Perhaps you are thinking, where the fuck have you been, Librarian Slacker?
I know, right?
I don’t know where I have been, other than to say I have been OUT OF IT. I am all doughnut-like, in a glaze. An amazing glaze. Amazing glaze, how sweet the sound. It’s been one of those times where I don’t seem to have time for anything other than getting under a blankie and watching Hallmark Original Movies.
That’s right, I said blankie. This is where I am at, psychologically, these days.
So, as you might recall, I am Christmas/winter holidays-challenged. I am not anti-Christmas or anti-winter holidays. This is not something I take a stand about. I am not a warrior in what Papa Bear (that’s Bill O’Reilly for you non-Colbert-Report-watchers) likes to call the War on Christmas. It’s just not something that I, on a very basic level, GET. And yes, I feel guilty about this. And lonely. I feel the holiday pressure and I feel bad that I remain so unmoved. I am like the Marlin Perkins of Christmas. An interested observer. I like the holidays, but I could take them or leave them, honestly. I’m glad they are here but I wouldn’t miss them if they were gone. I am a benevolent bystander of the holidays.
At least that’s what I thought until this weekend, when I was schooled by a Hallmark Original Movie. That I was watching from my Amazing Glaze. Under a blankie.
One of the things I tend to do around the holidays is try to plug into them via pop culture. Because, you know me, that’s how I roll. If there is a collective American unconscious you better believe it is wrapped up in visions of Scooby Doo and Harry Potter and John Wayne dancing in all of our heads. To that end, I watch Christmas movies. Far and away the only Christmas pop culture piece that has ever really gotten way down deep into my heart and mind is the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. Maybe it’s because I watched it every year since before I can remember. More likely it’s because I identify with Charlie Brown in a way that is almost spiritual. Among other parts of his character that I can identify with, his quest for understanding Christmas was deep to me as a kid. It pretty much still is. I’m serious. Watch that special, people. Not for Pollyanna Linus or tripped out Snoopy. But for the existential questioning of Charlie Brown. I’m not kidding. That shit is deep.
Anyway, back to this weekend. In my Charlie Brown like quest to find out the meaning of Christmas, I watch holiday movies. And this weekend, I watched the esteemed “Moonlight and Mistletoe” which was made for tv starring the incomparably-waxed-eyebrowed Candace Cameron Bure (of Full House fame) as Holly and the jolly-with-a-slur Tom Arnold as her father. This movie made me start to freak out a little. It had Christmas shorthand, and the Christmas shorthand was pointing its Scrooge-detection device RIGHT. AT. ME.
Let me list.
1. Candace is a woman who has moved to the the big city, abandoning a hometown where there are not a lot of opportunities. She has now made something of herself in the big city. To use Palin-esque language, she left the Real America (which is Christmas-y) and moved to the Fake America.
Me. That’s me, people.
2. In one of the first scenes, Candace enters her office to find her receptionist has covered her entire desk with cotton balls to represent a snow scene. Like, it looked like she had hot-glued the thing from edge to edge with crazy fluffy-ness. And then added figurines, and ornaments, and lights, and trees to the scene. There was no place for her to actually do any work on the desk. Candace tells the receptionist that she needs to tone it down. This is Christmas shorthand for Candace being an Evil Scrooge Beyotch.
But see, I thought Candace kind of had a point. You know? So far I am kind of Candace-like, which started to disturb me. It’s like watching 101 Dalmations and thinking to yourself “dang, I wish I had a puppy coat!” You’re not supposed to identify with the Christmas Beyotch. But I was.
3. Candace’s dad calls and tries to guilt her into coming home for Christmas. It is clear that she doesn’t want to. And that her dad is kind of a dick. Not a royal dick, but just kind of a dick. He tells her that Christmas is for family, like that makes up for the dickishness.
Guess what my feelings were on this one? I am a big fan of doing what you want in your heart, and not feeling bad about it, and also not being around dickish people even if they are related to you and especially if they are Tom Arnold. Stay in Fake America, Christmas Beyotch, just say no!
4. When Candace goes home, she runs into a friend from high school. The friend tells her that she is married, with two kids. She asks Candace if she is married or dating anyone or has kids or whatever. Candace replies that she doesn’t because she is too busy working. The friend looks at her like she is clearly a broken person with no hope. Because if you are single and without children, let alone single and without children ON CHRISTMAS, clearly we need to hold a telethon for you.
What does that have to do with Christmas, people? It’s like they just throw that shit in to make you want to cut someone.
5. Candace meets a cute man. He, we later find out, is evil and greedy. You know what the foreshadowing of the evilness is? Some dialogue that goes something like this. I am paraphrasing, but not by much.
Cute Evil Guy: I love to open presents Christmas Eve.
Candace: Christmas Eve? You don’t open presents on Christmas Eve. You open them Christmas morning. So that Santa can come the night before.
Cute Evil Guy: Oh yeah, of course.
This is where your suspicions of this guy are supposed to start. Because he doesn’t know when to open his goddamn Christmas presents. Alert the authorities.
6. Tom Arnold runs a business called “Santaville” which from what I could see, was a place where he dressed up like Santa every day, gave sleigh rides, and sold gaudy Christmas tchotchkes. Santaville is barren these days. Dad cannot pay his mortgage and he is 50,000 bucks in debt. Candace tells him he needs to find a way to pay his bills or else he needs to sell Santaville. His response? To wait for a CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.
Do you think the Federal Reserve folks know about this economic plan?
Candace is skeptical of her dad’s optimism. Which also is shorthand for Christmas-Challenged. Again, I am agreeing with Candace here. I do not pay my beels with Christmas miracles. Good thing too, as it’s apparent I do not have the Christmas balls to back it up.
There was more, but I think I have made my point. Rather than making me more in the Christmas spirit, this thing made me feel like I am the antagonist in a bad Hallmark movie, without the change of heart at the very end.
What is it going to take people? Am I going to be a Grinch forever? Is my heart two sizes too small? And are the two Christmas pop culture characters that I identify with the most Charlie Brown and CANDACE CAMERON BURE?
Now I see why Christmas depresses so many people.