Come on in, there’s plenty of room. Have a seat by the fire. Arizonians and Brazilians with your shorts and T-shirts, you are in the corner, where the bitter draft comes in. North Dakotians, Russians and Canadians(and other northerners) with your parkas that could keep you warm in Anarctica, keep your thermal gloves, thermal underwear and your earmuffs on and sit right next to the fire. I don’t want anyone comfortable here. I’m surely not. I was going to regale you with a bitter version of the Night Before Christmas, because I am unique like that, until I realized that everyone else thought of that idea first. So I decided to sit you down and talk about your bitter memories. I know some of you would like to go on about how your family likes to go Christmas caroling together, or you have a heartwarming ugly sweater contest, or you exchange your one gift of socks on Christmas Eve before all the kids go immediately to sleep and don’t try at all to catch Santa. But is that really the kind of tradition that creates the memories that you are talking about years later? Nope. It is the bitter memories that you remember for years to come.
Think about it. Do we love Home Alone because they all got to go on a perfect trip together to Europe? Nope. It was the bitterness that Kevin had of being left Home Alone. How about the Christmas Story? Was it because Ralphie got to take down the robbers with his little pea shooter? Nope. It was the bitterness of him almost shooting his eye out. How about me? Do I remember and talk about the years of Christmas when I got my siblings the nicest possible gift I could? Nope. The gift my family is still talking about years later was one I got my sister. Her birthday is two days before Christmas and she loves to read. So of course, me being the bitter gifter that I am, I waited until the day before her birthday. I was furiously scrounging the discount bin at the bookstore, when it magically appeared. The least thoughtful gift I guy could ever give. I will never forget the title of the book, nor will any of my family members. I gave my sister a book called White Ninja. I still remember the reaction she had when I gave it to her. “Why would you ever think that I would want to read a book about a White Ninja?” Of course my reaction was, “You love to read. It’s a book! Why would you not want to read a book about a White Ninja?” It was such a bitter memory for us, that just last year (15-20 years after the incident), I opened my gift from her with white rapping paper, and utter bitterness(utterness?) crossed my face when the paper revealed the words, White Ninja. Never more of a bitter moment than that.
My most memorable Christmas? In one of the most awkward years for Christmas ever, I was done with school, but not quite done with being single. This was the time period where I was bouncing checks as a hobby, so I couldn’t afford to go home for Christmas. My sister, (yes the White Ninja one) and brother-in-law and their twiners (I call them that because they are twins) were gracious enough to allow my bitter presence (not presents) to be felt in their house that year. At this point in our lives, we were still “drawing names” to decide which sibling we were forced to buy a gift for. The sibling (I have two brothers and two sisters) that had drew my name was newly married and living in an igloo selling ice to eskimos and Caribou at the time, so unfortunately couldn’t afford to freeze something and send it via Polar Express that year. My sister was nice enough to let me watch her and her family open present after present until I saw one little box from my parents. Surely they would get me something nice right? Yes! It’s what I always wanted! They got me that Dilbert calendar so I didn’t have to wait until next week to get it for $4.99! Oh, and what is this? A button up shirt for work! I bet they didn’t order something from the Discovery Channel so they could get this Discovery Channel shirt for free right? Oh, and don’t forget the oranges. They aren’t old at all! My head was spinning. Nothing could make a bitter man more bitter than a Christmas haul like this.
After that amazing Christmas haul, I had planned a trip up an hour and a half north in my old car that had no problems (other than everything) in my pajamas. This was nothing but a recipe for success. The car started revving really high, but I just figured it was just excited to get to our next destination. About halfway up there, I noticed steam coming out of the engine, so I assumed that my hot chocolate was ready. I pulled slowly onto the next exit ramp. The car had finally stopped revving so much(I guess it tooks it ritalin) and it glided the several hundred feet like I was on top of angel wings. As soon as I stopped the car (exactly equidistant between the middle of nowhere and the end of the earth), lovely green fluid gushed upon the ground like the Hulk was bleeding. I found myself bitterly complaining that there was no red fluid to complete the Christmas Car Firework Fluid display. Since there were none of those modern “phone boothes” that people kept raving about, I used this really inconvenient cell phone thingy to call the people who I was going to visit to tell them I might be a little late. I also called my sister to ask her how her Christmas was going. Then I called my parents to tell them that I got their gift and when did they land at the airport? Just curious. Also did they know of any mechanics open on Christmas that might be willing to spend all day fixing a transmission in a town they weren’t familiar with? Just wondering.
Story is over folks. Go back to your homes, and leave me in bitterness. By the way, here’s hoping that you and yours have some sort of disaster whether it is planned (having a lot of people at your house) or unplanned (your Christmas tree lights on fire. If so, can you let me know? I’ll bring my stick and marshmellows.) because let’s face it. You can have a Christmas that is fun, goes perfectly and everyone has a good time, or you can have a memorable bitter one.
Bitter Christmas to all, and to all a Bitter Christmas Ben
- The Bitter Ben Holiday Variety Hour and a Half Special (bensbitterblog.wordpress.com)
- In case you missed it…You were out in the cold (bensbitterblog.wordpress.com)