Actually, that’s probably a lie, and I can’t guarantee anything. But if you are the guy they keep handing the rake to, then you are undoubtedly the Rake Guy, and there’s nothing to do but keep raking. And watch for oncoming traffic.
And there goes 2018. How did it look? Did you have a good Christmas? Did you enjoy the holidays? Or did you feel press-ganged into some kind of irrational mass event, like Y2K except without the hysterical thrill of possible species extinction? My own views on le temps des fêtes have softened somewhat, or at least turned away as if from herd animals or inclement weather. For me, these days, the holidays seem like a kind of spaceship –– much hoo-ha and fanfare at launch, then the long, extended grey and sleepless sleepiness of constant inside-ness, and sideways considerations of crew, few of whom you actually chose, and time filled with time-filling tasks, whole days within days of dingy lighting and dimmed thinking, as if engaged in some kind of perpetual night shift where there is really nothing to do, or nothing of consequence can be considered, because everything is aimed at some constructed date in January, at which point we’ll land on a brand new planet, only imagined but somehow very real, and our own selves magically revitalized and refreshed, emerging spiritually armed and psychologically ready to do whatever it takes to lead that life which lives in some kind of waiting shadow world within us. Or something.
It’s sad that a simple children’s holiday has gone so psychologically nuclear on us, and that it’s now so beside-the-point for children. By the time my daughter’s three weeks of Christmas holidays finally began, she was more or less on a constant ambient loop of bragging about how she hadn’t done any schoolwork for a month. Pizza day, pyjama day, gift-exchange day, skating day, crafting day, PA day, movie night, games night, potluck, theatre… every day was another permission slip, another special lunch, or special lodestar thing (teddy bear, costume, narcotics, etc) stuffed into her backpack, concession money tucked into her pocket, and many notes-to-self on just where to be and when. I felt like someone’s batman, just waiting around with hot water and shaving kit.
Gosh, it is all too much? Future anthropologists, huddled around their oxygen fires in their underground survival bunkers, should have their own field day with that one. When I told my two office mates that I wasn’t taking any extra time off over the holidays, they looked at me like I’d just popped out of a coffin. But it’s the holidays, people always say, using the thing to justify the thing. I didn’t want to hurt their feelings by saying how nice it would be to come in when they were not there, how an empty office is the only time Christmas speaks to me.
So: hopefully you didn’t spend too much, or plan too much, or look for salvation, or otherwise lose your mind. I think the best you can expect is just to be exhausted. I think it’s that part of it, that helplessness before events, that I will always have an issue with. People don’t behave well under pressure, and somewhere in the background Christmas is always simmering with a certain level of Biblical anger. Like when God pulled a bear instead of a rabbit out of his hat…
~ 2 Kings 2:23-24
Rotten kids. They were probably high on whole pounds of baking and candy and iPad. I hear something called Fortnite is a thing? My daughter’s own psycho-chemical dependency is Roblox, where she wanders around something called MeepCity and
2) goes through the doorway or
3) turns on the TV.
Or so it seems to me. Which I guess is better than hunting down and murdering other digital simulacrums. Anyway, she’s only allowed forty minutes at a time, except when it’s just her and mom, and then all the parental controls are very, very off, and punctuated by a lot of yelling.
Okay, thanks for reading, and good luck in the New Year,
>> Bonus New Year’s Track <<
TEST 14A-8.3 Changing Figures of Speech for 2019
Complete the similes and then change the first ten of them to metaphors. Write those metaphors on a separate list. Then carry that list with you (neatly folded!) for the entirety of 2019. Further instructions and signs will reveal themselves in the sky.
1. On January 2nd, her resolutions already in tatters, Scarlett is as internally unmoored as a __________. Winter descends as dark and dispiriting as __________.
2. Juice cleanse, liver cleanse, Blueprint Cleanse… soon her colon feels like a __________ after __________.
3. Her heart becomes as dried and yellow as __________.
4. Gloom hangs like a __________ over the land.
5. Jasper does breath work and mindful movement and cognitive therapy and lectin-free diets like __________. Choose to be happy! he always says, like some kind of __________.
6. In fact, Jasper’s Instagram cheeriness feels like __________ in Scarlett’s intestines.
7. Her melancholy winks and twinkles until it becomes wholly __________.
8. The axe gleams and whispers as __________.
9. After midnight she moves as quietly as __________.
10. Jasper never sees her, never looks up, is as lost and mesmerized by his cellphone as __________.
11. The axe is as thirsty as __________.
12. The police treat Scarlett’s lack of resistance as __________.
13. The trial is faster than __________.
14. The verdict comes in as clear as __________.
15. The executioner’s song is sweeter than __________.
p.s.2. This is a version of my weekly Tinyletter, which you can subscribe to here.