>>> Primal Urges
By staff writer Nathan DeGraaf

December 6, 2006

Michelle: I hate Christmas.
Fuck you.
What did you just say?
Sorry, Michelle, but Christmas is my boy. I can’t let you be dissin’ my boy like that.
You’re not black and you’re not funny.
I’m… I’m a little black.

You guys probably won’t believe this, but in many ways I hope the best for people. For example, I hope that every person reading this loves the smell of their home on Christmas. If you hate that, your family life probably sucked. A lot. Naturally, you’re not alone. Everyone’s family life really sucked, but to hate the way your place smells at Christmas time (or Hanukah time or Kwanzaa time or Gaelic New Year’s or whatever holidays make you happy) means that, essentially, you’re gonna be a depressed drunk come the holidays.

And I hate you people. You always bring me down.

“Everyone has problems. Let’s not bring them up in front of perfectly good food.”

So, because I’m a charitable motherfucker (says so on my tattoo—and if you can’t believe your tattoo, what can you believe?), I have decided to list my seven guidelines to not totally sucking ass during the holidays. There’s even a contingency plan at the end (I gave this piece several uninterrupted minutes of forethought—oh yeah, it’s extra mile time) so that anyone who reads it will understand exactly how not to make me want to smack them in the mouth at Christmas time (or Hanukah time or Kwanzaa time or Cystic Fibrosis Week—whatever tides your Yule).

No need to thank me; these seven rules are my gift to you.

Rule #1: Don’t Get All Mopey

I hate mopey people, especially when there’s much good food and drinking to be had. Now, if you’ve no good food or drinking, you’ve every right to be mopey (and should probably go somewhere that offers either food or drinks, but preferably both). Mopey people crawl into little shells and sigh a lot when I’m trying to tell the story about the time my brother Tom and I saw a 70-year-old man fall out of a truck while we picked up an antique fire alarm for my step-dad. And I just can’t tell that story if someone’s sighing all the time. Besides, when you sigh in a room full of family and friends, everyone knows that you’re sad and it makes them want to throw food at you. And that’s good food right there.

Rule #2: Don’t Bitch

If you’re not cracking jokes, telling stories, or making meaningless chit chat, I don’t want to hear you. When I’m enjoying my Cystic Fibrosis Week, I don’t want to hear complaints, bitching, whining, or any other form of negativity on any subject other than the weather or a sports team. That’s it. Those two. And even then not so much.

Rule #3: Leave the Drama at Home

Everyone has problems. Let’s not bring them up in front of perfectly good food. Please people, remember the food.

Rule #4: If You’re Depressed, Don’t Drink

And if you drink too much and you’re depressed, please don’t get all mopey and start crying in a corner or something. Nothing renders a good piece of Christmas music more useless than a guy hunched over in a puddle of his own tears, firmly grabbing a glass of whiskey and crying out his ex-girlfriend’s name. If I see that, I may boot you in the face. So please, for the sake of God, Jesus, the family, and my right boot, don’t drink heavily if you’re already depressed.

Rule #5: The Game Stays On

This is not a joke or a test. The game stays on.

Rule #6: The Only Tears Allowed are Tears of Joy

I’ll accept it when little kids cry, mainly because I can get in a lot of trouble if I boot one in the face, but also because, well I mean, they’re kids for chrissakes. And I’ll accept it when women cry tears of joy (preferably over a great gift or son’s return from the military rather than say, her husband getting hit by a bus and dying tragically, but whatever), but I do not want anyone else to cry ever during the holidays. Unless they want me to leave. Because that’s my natural response to that level of emotion. It’s called the flight response, I think. At any rate, no fucking crying during my Gaelic New Year’s.

Rule #7: Just Accept the Christmas Songs for a Little While

I know most of them suck, but damn man, this holiday has a freaking soundtrack. The least you can do is not bitch about it for a couple of weeks.

Contingency Plan: If you really have no interest in not being an emotional douche over the holidays, you can always be like my buddy Brick and walk around saying things like, “Christmas is a capitalist ploy to inject money into the economy and increase consumerism,” and, “Bah humbug.” Everyone loves a villain, and it makes for fun conversation.

Now I realize almost five of you may actually see me for Christmas (Hi, Mom), but I figure that whatever makes me happy during Kwanzaa, could make you happy as well. If everyone would just shut the hell up, gorge themselves on drink and food, enjoy the music and watch the games, well, every Christmas would be a great one.

And I wouldn’t have to punch anyone.