Ho ho ho! Christmas is nearly upon us, as those of you with calendars will notice. And though the winter holidays are a time of celebration, a time of greed, and a time of gluttony, it is also (supposedly) a time for reflection.
I’m not invited to my parents’ house this Christmas. They don’t like transsexuals, it would seem. Chances are, I will spend the day alone. So, lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my Christmases past, and I’ve come to the conclusion a lot of them are fucking stupid. And I’ve decided to share them with you.
Winter is a religious experience for my mother. Not because of the supposed birth of Christ, or whatever Hanukkah’s for, or even because of the presents. No. You see, my mother is a skier.
Every year as the snow began to fall, she would become sweet tempered and jovial. She’d get this slightly manic glint in her eye, and my brother and I knew it was ski season.
There are two different kinds of skiing. There’s downhill or alpine, which is the fun kind where you’re sliding down a mountain with a pair of sticks clamped to your boots, and there’s cross country, which is exactly what it sounds like: Going on a hike while you just so happen to be wearing skis.
My mother was feverishly devoted to the boring kind. The obsession started when I was nine. My brother was four. Every year, she’d pack us into the family shitmobile, poking us with the tips of her ski poles if we didn’t move fast enough. Up the mountain we’d drive, to the local cross country skiing area. Her fanatical devotion to this horrible sport bordered on frightening sometimes.
Mom would be moving along at a swift pace, caught up in the quiet serenity of the snow-blanketed outdoors, exclaiming about how amazing everything was . My brother and I would be trailing behind, trudging through the snow, freezing our faces off, and feeling thoroughly miserable, wishing we were at home playing Sonic 2, or really, anywhere but there. Mom paid no heed to our complaints and drove us along like a team of sled dogs.
The worst of these excursions into the wilderness was the annual Lantern Ski, possibly the most ill-advised idea in the history of winter sports. On Christmas Eve, you’d go up the mountain in the pitch black, to tromp through the woods in the middle of the night, the ski trails only dimly lit by small lanterns. What fun. If you were lucky enough not to be devoured by a large predator and you made it to the chalet, there was roaring fire, and a potluck with hot chocolate, and goodies that all the skiers would bring. This was the only reason I didn’t stay in the car, playing Pokemon by the light from the radio display.
Thankfully, we had avoided being killed by some horrible beast, drank our fill of hot chocolate, and had returned to the parking lot. It had been bitterly cold that night, and my brother and I were frozen stiff and just happy to be going home.
Mom went to unlock the trunk to put away our shit. She slid the key in the lock and turned. The lock was frozen solid, and the key snapped. This was the worst thing in the history of the world.
Luckily, she did have a big blocky cell phone, and was able to reach my Dad, but it would take about half an hour for him to arrive with his nice warm car and best of all, the spare key. Instead of waiting patiently in the parking lot, my mother led her two frostbitten children back into the dark scary woods full of wild animals to the chalet.
We’d been waiting around for what seemed like a long time. I don’t know for sure, because I was ten, and time always passes slowly when you’re waiting. The crowd of winter torture enthusiasts had thinned out, and so Alex and I descended on the left over treats like a pack of vultures, greedily stuffing our faces with as much as we could cram in there.
I found what I thought at the time to be a left over tray from one of those Pot of Gold boxes of chocolates. Greedy child that I was, I happily gobbled them up. Turns out the were hollow chocolate shells filled with liquor.
When my father finally arrived he was greeted by the sight of my mother in a state of monumental fury, my brother in tears, and me, drunk off my face and throwing up all over. And to all a good night.
One fine Christmas morning, my brother Alex woke everyone up at a foul, horrible hour. He had always been an early bird, and it was especially early on Christmas.
So, out of bed the family shuffled bleary-eyed and groggy, to discover that Santa Claus, that generous fat bastard had left us a castle playset.
There were towers and horses and knights and a king and queen, and even a princess. You’d think a two year old would be overjoyed, right? Wrong.
Alex had been spiritually-inclined since he was very young. He’d claimed to talk to angels, and see the ghost of my great grandmother not long after she’d died. My parents thought he had some sort of ESP. I just thought he was weird.
1997 was the year Princess Diana died, and he’d really fixated on that since it happened that summer. So instead of playing with his new toy, he took the princess out of the castle set, and built a fucking tomb for her in his room. Why? Because the fucking princess is with the angels now. It remained there for years and he never touched the princess toy again.
On the outskirts of town, was The Hill. You know, the one massive mother of a sledding hill. The one all the children of the town play on all day, building ramps and deathtraps, and hurling snowballs at one another
We were at this hill one fine winter day. The sun was out, and the hundreds of kids that had barreled down the hill had compacted the snow into hard slippery ice. Ideal tobogganing conditions. Calvin would be proud. By some miracle, it was completely deserted. We were the only family there.
And holy shit did we go fast. We kids played there for hours, sometimes going airborne and landing in a thorn bush or slamming into a tree, but we were kids and we didn’t give a fuck. Sometime in the late afternoon, my father, standing atop the hill silhouetted in the setting sun like some victorious general, called to us that it was time to go home.
My brother and I whined and demanded to go down the hill one more time. Dad was emphatic that we return to the car like RIGHT FUCKING NOW. We ignored him and went down again anyway.
When we returned to the car, Dad was furious. We couldn’t comprehend why. I mean, sure we’d disobeyed him but it was a pretty minor offense. I had no idea why he was seething with such rage.
He leaped into the car, and as I settled into the back seat, I asked, “Why are you so angry? You only had to wait like thirty more seconds.”
He whipped his head around, his face red, veins on his neck standing out. His eyes were wide and bloodshot, and he moved his face inches from mine. Spit flying from his jaws, he bellowed:
“I GOTTA TAKE A SHIT!!”
The rest of us sat in stunned silence on the way back to town, biting the insides of our mouths; laughing would only make it worse.
Fifteen minutes we drove back towards what passed for civilization in that part of Canada., hurtling down the road way over the speed limit. My father refused to stop at any of the gas stations or restaurants that we passed. Apparently only our home toilet was strong enough to withstand such an angry shit.
We pulled into our driveway, and my dad unbuckled his belt faster than Matt unbuttons his pants and bolted into the house quicker than I’ve ever seen him run. Everyone else remained in the car, howling with laughter until tears stained our jackets and our faces hurt.
The image of my dad yelling his immortal words in my face is forever burned into my brain.
When I was fifteen, I was a real asshole. My parents had just moved us a four hour drive away from our previous residence, to an excruciatingly dull little town called 100 Mile House. Alex and I were there with Mom, while Dad stayed behind until our old house had sold.
I wasn’t fitting in, I wasn’t making new friends, I just missed my girlfriend (who is now retroactively a lesbian, I suppose) and I missed my friends. In addition to my more obvious issues. And since the house hadn’t sold, I didn’t see why we couldn’t just move back and then everything would be fine. I was a huge bitch because I had a very special unique pain no one else could possibly understand.
So I did nothing but fight with my mother and quite intentionally made life hell for her just so I could get my way. Yes, I was a huge asshole, I was wrong, and I still regret this. Things culminated with me dropping the cunt-bomb on her on my 15th birthday, and I ended up with gifts being thrown at my head.
So come Christmas, I didn’t want to be there. I bought a bus ticket back to my hometown to stay with my friend Matt (not our Matt) and to see my father. I loved them. They were the Weasleys to the Dursley-ness of my parents. Loud, lots of kids, and a lot of fun.
The bus radio was tuned to CBC. Every year, they would read these melancholy little Christmas vignettes about being drunk and alone, or being poor with no presents. This year, they were reading stories about killing unwanted kittens with a rock. Yeah. Awesome Christmas cheer. I did my best to ignore it, but one issue of PSM will not occupy you for four hours.
I had to wait around for a transfer in Kelowna, where I live now, and I had a few hours to kill. So, I thought I’d go to GameStop because I’d never lived in a town with a GameStop before. It was still a big deal. Needless to say, it was dark, I didn’t know the city and I got very very lost.By the time I found my way, GameStop was closed.
Now that I know the geography of that scenario I have no idea how the hell I could have gotten lost, but whatever.
I noticed I was running out of time to get back to the bus station, so I took shortcuts through ditches and fields that were actually long cuts, and made it back with only a few minutes to spare, wet, shivering, and empty-handed.
By Christmas Eve, I’d been staying with my friend for a few days. That afternoon, my Dad came by with a box of presents. He begged me to come home with him for Christmas, but I refused. I made it quite clear I wanted nothing to do with them. And at the time I didn’t. The sight of my father dropping the Christmas box by the door, and slowly walking back to his car alone, wiping away tears is one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen. It still breaks my heart thinking about it.
My friend’s mother had…quite a voracious sexual appetite, shall we say. In previous excursions snooping through her room for the PlayStation power cables she hid in there, we’d found whips, bondage suits, and even a Clone-a-Willy kit. We once found chocolate dick flavoring, which was placed on her headboard right next to a vial of holy water. I don’t even wanna know.
She was in fine form that Christmas Eve. She and Matt’s stepfather were being extremely loud in their lovemaking. We could hear the whip, the creaks, and the filthy talk. So we played Resident Evil: Code Veronica all night with the volume up as loud as it would go. We didn’t sleep at all.
In the morning, we shuffled out into the living room in a zombified state and opened our presents. We ate our breakfast, and went back to bed. We slept the entire day, only getting up late in the evening to eat Christmas dinner.
Matt’s younger brother, Michael confronted his notoriously grumpy stepfather about the previous night’s noise. We waited with bated breath for the inevitable eruption of fury. But he just smoothed his hair and gave us a knowing laugh.
What a pathetic Christmas.
Sorry to get you all down with that last entry. This one’s amusing, I swear.
Normally, my grandmother was the one who hosted the big family Christmas get-together, will all the assorted cousins, siblings, aunts, uncles, and so on. In 1998, for some reason, she couldn’t do it. So my mother volunteered to host. It would be the last time.
The evening soon devolved into total anarchy, will small children running all over the place causing mess and havoc in my mother’s neat and orderly house. My aunts and uncles were apparently feeling lazy that night, because they left her upstairs in the kitchen preparing everything by herself.
My cousin Heather trotted up to her. She would have been quite young then. Anyway, she’d gotten some new tap-dancing shoes she was particularly fond of and wanted to show off to my mother.
She did so by jumping up and down. Despite repeated commands to stop, she continued on with her bouncy ways, until the floorboard finally gave out and she put her foot right through the floor, causing a shower of dusty stucco to rain down upon those of us mingling downstairs. My grandfather no doubt assumed the Germans were shelling us.
Naturally, my mother was less than pleased and gave her one hell of a bitching. One of her finest, I think. My aunt was shocked and appalled that anyone dared to yell at her darling child, so she scooped up her brood and her husband and stormed out.
Meanwhile, my grandfather was leaning against the window sill talking to one of my uncles. Little did he know there was a candle on that window sill. His sleeve caught fire and he ran around in a panic flipping over chairs and coffee tables before someone manage to grab hold of the flaming septuagenarian and put him out.
At that exact moment, my hyperactive. ADD cousin Matt (yes, ladies and gentlefucks, a third Matt), had lauched himself off the couch, performing a flying tackle into the Christmas tree, and it crashed to the ground with him.
My mother had entered with a tray of food just in time to see this. She stood there in the midst of the wreckage of her living room, strewn with broken ornaments, crushed presents and overturned furniture.
Holes in the floor, destroyed Christmas trees, and flaming grandfathers were just too much for her. She ordered everyone out with remarkable decorum, given her extreme wrath, and locked the door behind them.
We never hosted Christmas again.
Well, those are my stupid Christmas stories. Yes, they’re all true. If you’d care to leave one of yours in the comments or on Facebook I’d be happy to read them.
Either way, a very merry Christmas from all of us here at Random Assault. Have a great holiday, everybody.