Think of the social and psychological pressures over the last two months hitting a writer.
Thanksgiving: A sleeper event. Usually this is the last time most Americans visit grandma’s house [or house of a relative living in a distant place] – over the hill, through the vale, along the Interstates, aboard an airline with the whole family: Kids, dog, goldfish. And Americans usually make the effort, something they will never recover from: Too much food, cholesterol, and fat. Loads a disagreeable conversation and too much familiarity. Too little sleep, relaxation and escape from the terrors of normal life.
Americans do Thanksgiving because it leaves the year end holidays, a true family event without the many annoying relatives. For a writer there are three dreadful, situational questions: What are you writing now? For the unpublished writer: When are you getting published? For the published writer: I saw your book [at the library], [in a bookstore] or [borrowed it]. I read a few pages and didn’t like it. I put it down. [Inference is: Why don’t you give it to me?]
Americans like to tell themselves about Thanksgiving, It’s only one day a year.
Religious Holidays in December. If each religion stuck to one day and kept it itself, everything would be fine. But, SHARE. We all live in the same world. The writer has less control over his life. Some persons like myself send Christmas [Season’s Greetings] cards and get a 20 percent return, which is pretty good these days. Older people get better returns, but my parents are considering paring the number of cards sent by 50 percent.
The mixing of the holidays means a relentless round of open houses, dinners, spiked punches, egg nog, cookies of all shapes and tastes, and other odd looking offerings which are undistinguishable except they are sweet. [How about fruit cake soaked for five months in 190 proof rum? That’s aging for the glutton.] There are also gifts guests and invitees bring. The appropriate response to these December “gifts” [including the liquor] should be a Congressional Act: The last Saturday of the year shall be known as NGSD – National Garage Sales Day.
There is a movement afoot to put Christ back into Christmas. Those proponents have one great obstacle. They believe Christmas has become too commercial, too festive and too irreverent. I mostly agree, hence I’m writing this post. BUT can anyone propose cutting back on Christmas giving and festivities: The American economy would grind to a halt. Certain proposed measures would discourage Americans from giving and spending. It is an unAmerican movement to broadly propose such a path.
New Years Day: This was once a period when unhappy people would cash out – drink and drive recklessly and kill themselves. Whereupon state legislatures realized that big money was to be made in drunk driving most of them raised fines and penalties. And law enforcement has commendably improved tactics to prevent many drunk drivers from killing themselves and hurting or killing others.
Americans use this day to make Resolutions – gone by Day’s end. Look back and rid themselves of memories. Face the unknown bravely. The flaw – Americans party with like-thinking friends, acquaintances and strangers. The reflection comes from a mirror of the past – the restart of the football season after Christmas. Betting and pools. I’ve seen surveys about the drop in business productivity because employees are research and choosing terms, watching, arguing and moping about poor performances. It is egregiously perplexing when someone’s mother-in-law concerned about the grandkids, the family and who volunteers at the local library wins the loot. Everyone can speculate how she picked her teams. I tried to pay no attention to the games, except to observe that Stanford sucked in the Rose Bowl.
January. This was once a month when lives crashed. Nothing has happening. The January blues. People could reflect, meditate, take an inventory, and move on.
Martin Luther King. Celebrations are no longer on his birthday, January 15, but whenever it will create a three day weekend. The day has become part of the January celebration rather than supporting the historical January tradition. President Obama started out well by defining the day as one of service – a message less apparent this year. Because the day is on a weekend now, it has become intertwined and lost along the Professional Football playoffs. No local parade will save it.
Professional Football. This sport has overtaken January as its own. Note this occupation is in the middle of the Professional Basketball Season.
Entertainment. There was once only the Oscars [Academy Award] ceremony in the late winter. It is passé and meaningless. Now January has become award-event month. Every week is a ceremony offering somebody, something: music, special effects, acting. Not only do movie ads tell how many Academy Award nominations have been received, but also they give a litany of previous awards – Golden Globes, Director’s Guild, Writer’s Guild, Janitor’s Guild [top trophy goes to best use of used condom].
State of the Union. It was too long. If President Obama has wanted anyone to remember the speech and what he said, he would have spoken for 15 minutes rather than 65 minutes. Even that is too long to get noticed. Better yet the President could have put it to music and given us a rap song in 3 minutes. Best yet, the President could have devised an aphorism, no longer than 20 words, something everyone would want to carve onto stone.
Super Bowl. This is the true end of social and psychological confrontations disturbing writers. It’s the big game which will go on much too long. Americans will attend parties, overeat, over drink, talk about golf, and look forward to a time for rest and relaxation.
I will watch none of the game because (1) it is only a football game. I only need to know the result, not how someone won. (2) There are too many ads. (3) This it not a football game which should last only 2 1/2 hours. That game has its own pulse. The teams can get into a rhythm. One can go into a slump. (4) The whole spectacle is too commercial, apart from the ads. (5) There are too many ads disrupting the game.I don’t want to watch babies selling diapers or a stock brokerage firm. (6) Also, let’s watch men beat one another up. Perhaps a player will die; they’ll drive him off the field in a golf-cart [Hence the natural golf-football crossover.] A few players will get injured. Too many will suffer permanent physical injuries which will increase Workers Compensation costs. An unknown number will suffer head injuries aggravating previous injuries and leaving them unable to live productive lives after their playing days. (7) I’ve decided against watching gladiator sports only a month after the religious holidays. Why watch the carnage?
I know I shall be culturally deprived. I will miss the Super Bowl Ads. I could record the whole show and run through, watching the ads. But I’ll leave advertising where it is [last year’s ads were mediocre]. I hope to do something useful for myself or for others.
February: The end of the season.
I know the Winter Olympics are coming up. They seem a let down after the rip-roaring action of the previous two months.
I know that Valentines Day is coming up. Love, hearts and dripping sentiments seem a let down after the rip-roaring actions of the last two months.