It’s taken this long, but, in my mind, the first Christmas season of the new millennium has finally begun. I’m sure, like with most of you, the Christmas season doesn’t officially begin until one little event happens. It may be the first snowfall. It may be when Santa first arrives at the mall. It may be when you see A Charlie Brown Christmas on TV. But, with me, it’s a rather recent tradition. It started, oh, only about three years ago. For me, the Christmas season doesn’t begin until I see the music video for White Christmas by the Jingle Cats. You’ve all heard this one. It’s with all various cats meows run through a synthesizer, so it sounds like a bunch of cats are singing White Christmas. That is, without a doubt, the most annoying Christmas song ever created. And MuchMusic plays it every Christmas, now. I saw it this morning, and I knew, Christmas was upon us, and that I should perhaps write a Christmas column.
Now, I know what you are thinking. You are saying to yourself, “Why, oh why, Mark, are you writing a Christmas column? Why aren’t you finishing that one about your trip to Camrose at the start of November? Why haven’t you finished that one you started back in August? Hell, why haven’t you finished that short story you started in October?” Get off my back, you bastards! It’s my column, I’ll write whatever I feel like. It’s Christmas, a time for peace on Earth and goodwill towards humans, so leave me alone or I’ll blow your heads off, you nimrods.
Actually, my original inception for a Christmas column was going to be to provide a blow-by-blow description of my office Christmas party. But, it was dreadfully dull. That idea got abandoned pretty quick, and here’s the only surviving paragraph:
“I took a sip of the eggnog. The familiar sting of alcohol scratched at the back of my throat. Yes, I don’t drink, but I didn’t want to offend anyone. So, I kept drinking it. Another sip. Another sting. I filled my plate with the turkey, ham, pyrogies, and cabbage rolls all prepared by the boss. She, the big boss, and a few other department heads were already bad-mouthing the department heads and employees they didn’t invite. Another sip. Another sting. I headed downstairs to the rumpus room where the boss had set up a dining table. Most of my co-workers were already down there, having moved off into cliques and talking about their pathetic little lives. I had nasty flashbacks to many a lunch hour in high school. Another sip. Another sting. My eyes soon wandered to the boss’ video collection. Being the mother of four little girls, the home video library was filled with nothing but animated movies. Floor to ceiling of animated movies. True, there were a few gems in there, like Kiki’s Delivery Service and Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, but it was over-saturated with films like Disney’s Aladdin XIII: Buy This Or Your Kids Will Hate You. I took a step back, and all the clamshell packages looked the same. Nothing more than mindless pulp passing as children’s entertainment. Another sip. Another sting.”
See, that would have been dreadfully boring and depressing as a holiday column. So, now I’m stuck for an idea for a holiday column.
I suppose I could talk about my favorite holiday special. Actually, it’s not really a special, but it’s something I would like to see someday. I just want some TV station to do a back-to-back airing of both Christmas episodes of Batman: The Animated Series. The first one is called Christmas With The Joker. The Joker escapes from Arkham Asylum on Christmas Eve, takes over Gotham’s airwaves, and begins broadcasting his own warped Christmas special. Can Batman and Robin find the Joker and pull the plug on his show before he murders his special guests at midnight? The second one is called Holiday Knights, and was based on a comic called The Batman Adventures Holiday Special. It’s actually three Batman short cartoons. The first one has Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn using Ivy’s mind control formula to take over Bruce Wayne and make him treat them to a holiday shopping spree. Can Bruce Wayne snap out of it, become Batman, and stop these two before his credit rating is ruined? The second story has Barbara Gordon doing some last minute Christmas shopping, only to run into Clayface. Can Batgirl stop this shapeshifting menace? The third and final one takes place on New Year’s Eve. The Joker is going to set off a hypersonic pulse in Gotham Square at midnight, killing all the New Year’s revelers. Can Batman and Robin stop him in time? Just a simple back-to-back airing of these two episodes, that’s all I ask.
Speaking of Christmas specials, this resurrects the memory of something I proposed to Chuck Loves The World creator Kenten Bowick about a year ago. With the holidays upon us, we find ourselves all wrapped up in the revelry of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Ramadan, the Winter Solstice, and all sorts of other religious and secular festivals. But, the most overlooked holiday at this time has to be Boxing Day. This is the one holiday where its true meaning has been lost over the years. So, my proposal to Kenten: the Chuck Loves The World Boxing Day Special. The plot was simple: Chuck and the gang head off to the mall on Boxing Day to return crappy gifts and take in the sales, only to learn the true meaning of the holidays. The Bug could be all hyper with the smorgasbord of people to sting. The Worm could be like Linus in A Charlie Brown Christmas: sort of mellow and the only one who really knows what’s going on. But, whereas Linus quoted scripture to get his point across, the Worm would get up on a table in the food court and start yelling at the people walking by. The Virus, sadly, would be left home, sick with “antibiotics.” And Ratsputin, well, someone this evil could have a lot of fun in a crowded mall. Who knows? Kenten once told me that he was attempting to write a Star Wars fanfic to exercise his creative muscles, and he suggested that I should try one. Maybe a Chuck fanfic would be more up my alley.
All this talk of Chuck reminds me of my recurring character, Chuck. He’s back from Nova Scotia for the holidays right now, and he says he’s got a present for me. I should track him down. He left his computer on the east coast, so I don’t think he’s checking his e-mail. At first I thought I did have his phone number, but then I remembered that it was the number to his old place. For Christmas, he’s probably at his parents, who’s number I don’t have. So, should I go through directory assistance to find his parents’ number, or let my laziness win the day? I guess it all depends on how badly I want that present, and how badly I want to give Chuck his. Yes, when he told me he got me a present, I felt obligated to get him one.
Speaking of obligations, I was really consumed with guilt over not being able to move in with L, so I got her a gift, too. I don’t know if she wants it, though. I mean, back in November, she told me she was thinking about becoming a pagan. So she probably doesn’t celebrate Christmas anymore. She probably does something like celebrate the Winter Solstice by dancing naked around a bonfire. But hey, I’m open minded and willing to try out other religious festivities.
But, in the interim, I’ll stick with Christmas. Sure, it means having to put up with the Jingle Cats, but we must never forget the true meaning: getting presents. So, sit back, raise a glass of eggnog, toast the name of Brian Boitano, and merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!