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COMMENTARY: Be of good cheer — are you nuts?

For some years, I’ve collected quips from folks who spurn “the holidays.” Their reasons vary. For some it’s an idiopathic condition, a chronic case of hostility or melancholy. For others, it’s situational, a recent loss, a yucky family member foisting him- or herself into the otherwise peaceful nativity scene, or the like. These quotable Grinches produced, among many others, the following tidbits of holiday cheer — but first, a note: Read no further if foul language gives you the vapors.

Gal 1 and 2: We’re both f–king broke, so we agreed not to give each other gifts.
Gal 3: She’s in nursing school. Maybe she could at least give you a pelvic?

Daughter: I hate her!
Mother: Come on, it’s the holidays, be of good cheer and kind heart.
Daughter: F–k that.

At the local café:
Everyone is depressing and lame. I hate the f–king holidays.

At our quaint Fallbrook Christmas Parade:
I love the lowriders!
You and every illegal in town.

Him: Thank god the holidays are over. Now I can go back to being a prick.
Her: Hmmm. Didn’t realize you’d put that on hold.

Parent: Let’s see, if this is an even-year Christmas, then the kids are with her. Bitch.

Small car passenger to the competitive parker in the obscenely large SUV:
F–k you. … I mean Merry Christmas.

In past years, I’ve callously chuckled at such disconsolate expressions of holiday dispiritedness. But this year, for only the second time in memory, I find a sorrowful pall has fallen over my normally abundant holiday cheer: Instead of finding humor in others’ gloom, I find an affinity with their angst.

It could be that on my last visit, my dear, darling mother couldn’t quite come up with my name.

It could be that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government chose the eve of Hanukkah to announce plans to move forward on development of a controversial settlement in the West Bank, eliciting prognostications of the death of any possible peace between Palestine and Israel.

It could be that Mother’s idiot tenants chose this erstwhile happy season to sue for the unreturned portion of their deposit, which in toto didn’t come close to covering the damage they did to Mother’s little house.

It could be that Brian Brown, of National Organization for Marriage infamy, thinks that a pitch, begging for money to fund his hate campaign at the U.S. Supreme Court, warrants “God Bless you!” for his sign-off, as though any god would endorse his hate (and his faulty capitalization is similarly annoying).

It could be the dour “What are you doing here?” that greeted me when I arrived unexpectedly with gifts, from 3,000 miles away.

It could be ambiguous rejection, a not-quite-a-fit-for-us form letter with a handwritten note reading “Please send more work!” — what the hell?

It could be the so-called “fiscal cliff,” off which I’d like every well-heeled and wing-tipped officeholder, who is stalling middle-class tax cuts, to jump. And, unlike the Republican characterization of President Obama’s fiscal plan, this is not a joke.

It could even be an “undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato,” although Dickens proved that theory faulty.

I know none of these things warrants slipping into a holiday funk. I know that in years past, I’ve blithely dismissed countless such annoyances and worse, in favor of fun and festivity. I know I’m joining millions of others in similarly perplexing seasonal dyspepsia. And, yes, I know I’m whining — but I’m caught in a molasses-thick maelstrom and I don’t know how to get out.

Suggestions would be warmly welcomed, with at least a crumb of good cheer.



Kit-Bacon Gressitt's commentary and political fiction can be read on her blog Excuse Me, I'm Writing and is republished by SDGLN, The Ocean Beach Rag, San Diego Free Press and The Progressive Post. She formerly worked for the North County Times. She is also host of Fallbrook's monthly Writers Read open mic and can be reached at kbgressitt@gmail.com.