Be Wishful What You Care For

I bought what I believed to be a brownie. Biting into it, I found that it was an oversized piece of chocolate fudge. Now I am torn. Am I disappointed for not getting what I expected or am I pleased because, ooh, fudge!


Pagan Xmas - Repost

She asked it with a snide tone, an accusatory tone. It wasn't a polite question. It wasn't some feel good, love the season, tinsel, candy cane, bows on baby's brows, family dinner and wassail kind of question. It was a sharp tongued, you're not Christian, what do you know, how dare you cross my path whilst shopping, heathens ruin Jesus' America, thank you for corrupting our second-most-holiest of days, kind of question. Like I said, with a snide tone.

No, I'm not Christian, but Christmas is, nonetheless, a holy day.

Christmas, to me, has nothing to do with miracle births, overbooked inns or trekking wise men. It's not about shopping, eating, giving or receiving. Sure, these things happen but they're not what it's about. It's not about snowmen. It's not about company parties. It's not about knicknacks on trees or mistletoe. It's not about any of those things but still, the day is holy, holy indeed.

Why? Why is Christmas holy to a Pagan like me? Because Christmas isn't just Christmas. Christmas is simply the modern, Christian, western dominated incarnation of a global phenomenon. Whether the customs are the same, whether the theological justification is the same, whether the cultural significance is the same, or not, this event is recognized by virtually all people on Earth. The solstice, the apex of the planet's orbit, the shortest day of the year, is observed, in one form or another by all peoples.

To Pagans like me Yule is a literal holiday; we celebrate the end of the sun's waning and the brightening of the new year. In much of the Muslim middle feast the day of Shabe Yaldā is celebrated with feasting and family. In China, Tāngyuán dumplings are shared to symbolize family unity during the festival of Dōngzhì. Jews, of course, have Hanukkah commemorating the miraculous dedication of the Second Temple. Though, in the Talmudic tradition, the the solstice day is properly called Teḳufat Ṭebet, commemorating the day when Judge Jephtha of Gilead sacrificed his daughter to the tetragrammaton god. And, to the followers of the Nazarene, it is the day that the King of Kings was humbly born. Two billion people, a third the world's population call this day Christmas but the other four billion still have names for this day, or a day shortly adjacent. This holiday may be one of the only cultural universals, one of the only things that everyone, everywhere can understand and agree upon.

That's what Christmas it to me. It's the one day when everyone is of the same mind. It's an annual reminder that, despite the strife and pain in the world, beneath the tragedy of the human-invented condition, beyond the distrust and the misdeeds each group of people seem so intent on heaping upon all others, there will always be some stripe of similarity. For all of our hard work dwelling on colors, nationalities, ethnicities and, yes, faiths, this day has significance to all people, regardless. If that does not spark reverence, awe; if that does not lead one to say, "today is holy," then I don't know what will.

Christmas is the single best reminder that we are all so much more alike than we will ever be different. That's Christmas to me.

Brightest blessings.
Peace on Earth, goodwill to men.


Fuck Me, There's No Room At The Inn

It has been mentioned to me, in some less than polite tones, that I've not been posting for much of this year. I've been directing most of my creative energies towards a novel, the first draft of which is nearly done. Also, I bled out much of my life essence working on a multi-city, period piece, sports movie and it took me some time to recover from the psychic beating.

That said, here is a childhood memory germane to the impending holiday.

My grandmother, the matriarch of our family, had always taken great care and pride in decorating the house and in making her favorite holiday a major occasion for all concerned. This included both a bevy of presents that defied all concepts of humility and a decoration regime that stretched to all corners of the house. Upon moving to Georgia in my eleventh year, my mother followed her own mother's example and set herself to a month of Yuletide hall-decking.

Sometime in the third week of decorating, with the holiday itself only a week or so off, Mum unpacked the nativity scene that normally adorned our living-room end table to discover that the hideous three inch plastic doll representing the baby Jesus had gotten lost in our cross-country move some ten months before. This was of no great significance; the doll, purloined from my aunt's childhood toybox, had no emotional or religious attachment. However, the loss of our family's stand-in for the newborn King of Kings did mean that I would be sent to the store with a mind to putting the Christ back in Christmas.

So I schlepped the mile and a half to the neighborhood Wal-Mart and had a go at the toy section, but nothing appropriate or within my five dollar allotment made itself apparent. Undaunted, I tried the rear corner of the store that housed the bulk fabric and sewing notions, products I don't believe big-box stores even carry these days.

While perusing this least-accessed portion of the store, poking around among the thimbles, seam rippers and bolts of felt, I was approached by a man that might have been Garth Brooks' stunt double. He was perhaps thirty-five, two heads taller than I, sporting a cowboy hat, a loudly striped shirt and a belt buckle the size of a turkey platter.

Unprompted, he informs me, using oddly flowery language that, were I to place a live chicken on my manhood and then decapitate it, the bird's death spasms cause a mind-blowing sensation that cannot be equaled by any other act of carnal deviance. And, he begins this bit of instruction with the heavily accented statement, "I got somethin' that's better than sheep."

He then smiled at me and asked what I was doing in the farthest and least traveled corner of the store.

"I'm looking for Jesus." I said nonchalantly.

"Oh," he replied as he turned and walked straight away.

There was a point to this story, but I've forgotten it. I told you I was worn out. Merry Fucking Xmas.