More and more it seems holidays come by, namely Christmas and the New Year, and go on and never turn out exactly as I had planned. I have this grandiose vision of myself and my family gathering in front of a warm fireplace calmly enjoying the general peace and quietly relaxing in the overall aesthetic of such picturesque imaginings.
But nothing ever goes this way.
First, there’s the fact that we’re waiting for either of my brothers-in-law to show up though they’ve given explicit times of arrival. Then, either on or the other brings along a girlfriend that we were absolutely certain that they were no longer dating or seeing casually or generally sleeping with occasionally and we scatter to confer about what to do considering the lack of gifts that are available for this recent arrival. Then our daughter needs a nap. I mean, “Can she wait another hour or two?” I GUESS THAT’S A NO AND HOLY HELL HOW DID SHE LEARN TO MAKE SOUNDS LIKE THAT? Was the cat just licking this half of the turkey? Which cat? I saw Chevy jump down from the counter. YOU saw Taboo up there? Does it matter which cat was licking the fucking bird? OH shit we forgot to start the mashed potatoes. Where did your brother go? What do you mean he left? Is he coming back?
Dot dot dot…
And yet, I have this intense desire to host a large family gathering at my house when I have a house in which to host it. Why the hell would I want to do that? Awww Yiss…mother fucking movies man. I call it the Griswold Effect, named of course after the forsaken Clark W. Griswold of National Lampoon fame. One of my all-time favorite Christmas movies. No matter how much goes wrong, Clark is determined to have that perfect Rockwell holiday. And after it all falls apart, he realizes that maybe that was the reality of the dream. There is no perfect holiday. Nothing comes out quite like the pictures. No Bing Crosby singing carols to the family as Dick van Dyke carves up the turkey in the background and Ma Cleaver sets the table as a great fire roars in the stone fireplace next to the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree dressed in beautiful baubles. Nope.
But do I still strive for such a holiday. Of course I do. It is the manly thing to do, I guess. The testosterone drives my to do it. Perhaps I’m the only one stricken by the Griswold Effect, but I certainly hope I am not.