The Eighth Page

Christmas on the Moon

Though I wish I could say otherwise, my immediate family is not a particularly festive crew when holiday time rolls around. My mother, usually dresses as a high-effort scary old woman for Halloween, guards the driveway, stalking back and forth across the gravel holding a broom and a moderately-sized bowl of those Reisen chocolate things. Not that many trick-or-treaters ever come, most years; the sumptuous Bavarian treats usually fall prey not to eager kiddies dressed as crack hoes or Trent Lott but to my dad, whom we have taken to calling “The Big Trick-or-Treater.” When Christmas time rolls around, we do even less. While houses down the street adorn their front yards with Baby Jesus’and wisemen and sheep – sometimes in configurations that would most likely shock all but the most avant-garde interpreters of the Word of God – we do nothing. We use the $14.99 we would have spent on a glowing noses savior down at the hardware store with all the Christmas decorations to buy bigger, shinier toys. We do even less for Kwanzaa. I don’t even know a word for how little we do. And Hanukkah is as totally foreign to us as indoor plumbing was to Derrick Kuan before he came to Andover. (Editor’s Note: Before Derrick came to study at Andover, he was a member of a reclusive band of coastal Californian hunters and gatherers. Somewhere between a gang and a group of cave men, The Beach Bunnies, as they styled themselves, roamed through backyards and swimming pools, all the while shunning that most basic element of hygiene, indoor plumbing. Derrick was recruited as PA’s first student “of cave-man-gangbanger extraction.”) That being said, this past Christmas and New Year’s was a blast because we got to spend them with the one branch of the family into which the Scrooge-like nature that has rotted the other branches has not yet made inroads. My cousins, aunt, and uncle, who live in an isolated region of Canada, are big on Christmas. They have, in past years, won two awards for the fervor – borderline fanaticism, if you ask this reporter – with which they celebrate the birth of our Savior. One from the Northern Canada Commission on Bears, Avoiding Bears, Tall Trees, and Christmas, and the other from the Coalition of Christians Who Like Jesus. This year, the theme for the decorations of their compound was “Christmas on the Moon.” This idea is pretty self-explanatory. For the sake of brevity, I will not explain the centerpiece that sat in the middle of the table from which we ate our meal of turkey shaped into the Three Wisemen aboard the space shuttle Discovery. I will only say that it is a work of powerful religious and aeronautic innovation. New Year’s Eve was a big time for the relatives. One of the big hits of the special day was the family sharing of New Year’s resolutions. Uncle Marty’s resolution (the bigger question here is, “How do I have an uncle named Marty?” Marty? What sort of bargain basement corruption of the honest, straight-forward Martin is that? Man alive…) was to “kill that bastard Richard Simmons.” Richard Simmons, evidently, is on Uncle Marty’s black-list; stored away in some black corner of my avuncular homeboy’s brain is the sordid booty-shaking work-out routine Marty once performed at a Simmons workshop in Las Vegas. I wasn’t able to extract any reasoning from Marty’s jihad against the man who has slimmed Middle America’s collective middle to the non-threatening jams of Sister Sledge. To wrap up this holiday missive (thereby doing a great service for all whose charge it is to protect the English language from milking cockeyed ramblings for laughs from an unsuspecting audience) I will tell you what my New Year’s resolution is. Can you guess? No, no, it is not to profit from increasing my word power or even to stop trying to profit from the sale of the Down and Dirty with Clem and Olivia video collection, a series of tapes of catty fighting and name-calling between those two lovable cut-ups late at night in the romantic confines of the Phillipian room. Here it is: it is to sponsor the Phillipian’s first-ever Most Interesting NY’s Resolution contest: email with your most interesting New Year’s resolution and I will print it and then make fun of you in the paper!!!!