Happy Merry What?

Posted by By at December 20, 2009 Print

“Merry Christmas” I said to Larry not giving a shit he’s Jewish.

“Hey, what’s with the traditional Christmas sentiment? He asks. Then adds, “People now say Happy Holidays or Season Greetings.”

Well, Larry, I don’t care.

Christmas, for me, is not about some baby born in a manger, whose mother was a virgin, and ends up nailed to a cross because some very fearful and dangerous religious folks were threatened by him and his message. Although, he showed them, huh? Because, according to the church, three days later he rose from the dead. That’s what happened. Who am I to argue with those facts? So, maybe it is about him? Or is that Easter? Wait. No, that’s about the born again bunny. Or is Christmas about that Fat guy in a red suit who squeezed down the chimney and gave the baby Jesus his first soap box to stand on. No wait, that was St. Nick, but it wasn’t a soap box. St. Nick’s the dude who showed up with his posse of three and gave the baby Jesus some herb. The Fat guy, aka Santa Claus or Kris Kringle, depends on which claymation show you are watching or what country you live in, is the CEO of the worlds largest toy factory located in the North Pole (although according to Wikipedia it’s in the mountains of Korvatunturi in Lapland, Finland) and loves to party with Elves and flies around the world in 24 hours in a magical sled with flying Reindeer bringing gifts to all the boys and girls who have been nice.

Christmas, for me, means we finally get to be good to each other for a few weeks before we go back to being assholes again. It’s the Spirit of Christmas. Unless of course you live in LA, where nobody really gives a shit and being an asshole is a permanent and normal way of life.

It’s not beginning to look like Christmas everywhere I go. I walk, rather I drive around LA and I don’t encounter many folks filled with the spirit of Christmas. Nor do I see Christmas lights hung in store windows or neighborhoods all aglow. And the only Christmas carols I hear are the ones playing in my head. There is no Christmas spirit here. Instead, I’m cut off and yelled at by some little Grinch of a man who could barely see over his steering wheel. Of course, he’s yelling at me from inside his car, screaming at his rear view mirror as he tries to threaten me with his eye contact. Oh, he’s a mean one, Mr. Grinch. I smile and blow him a kiss. The screaming little man slams into the car in front of him. Merry Christmas Mr. Grinch.

Later, I walk out of this meeting carrying a stack of papers and my back pack. I was excited to look them over again before I jump on my motorcycle and go home. These papers represented hope and possibly a new adventure,career wise, for me. It’s been a challenging couple of years to say the least and it’s been tough for me to find my Christmas Spirit. These papers represented a gift, a “Christmas” present I’ve been waiting for, for years. I should have put the papers away and read them when I got home but how was I supposed to know that some unaware bicyclist, in a Santa hat, would be riding on the sidewalk and three inches from the doorway. WHOOSH. SLAM. My papers go flying, I hit the pavement and he speeds away while flipping me the finger and calling me an asshole. I land at the feet of a very tall guy in a red shirt with a fake tan and a ridiculously large watch on his wrist standing in the doorway talking to a tiny woman with huge tits and a thing in her nose. Both ignore me as if what just happened didn’t happen and I’m not really laying on the ground staring at his shoes and the two wispy hairs on her big toe with the red and green nail polish. And since I’m not noticed, it makes sense that the tall guy never tells her she has something slimy hanging from her nose. But he doesn’t care anyway, he wants to bang her not pick her nose. I quickly get up and start collecting my Christmas gift, completely invisible to the giant fake Santa and the Elf with the triple D’s. As I’m picking up my stuff I turn and say to the busty Elf, “Excuse me but there’s a booger hanging out of your nose. Thought you should know.” She quickly wipes her nose and laughs uncomfortably. I follow up with, “Merry Christmas.” They walk back inside the doorway as they give me a forced insincere smile, the same awkward smile they would give to a homeless person asking for change.

I miss Christmas in New York. And I could really use the Spirit of Christmas now.

Okay, not every one living here is an angry unaware narcissist. I’ve met some wonderful people, a couple of chatty Canadians and some solid caring folks from Chicago and some very friendly, helpful New Yorkers, in this beautiful lie of a city. Back in NYC during the “Holiday Season” most folks still say Merry Christmas. Christmas is a state of mind. Not a religious holiday. It’s a time when we try and put our crap aside and make a sincere effort to be nicer and kinder to all. And us mean and rude New Yorkers become loving and warm for a brief moment in time. Christmas is my favorite time in NY. It’s magical. Manhattan is all lit up like one big Christmas Tree or should I call it a Holiday Tree. People say sorry and excuse me and smile more. The cold and the snow warms the heart of the New Yorker. The Christmas music playing in the stores jingles out into the streets as chestnuts are truly roasting on an open fire. New York and its people are even more amazing during this time of year. This is when I miss NY the most. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” NY finds compassion. The spirit in the air is contagious, you can’t help but smile and be nicer to one another. You even smile at the offensive smelly guy, who’s taking up way to much room, standing next to you on the subway. This time you buy a pencil from the “deaf mute guy” who walks up and down the subway car placing a card on every one’s lap, that says he’s a deaf mute and buying a pencil will help feed him and his family or something like that. You know he’s full of shit but this time you give him a buck for the ten cent pencil and as he walks by and collects his card you silently mouth to him “Merry Christmas,” even though you know he can hear. Christmas makes me want to be good.

I think LA could use a little Christmas Spirit and not some Holiday Season. Where can I find the Christmas Spirit in LA?

Later this same day, in the evening, an angry old man who hates the world scolds me, well more like yells and swings his cane at me, for walking my dog too close to his psychotic, barking, tiny Chihuahua wearing a Reindeer and snow pattern sweater.

“Merry Christmas,” I say to him hoping to diffuse his misdirected anger.

“Get your god damn dog away. Go walk your shit colored dog across the street!” He says even more pissed off.

“Who’s gonna miss you when you die old man? Shouldn’t you be dead already?” I say snapping back at this poor angry bastard.

Knowing, full well, that I should be a better person, seeing the lifetime of pain and misery and loss in this old man’s eyes, yet I give him back the same crap he gave me. I showed him no compassion. Maybe I’ll be kinder to the next asshole. I get caught up in the drama of LA sometimes and I don’t always walk away. I’ve lost the Christmas spirit. Or worse yet, I hope I have not become a Los Angelino. I need to find the Spirit of Christmas.

You’d think that old age mellows you out, brings you wisdom and perspective. Not in LA. Everyone here longs to be something other than they are. And this place can destroy the strongest of people. This bitter old man came out west prospecting for his gold, just like many others. But what he found was a pan full of dust and empty promises. He’s now broken and alone and prays that he dies before his dog does because he can’t suffer anymore loss. He knows his time is limited and whether he admits it or not Christmas makes him sadder. I should have been nice to him even though he was a dick. Where’s my Christmas Spirit?

Harley, my 15 year old shit colored dog raises his leg and pees on the Chihuahua. We cross the street.

“Merry Christmas, Ebenezer,” I mumble as I cross the street.

“It’s Happy Holidays!” The sad old man screams out, unaware of the irony.

Now here’s the contradiction – I love Los Angeles. It’s one of the most beautiful places I know. I love the ocean. The Mountains. Hollywood. Santa Monica. The Canyons. Mullholand Drive. But not the people. I don’t like the people here. But I’m not here because of the people. One day I’m sure I’ll make it work so I can live in NY from Thanksgiving to the New Year and here the rest of the time. But for now, I need to find the Christmas spirit here and so do the people of LA.

There’s the spiritual side of me that believes I attract these TYPES of people. I bring these experiences to myself. I choose to see the ugly side. I’m sure there are wonderful and amazing people hiding somewhere here in LA, I just haven’t found them yet. And the spiritual side of me says that maybe I’m not ready to find them yet. I don’t know. I don’t always understand my spiritual side. However, these people and experiences are not exclusive to LA. I do know there are stupid drivers in NY and assholes, liars, mean people, angry people, violent and selfish people. But here’s the difference – somehow during Christmas, in NY, these people take a break from being assholes and make an effort to be good to each other. New York becomes one big warm, inviting and compassionate family.

When I woke up this morning my thirteen month old son gave me a kiss. He’s never really done that before. Unprompted by me or my wife, he just leaned over and kissed me. I kiss him all the time but he never kisses back. This morning my son kissed me for the very first time. He leaned over puckered up and kissed me. He just gave me everything I needed.

I found the Christmas spirit this morning, it was right in front of me all the time. It’s not just living in NY or missing from LA. It’s right here and it’s got nothing to do with location. My son was holding onto it for me and he showed me where and what it was. He gave me the spirit this morning. My son kissed me today.

Maybe my son will give the sad old man a kiss too. I know that’s exactly what he needs to warm and heal his cold, wounded heart. Or maybe he should give LA a kiss. Perhaps, then Los Angelinos will have the Christmas Spirit too and show each other some compassion. I know that I’ll be nicer and spread some compassion even if it’s not reciprocated.

As for now, I’ll hang some stockings on the kitchen counter with care and listen to the little drummer boy, pa rump a pum pum rump a pum pum, as three French Hens and a ham roast in the oven while I’m dreaming of a white Christmas just like the ones I used to know were visions of Sugar Plum Fairies, in Christmas thongs, danced in my head. I’m now in a “Christmas State of Mind.”

Merry Christmas, Assholes.


Related Posts