By Jeff Girod
Who can blame them? Christmas blows.
The stress, the travel, the traffic, the lines, the malls, the mall Santas, the creepy mall Santa elves, the debt, the cold, the hot, the confusion, the arguments, the fake apologizing afterward because it’s “Christmas,” the pre-empted TV programming, the having to wish everyone a “Happy Holidays” so as not offend the 2 percent of your friends who don’t celebrate—not to mention the stuffy living rooms where you’re crammed onto some plastic-covered couch with a bunch of relatives you rarely see while sweating inside a scratchy Christmas sweater.
Oh and try biting down on a cheese log in peace while some dipwad you’re only technically related to snaps a photo bound for Facebook. Oh hey, instead of me smiling and saying “candy cane,” how about I just festively punch you in the nose?
The presents you get from family members are the worst. You spend your entire lives slowly dying next to parents, siblings and spouses. Then come crunch time at Christmas, what do they buy you? Pickled meats and scented bath balls. Gee, you shouldn’t have. Next year just scratch me out a check instead of dropping $18.75 at Pepperidge Farm.
But it’s not just Christmas most of us wish we could skip. We spend most of our lives trying to fast-forward through life. Whenever you’re sick, bored, broke, hungry, lonely, impatient, depressed, angry, in trouble, lost or stuck in traffic, don’t you wish you could hit the magic double-arrow button and speed up time?
Ever stood in an elevator with a co-worker? First thing they’ll goofily tell you is the day and where it falls in relation to next weekend, as if on Friday at 5 p.m. balloons drop from the ceiling and everyone gets to make out with a game show model. “It’s Friday!!! Drop your panties and get out the cake frosting!”
But I’ll admit it. I do it, too. I’m always looking forward to the next best thing, as if whatever is on the horizon is way better than the intolerable reality I’m suffering through right now. (My intolerable realities equate to any time I’m forced to stand up and not force-feed my face with tiny donuts.)
Other than the donuts, I also have a son. In the 22 months he’s been alive, I have probably taken about 4,000 photos of him. If he were any human other than a 3-foot toddler I made with my own DNA and financially support, the way I act around him would probably border on an unhealthy, Justin Bieber-like obsession.
And if you asked me what I could be doing right now—out of anything possible in the world—I would probably say hanging out with my son. All together now: Ahhh. Yes, that’s sweet. But you know what? It’s bullshit.
I love hanging out with my son. I really do—for about 30 minutes. Then I wish I could fast forward to the part where he’s asleep so I can get back to other stuff I love, like laying paralyzed on the couch or setting my fantasy football lineup. Seriously, the kid sleeps 12-14 hours a day and still, when it’s my turn to supervise, I try to tuck him in for the night at 3 p.m.
It’s not just my son. It’s everyone and everything I’m supposed to love: It’s my wife. It’s my mom. It’s my cat. It’s TV shows. It’s the last 45 things I ate. I want to skip right to the good parts and then magically make them all go away.
It’s even when I go on vacation. I love the idea of Maui but I don’t actually love being in Maui. Yuck. Are you kidding? The 5-hour plane flight, the long walk from my hotel room to the beach, the pasty white Nebraskans in their neon green swim floatie thingies.
Cut out all the boring parts of my life, like gristle on a piece of steak. Make the entire movie about an hour and some change—with lots of gratuitous violence and tasteful nudity (and a cameo by Bruce Willis).
That’s all I want for Christmas.
Contact Jeff Girod at firstname.lastname@example.org.