Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Just Make A Fuss, Dammit

Thanksgiving is a hassle. Christmas is a pain in the ass. Halloween is so wasteful. It's that time of year when the national whining begins and we all coalesce in to one giant bitch-fest about money, materialism, long lines, Santa's lap, travel, weather, ninja costumes, plane delays, turkey, my feet hurt, why do I have to do this, blah blah blah.

I thought I romanticized the holiday seasons from years ago. My parents actually got their act together during the holidays and put on as good a show as they could for me and my brother. It was really the only time of the year that we felt that the spotlight was on us. As an adult I can safely say they earned some decent scores. But hold on…

We were broke all of the time. The houses we lived in had crappy appliances and my parents both worked long hours. The same with my grandparents. They also cooked for more people on Thanksgiving, and entertained more people on Christmas. I remember neighbors would pull out the stops for those two big ticket holidays and managed to weave some Halloween magic as well. Maybe a costume party or an attempt at a haunted house. Were these people millionaires? Nope. Modest little homes, maybe even apartments, and somehow they found the time to give their families something to remember.

That thing was not food. That think was not a party. That thing was not a gift. It was that we belonged. We were welcome. We were special to our family. It was the sense of attention, of caring, of giving and…buckle up everyone born after 1970…selfless generosity.

(I know. Didn't that die out when Madonna started waving her crotch around in the 80's?)

There is an attitude out there in this country which is similar to one in hundreds of cultures. Parents go out of their way to show love and devotion for each other and their families by work, chores, painstaking detail and sacrifice. It could be a mother toiling away to put food on the table in Paraguay, or a father breaking his back to make some money in Morocco. We are so damn lucky over here that for most of us it doesn't come to that. We can rest more. We can buy more. We can eat more. We can live longer.

Somewhere along the way our culture equated selflessness with being a doormat. (I wonder what that Big Lebowski-looking dude in the New Testament story would say about that?) I'm not religious or even spiritual, but apparently most of you are out there. How about Karma or the golden rule? Is all of that dead now, like Smurfs, Rubik's Cubes and Crystal Pepsi? Ladies and germs of my culture: A change should come. We know the presidential election will change a few things but my proposition is bolder.

Its called kindness, bitches.

We can start at home. Instead of thinking you are a doormat, you can feel a sense of accomplishment and appreciation for the attention and fuss you create. Everyone remembers that stuff anyway. They remember the big parties and decorations long after the crap in the gift-wrapped box is used up and thrown away. Its just a Thanksgiving meal. One meal. Make it awesome.

Men, put up the lights on the house. Go to the stores with whoever drags you there. Build the plastic bicycles and assemble the playsets and actually tie the bows. Tell some stories. Take some time off and take the kids to see lights. Hell, that's free. Ladies, don't get upset when you are expected to be more than you are the rest of the year. This is a holiday. It's supposed to be special. Wrap the gifts and hang the decorations. Stop thinking that cooking a meal equates to submissiveness. It’s a damn turkey.

And for those of you out there (myself deeply included) that gripe about commercialism and materialism: This is America. This is the country you live in. This is how we do shit. You are free to celebrate lavishly or plainly; just celebrate for Chrissakes.

You live here.

No comments:

Post a Comment