Sunday, December 12, 2004
Holiday Blues, by Elwood Scrooge
It's the Holiday season here in Bucktown. We have lights up, and a Christmas tree. We have a houseguest right now, Trope's old friend B is staying with us while she looks for a place. I hope she takes the attic apartment here - while the place is empty I live in constant fear that it will be rented by a drummer. B does not play any musical instruments that I am aware of.
I made fudge today - something I always did with my mother this time of year. She's gone now, but Fantasy Fudge lives on, though now you have to look for the original recipe on the Net because they want to trick you into buying all the ingredients from the same conglomerate. The new recipe doesn't work though, ask anybody. It won't set right. What can I say? Big corporations are evil. Ambrose Bierce, in the Devil's Dictionary, defined corporations as "an ingenious device for obtaining profit without individual responsibility."
But I digress. I made fudge today, and helped decorate the sactuary at Third Unitarian with evergreen boughs. But why? I am not strictly speaking a believer in any religion. I think most of what Jesus said was right on, but as for the religion that grew up around his death, I can find little evidence supporting its specific claims, even in the Gospels themselves. The overall worldview seems sound - the real one, not the fundamentalist born-again distortions. Original sin seems true and obvious (don't believe me? Try to go all day without exploiting or harming anyone. That means no fossil fuels, no Chinese-slave-labor clothing, no Tyson chicken or migrant-worker picked vegetables. See? In living, you are complicit in evil). Salvation by faith through grace is a intriguing concept, chewed over in Pulp Fiction, still one of my favorite films.
But I don't really believe in any kind of existence after death. It simply seems impossible, and I'm not about to go believing something just because I desperately want it to be true. So what's with the holidays? Spending time with family is a good thing, but I won't be doing much of that. This will be the first Christmas since we got married and we'll be with Trope's mom and her family on the 25th. Which is great, they're very nice people, but I don't know them all that well and I still feel like I have to be on good behavior while I'm there. But Christmas without my family, and without God, is mostly a bunch of obligations I feel I need to fulfill to forestall the disapproval of others. The big parties are mostly over for the year, and now I feel compelled to go down to Michigan Avenue and give a bunch of money to the aforementioned big evil corporations to get a bunch of useless crap to reassure people that I have been thinking about them. I have bought people books in the past, which makes me feel better for a while, but I don't think that anybody actually reads the stuff I buy for them. I thought about buying everyone in the family tickets to Spamalot, but they are sold out and I really couldn't afford it anyway. So I don't know what to do about Christmas presents, and I'm running out of time, and I don't feel very merry about it at all.
So Bah, Humbug to all, and to all a good night.