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Sweatpants & Pop Culture | Festivus 2018

By Jessica Grey

Y’all.

Y’ALL.

I don’t know about you but I have had a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad 2018. VERY BAD. I’m way past “there will never be enough booze on this planet” bad; I’m talking “we’re lucky I’m still upright and using complete sentences (most of the time), rather than curled in the fetal position, sobbing uncontrollably in a tiny, muddy, hidey-hole” kind of bad here. And that kind of year does not lend itself to holiday cheer. Not even a little bit. Not that I haven’t tried: I’ve gotten a few gifts for a few folks and I actually have cookies in the oven as I write this. But that’s a festive as I can get during a holiday season that seems to expects spending money and requires joyfulness—genuine or not—and demands togetherness—whether joyful or not. I’m neither joyful nor do I have money to spend; and what togetherness I do have to look forward to is tainted in my brainpan by the extensive losses I’ve experienced.

So, this year, I’ve largely opted out of celebrating the holidays. I am hosting a Solstice potluck, that’s my “celebration” this year. On Christmas Day, I’ll likely be on the couch, nursing my recent injury (*shakes fists at stairs*), stuffing my face with homemade queso, and watching Die Hard. That’s what I need right now. I need to *not* celebrate. I need it to be okay that I’m not happy—no one would be happy after the year I’ve had and being forced to pretend otherwise is really emotionally violent. I need… FESTIVUS.

Where to start?! Bad drivers? Inconsiderate jerks? Malignant narcissists? Poorly designed stairwells that conspire with my feet to assault me?

Mind you, Festivus isn’t just some holiday show writers made up for Seinfeld. Festivus was actually made up by one the father of one of those show writers and has been celebrated as early as 1966! Dan O’Keefe did change some particulars—like the Festivus pole, in lieu of the holiday’s original clock in a bag nailed to the wall—before jumped into the mainstream by way of the Seinfeld episode, “The Strike.” Similarly, the meaning of “for the rest of us” changed when it was introduced to popular culture as well: rather than the “for the rest of us who are just sick and tired of all the forced trappings of the holidays” that it has generally come to mean, “for the rest of us” originally meant those of us still alive, as it was added to the traditional greeting/announcement of Festivus after the passing of the holiday’s originator’s mother.

So, let’s bring out our unadorned poles. Let’s gather ‘round that yummy spread set out on the Festivus dinner table. Let’s air our gotdanged grievances. And for the love of all that is good and right, let’s have some feats of strength! I, for one, have a shitton of rage and I need to unleash a farm-fresh, free-range load of whoopass on someone!

Here’s a song and some tasty, liquid, Festivus courage to get us all in the Festivus spirit and ready for those feats of strength—in heart, if not in body.

And to those of you who are also feeling the weight of the year and these holidays and, like me, just can’t seem to muster up the whatever to be all “merry and bright,” please know that you are not alone. There are a lot of us out here who are feeling the same way and I’m sending love and light to each of you and holding back a little for me too. And, guess what? This shitshow year is almost over. Just a few more days and you will have survived it. I am so proud of you for sticking it out. You’re doing great—even if it doesn’t feel that way, trust me: you are.

 

Creative Commons License
Featured Image: A Festivus Pole by https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A_Festivus_Pole.jpg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

 

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