Halloween is over.
It’s almost Thanksgiving.
Then New Years.
It is, as I like to say, the beginning of the end.
This time of year is, in fact, a season that particularly pisses me off. It’s a series of events that illustrates just how much of our culture and society is really all about just what unrefined, frightened, lonely social animals we are.
We build up for twelve months toward the one major holiday of the year, Christmas (or Kwaanza, or Chanukka, or whatever you celebrate during that season) and it becomes a watershed moment of the year as regards your relationships. Yeah, sure, there’s some religious pretext, there’s all that crap about “good will toward men” or whatnot. But really, what you do is you take stock of your friends and relationships in a very digital way. You prioritize them, in dollars and cents, as to who this year during this month is worth the most effort and expense, energy and attention. It forces you to re-evaluate the most intimate aspects of your life. It gives you an opportunity to reflect on which relationships are showing a worthwhile Return On Investment, and which ones may have run their course. And admit it or not, you use it as a guide to gauge how you rate on the lists of the folks around you.
This is followed by New Years Eve. A holiday which is made somewhat less entertaining by my encroaching sobriety, because drunk people are significantly less appealing when you are not among them. So few of them are as cute as Dean Martin.
New Years is, of course, the personal commitment holiday. After suffering through Christmas (or Kwaanza, or Chanukka) has forced us to evaluate our personal lives and relations, New Years gives us the opportunity to reinvent the things we’ve come to realize aren’t working for us, in an effort to ensure better, more valuable and rewarding relationships and intimacies. To make us more attractive to others.
We’ll treat our significant others better (to reduce the likelihood of being left without a mate). Eat better (to make ourselves healthier and more attractive to potential mates). Excercise more (to make us more attractive to our significant others). Get a better job (to make us more attractive to our significant others). Masturbate less (to save our seed for the procreation that nature demands). Write our great American novel. Be more selfish. Be less selfish. Get laid. Buy a pig.
There is always some apparently significant personal change that needs making.
Then there’s Valentine’s day.
Six weeks into the new you. A month and a half into the first year of the rest of your life. 45 days into the more exciting, healthier, more well rounded relationships you had mapped out.
How’s it going?
This is a poser of a holiday, invented in a smoke-filled room during a meeting between executives at Hallmark and the calendar publishers of At-A-Glance. I know it’s not a real holiday, and I’m willing to bet that “Saint Valentine” was no saint. Probably named after Rudolph Valentino, for all I know.
Frankly, i don’t freakin’ care. What I do know is that, just like Christmas and Chanukka and Kwaanza have been reduced to mere working models of intimate interaction, Valentine’s Day has become little more than the day we reflect on how poorly the new plan is working out.
Unless of course you’ve actually been lucky enough to stumble into a close relationship that appears to be exclusive. Better say thank you! Thank you for not leaving me alone, worthless, and without company. Here’s a card! It has a puppy on it!
Please don’t leave.
Got no-one to send a card to?
Then you probably dropped the ball on that “I’m gonna reinvent my life, goals and relationships” thing.
No big deal, you might say, as you don’t need anyone. You’re whole and complete on your own.
We humans are social animals. Our relationships, our family units, our religions and our holidays are about social organizations. About filling our innate need for companionship, reproduction and survival. It’s about all of us being so afraid to be alone, we structure our whole social calendar around guaranteeing it won’t happen. And about being so afraid to admit it, that we hide it behind holidays, white sales, and the seasonal offerings of gifts in exchange for, and appreciation of, just a little intimacy and companionship. We have turned the calendar year into a microcosm of that struggle; a twelve month cycle of family events, relationship evaluations, personal re-inventions, and other endless pursuits of intimacy.
All of which comes to a head over the course of the next six insane weeks, carrying the highest depression ratio of any calendar season.
And it all begins with Thanksgiving, a time when we give thanks to the Universe for not making our heads explode during the past year. Thanks for keeping our cars right side up, our flies shut in front of crowds, for keeping us from guzzling sour milk straight from the carton, and from eating our young. Thanks for all the minor little victories that should have gone without notice, lost in the radiance of success and love and fulfillment but instead were thrust into the limelight of primacy by virtue of the very lack of success and love and fulfillment over the course of the past year.
Thanks for keeping me breathing for the last twelve months. It’s the least you could have done.
Or maybe I just need to get laid.
That’s it. That’s all I got.