joe. It’s fair to say that as he started screeching “WELCOME TO THE CAR SMASH!” shortly afterwards that he wasn’t actually celebrating the festive season. And fuck it, neither is TSP.
Reader interjection corner: “Wait, you did this angle in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Why do we have to read it again?”
True, and I also did it in 1999, 2000 and 2001 before I knew what a blog was. It’s become an annual tradition to rival Festivus. And you must read it again because deep down you know it makes sense. Even as you sit there waving the mistletoe about hoping for a quick snog - or worse - and are driving up and down the street pulling yourself over Xmas light displays some part of your brain is going “FRAUD! FRAUD! I CANNOT TAKE BEING GIVEN ANOTHER PAIR OF SOCKS BY A PISSED AUNTY!”
Let’s be frank here. Santa Claus and the entire present matrix is the biggest scandal around. It’s estimated that every British grandparent, most of whom you’d expect would be on a pension, flogs up to 600 pounds on the festive season every year. That’s $1500 in Australian dollars. If your granny stuffed that down a pokie you’d invoke Power of Attorney and take all her money away but if it’s done to give shit to kids that they’ll play with for five minutes and then throw away then it’s a super touching gesture. Why is there an obligation to be “nice” enforced one month a year when it should be a year round thing. No wonder people are complete cunts to each other most of the time - other than the fact that most of us deserve it - when you need an entire year to warm up just to be unsufferably jolly for the month of December. Who’s going to bother being kind and generous in, say, April when they know nobody will appreciate it?
Sure the fact that I busted my mum putting presents under the tree when I was three and demanded a full explanation about what was going has probably contributed somewhat to the cynical, twisted and odd person that I am today but it’s a valid point nonetheless. Parents hammer their kids for lying, and drill it into them that there’s “no such thing as a white lie”. Then for the rest of the year it’s “Here comes the Easter Bunny! Tooth Fairy! Santa Claus! Loch Ness Monster!” etc.. It’s a big fat double standard. Has anybody ever tied this into juvenile deliquency? You get to 7 or 8 - or whenever you’re actually supposed to find out it’s a scam - and realise that your parents were stooging you all along. You stew on it for a couple of years wondering what the truth is and by the time you hit 13 you’re so jaded and confused by the fact that the people who belted you one for lying were pulling your leg all along that you begin stealing cars and smoking crack to fill the gaps. Sounds like a perfectly cromulent theory to me. Might also have something to do with copping a backhander a couple of years later when I snuck in and ripped open the wrapping two days before Xmas to discover that I was going to be given Mousetrap. The moment the rips were discovered it was “WHACK!” and one further step for negative reinforcement. I was also under orders not to reveal the Santa Scam to any other kiddies. Cue lots of self satisified “Oh you didn’t know?” Don’t worry about admitting it if you’d like to go back in time and belt me, I’ll be there laying the boots in as well.
Are there actually any parents out there who admit that it’s a scam right from the start? I would respect that. Sit the kiddies down at the first available opportunity and go “Look, everyone else is right into this. It’s complete balls but we’ll still buy you a truckload of stuff every year”. These are just the sort of cold hearted cynics that we need to be raising to get ahead in the 21st century. While the other kids are still running around waving candy canes at each other these robo-children will be getting ahead in business and setting up their future for a huge payday. Nuts to all this “magic of childhood” shit - that’s old world thinking.
The work who’s name we dare not speak (mergers/acquisitions/murders/executions etc..) gave every employee a present. I didn’t even bother to collect mine, it’s just a vulgar waste of money considering all the good that could have been done with it. Now I appreciate the fact that they give us anything, but next year I’m opting out. I’m pushing for a “No Don’t Give” register where people can sign up and instead of buying something for you they’ll give the money to charity instead. Sort of like when George Costanza made a donation to The Human Fund in the name of his fellow employees names - but real. I encourage everyone to do the same. Who gives a fuck what charity it is, most of them do something or other of value.
Redeeming features of Xmas include - and are strictly limited to -
a) The Father Ted Christmas Special where the priests get trapped in the Ireland’s biggest lingerie department and Ted has to get them out with some commando style manoeuvres.
b) Christmas parties with ludicrous tabs that you’re expected to drink. Viva alcoholism.
c) Public holidays that don’t fall on the days they’re supposed to and thus give you fat penalty rates for doing exactly what you would have been doing anyway.
d) Coining in on free shit for doing nothing when you’re a kid.
Am I a complete monster?
All signs point to yes.
PS - There is every possible chance that I will spend the day sitting on my balcony drinking cheap alcohol and hurling abuse and cans at passers-by. Anyone else in?