The Blog

When The Holidays are Painful

Our family joke goes like this: If someone doesn't have a flat tire, a serious illness, or a major argument, it's not a good holiday season.
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Let's face it. For some of us, this is a lousy time of year.

It doesn't matter if the economy is good or bad, if the country is at peace or at war. As soon as the Halloween decorations go back in the attic, there's the old familiar knot in the stomach: uh-oh. They're back!

If you're like me, the best you can hope for is ambivalence. The good news is the holidays are here. The bad news is the holidays are here.
The good news is they will be over in about a week which means that if you hate them, they are almost over. (I will share a couple of my favorite tricks for making them go away faster. But you can't tell anyone where you learned these tricks or that you are using them, for reasons that will become clear in a couple of paragraphs.)

First, I need to confess that with very few exceptions, I have not been a fan of this time of year. Our family joke goes like this: If someone doesn't have a flat tire, a serious illness, or a major argument, it's not a good holiday season. (This year, it looked like we were winning the Trifecta but fortunately the illness was just a tiny tumor. Take that, scary doctors!)

If you drive in Manhattan this time of year, you know The Asshole Law is in effect. Every asshole with a drivers' license is on the bridges, in the tunnels, or trying to cut you off to get the last spot in the parking garage. Which is strange, come to think of it. I spent 40 minutes yesterday morning on the 59th Street Bridge. But there are no crowds in the department stores. Radio City Music Hall was more than half-empty last night, as was the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden on Sunday when we went to see Cirque du Soleil's Wintuk. There were lots of secret service people because Bill and Hillary Clinton were seated in one of the front rows. But without the Clinton entourage, there would have been even more empty seats.

If you have been kind enough to humor me by reading this far, as promised, here are my all-time favorite tricks, guaranteed to put the fun in dysfunctional or your money back:

Rule #1 for the holidays: Never leave home without The Magic Glasses. Put on these invisible glasses and everyone you see instantly becomes two-dimensional! Sprinkle a soupcon( note to Ed: need French c,)of humor and voila! You have transformed a Ghastly Holiday Event into your very own personal cartoon. Argumentative drunks sprout horns like characters from "The Far Side." (So do boring relatives, screaming children, and anyone who is angry or yelling.) It's also great for those unmentionable dates where you can't help wishing a trap door would open up under his seat or yours, depositing you to the comparative shelter of Sweeney Todd's basement.

Rule #2: The Magic Glasses will work when you are sober. Things could turn ugly if you've had a few drinks. Please wear your Magic Glasses responsibly.

Rule#3: If the cartoon characters are still annoying, use The Magic Vacuum Cleaner. Mr. Dyson will be jealous at how quickly and effortlessly it sucks up them two-dimensional assholes. Rule #2 must be in effect when using Rule #3.

Rule #4: Use The Rear-View Mirror. Fast forward to the 2nd weekend in January. Put the entire holiday season in your Rear-View Mirror and turn the corner. Maybe the new year will be a good one, maybe not so good. What you make of it is up to you.
And hey, It's less than three weeks to Ground Hog Day.

PS. The Magic Glasses also work on the phone, with your boss, at PTA meetings, and when you are about to lose it with your kid, spouse, or parents.

When you stop laughing, please let me know how these new rules are working for you. Your comments are greatly appreciated. Think of them as your holiday gift to someone who knows what it's like.