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Christmas gargles mule, and let me tell you why. It's not religion or my lack of it. Everyone has a deal. Your deal is what gets you through the long, cold night. If in the bright morning you want to open presents because of your deal, have at it. I'll even applaud you from the sidelines. Go ahead, have fun. It's your thing. You would think that I hate Christmas because of the giant cars filling parking lots in miserable outlet malls across a nation now dirty and picked over, its citizens buying everything in arms reach to make themselves feel better, from plastic trees to digital dinosaurs. No, I don't mind you going credit crazy. A rampant consumption orgy can be overlooked for one day per year. Sure, you have to settle down afterward, but for today, go get the latest, light up, wham-o-dyne box of joy. Lord knows I wanted one when I was a kid.

I wish everyone could have one.

You might even think I hate Christmas to be edgy and cool; I'm the counterculture kid and I ride a contrarian's pony. But, no. When I was young, Christmas was so large and beautiful, you couldn't look at it; only wish it would be as good next year and after that and after that. And white once. Just once.

No. I hate Christmas because of the unerring, unswerving, unrelenting, rigid, predictable, repetition of it. Over and over and over. Silver bells. Silver bells. Silver bells. Frosty. Frosty. Frosty. Candy canes. Booze. Crying. Scotch tape.

Brenda Lee.

This will be my 31st Christmas, and since my 16th, I have cringed at each identical, uniform, individual piece of tinsel, green twisty wire of bulbs, and rosy-cheeked snowman.

People who love Christmas are exactly like the Down syndrome kid who has a favorite AA battery and will pet it 19 times a minute for the rest of his waking life, only observed on a much longer time line.

When the meteorologist says, "Looks like Santa's sleigh on Doppler and he's heading this way!" and the blonde behind the desk says, "Oh, well, all you kiddies out there better get to bed. Now, let's take a look at how retail sales are faring this shopping season," I will want to drive myself into the cold street, pulling my ears off and scratching out my eyes. IN THE NAME OF WANG CHUNG, LET'S DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT THIS YEAR. ANYTHING! ANYTHING!

Thursday, November 29

Top 20 Countdown

CMT 9:30 p.m.

Johnny Cash just emailed me on MySpace. His letter states, "Check out the official Johnny Cash General Store and buy cool merch!!!" Hmmm...The ghost of Johnny Cash has apparently taken a little course in "online marketing to tweens" and has expanded his vocabulary to include "cool merch!!!" For this upsetting turn of events, I shall put a shot of bourbon in my coffee this morn and softly weep. And softly weep.

Casos de Familia

Univision 10:00 a.m.

In other news, I need to get out of this Mexican ghetto. Every time I think I'm going to settle in and watch a movie, one of my neighbors opens a door and a window and broadcasts his favorite eight-track of norteño music. Which, as you well know, really explores the possibilities of what a tuba, a Casio keyboard, and an accordion can accomplish. Which is to say, not much except abject misery for everyone within earshot.

Friday, November 30

Broken Government

CNN 7:00 p.m.

At night, after dinner, lying in bed, I rub my belly. It relaxes me, and someday, when I've been good, a genie will pop out of my belly button and offer me a selection of Heidi Klum's pantyhose, Andy Warhol's leather pants, or a ride in a helicopter. "What about the wishes?" I'll ask, and he'll reply, "Times are tough all over, kid. Don't blame me. I voted for Gore."

Saturday, December 1

The Real World

MTV 11:30 a.m.

For my age, I should know more hip-hop language. Thirty-one is not so old that I am a foreign specimen to young people, like a three-headed cat or something. Although, I am past the point where anything I do now to be accepted by the next generation is going to come off as that retired guy who emphasizes "dude" when he incorporates it into a sentence -- "Well, that is the cat's pajamas, isn't it...duuuuude?" And he crosses his arms like he's posing for the cover of a Beastie Boys album. That's me. My God, that's me now.

Wave Chasers

Travel 8:00 p.m.

The best part of buying fish from a grocery store is that little green piece of plastic they put in the Styrofoam tray. It's oddly reminiscent of a tiny picket fence, but I think it's supposed to represent seaweed. It's my opinion that all items should be sold with some sort of green plastic garnish. Next time I buy tires, I want to pick them out of a giant mound of Easter grass.

Sunday, December 2

NFL Football

NBC 5:15 p.m.

For the first time in a year, I watched a football game on TV. My excuse is I was sick in bed and had no other option. What I learned about football that day is this: the Goo Goo Dolls are now old and fat. They were the half-time entertainment; I'm not sure what teams were playing. You can't see it, but I'm puffing my cheeks up with air and holding an imaginary inner tube around my waist. That's my Goo Goo Doll impersonation -- chubby old farts.

Monday, December 3

A Charlie Brown Christmas

ABC 8:00 p.m.

I need to get my bedroom carpet cleaned. Last week when I was sick, I knocked a jug of cough syrup over and it spread out in a big purple puddle. I didn't have the energy to get more from the store so I sucked at the carpet fibers for the rest of the weekend. Now my carpet smells like the Dewey decimal system, wine, and enthusiasm. Mmmm...cough syrup. What was the question?

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