Xmas marks the spots

A Texaco truck stop becomes a viable place to get your fill of Thanksgiving and the waitress who serves you is happy to pose for your Christmas card photo. "Merry Christmas from Dave and Willa"
“Merry Christmas from Dave and Willa”
These days, a Texaco truck stop becomes a viable place for me to get my fill of holiday Turkey. Here, Willa the waitress (whom I’d just met before this was taken) is happy to pose for my Christmas card photo 12 years ago.  It marked the beginning of a decade of non-traditional holiday mishaps. (Morgan Tyree photo)

For those who are new here, take note: the wafting smell of roasted chestnut and pumpkin spiced sentiments under mistletoe warmth, won’t be the focus of this Christmas post. If you’re looking for any word-pictures  a Norman Rockwell might paint, I’m asking you to think Pollock.

Nothing like a Dexter landscape to flank your dining table ... peaceful though.
“My accidental Pollock” – Nothing like a Dexter landscape to flank your dining table … chaotically peaceful though.

I used to love the holidays, but the last 12 Christmases have been completely and overly event-filled with anything but cheer.

It started when my last marriage ended after the cliche’ affair was had. I and my small-minded penis were devastated. We were both also unforgiving, and so I found myself on Christmas morning alone for the very first time in all of my then 38 years. All that tradition with family or a spouse to share the holidays with–gone.

Tradition to me, has always been the starch in the gravy keeping everyone together. But with parents and pets and marriages all expired, I found that the boxes of lights and ornaments were just sad reminders of what I no longer had. So began my decade of searching for a place to hang my next stocking…

But I found the next ten years to hold nothing but odd-ball holidays that in a strange way, seemed to have become my new tradition. They were literally filled with death, mayhem, and more drama than a pay-per-view wrestling match between Dr. Phil and Jerry Springer.

The first Christmas I had as a newly single divorcee was spent with a stripper and her two young children. Hey, don’t judge, I couldn’t afford a Corvette. The *poem at the end of this tale of woe tells it all–replete with flaming turkeys and bed-wetting children.

Following that first frightful year, I went on to have my truck stolen by a midnight drunk, and subsequently wrecked.

The next year I was with my first and only Jewish girlfriend who had decided to wait until the baby Jesus’ birthday to break up with me.  This was right after I’d given her a stuffed stocking full of goodies–only to have her in turn, hand me an empty one–exclaiming, “I had no idea you’re supposed to put stuff in these!”

I felt so bad for her, I decided to lie and say, “Don’t worry baby, it’s just some wacky Jesus thing in which every two years you get a pair of socks.”

1122004-198The next year, I decided to get online and fly a lovely woman I’d met there, to spend the holidays with me. It would have been our first visit. Instead, she got stuck in a blizzard and her flight was canceled. It was over before it started and I ended up at a friend’s house as a last minute orphan.

Just as we were uncorking the first bottle of wine, the sound of their dog being shot in the nearby field (mistaken for a wolf), could be heard. It was obviously more tragic for them than me; but the vision of my friend and I drenched with his dead dog’s blood as we carried the animal back to the house made it one of those Christmases I really wish I could forget. Nothing funny here.

The next few years had much more promise. I actually fell in love a couple of times (not all at once mind you) with some lovely ladies who were seemingly serious about making their family love me too.  But instead of being nestled knee deep in sugar plums, I found myself burying my mother while my bride-to-be was home searching Yahoo personals for a new mate. Seems I snore like a viking.

The next year I was in love yet again. More promises awaited. But enroute to my new Christmas lady, I had my guitar of 23 years stolen from the O’Hare airport. No biggie really, at least the plane landed with me safely on board. But nothing made the subsequent breakup we had more awful, than having to ask her to drive me to the airport, making for one long and painfully sad version of Silent Night.

I was becoming a real asshole. Scrooge was taking me over and I’d likely blown my last opportunity to make a new tradition stick.  It seemed I had more bum luck with women during Christmas than gravy stains on my Grinch tie. I don’t know if it was the heightened expectations of everyone involved or just the fact that I was too old and cranky … my heart was truly two sizes too small.

Me and my pre-Kung Fu-grip GI Joe back about 1967 ... stocking stuffers were always the best.
Me and my pre-Kung Fu-grip GI Joe back about 1967 … stocking stuffers were always the best.

Today–this year–absolutely nothing has happened of any note. YES! No tree, no gravy, no Dean Martin and although I love all the above, the shit I’ve endured over the past decade–trying to reconstruct all that I felt I’d lost–has been exhausting. So I’ll take this uneventful Christmas gladly thank you.

I did have several invites from dear friends who didn’t want me home alone, but what they don’t understand is that I’ve finally accepted my solitary life–forgoing all former attempts at a happy tide of yule … well, that, and I’ve recently developed an enormous fear of pooping in any stranger’s home, especially when it’s cram-full of people I don’t know and has food in abundance.

I have these fears that the second I get inside some friend of a friend’s home and have my coat tossed into the growing pile on the guest bed, that I’ll have to take a shit. I’ll already be ill-at-ease from the new surroundings and will have likely  mistaken the bad crab dip for artichoke. The next thing you know, I’m hogging their high dollar toilet that mysteriously won’t flush while looking for spare TP; my pants around my ankles and me crying through the door for a plunger.

They’ll be toasting wholesome thoughts down below and simultaneously wondering as their glasses clink, if they all really heard what they thought they just heard coming from the guest bath.

Grandma of course will have been in there before me, flushing diapers and boiled turkey necks down the bowl–clearly responsible for the situation–but you know I’ll be suspect. How dare you blame this old woman, they’ll be thinking under their breath.

Okay, I’ll admit I’m damaged goods and am a bit timid of late; not wanting to put myself out there this time of year. The scars run deep it seems, but I needed this break. I’ve kept my robe on all day and have yet to brush my teeth. I’m having my own little slice of peace on earth today knowing that unless Santa’s sled falls on my new roof, I’ll likely have the most boring Christmas anyone could hope for … finally.

God bless us all.1072009-779

*MY OWN NIGHT BEFORE 

T’was the night before Christmas / And all through my house /Santa had missed us / There wasn’t a doubt

Cookies and cakes / Were catching a’fire / And smoke filled the kitchen / Like a chicken fried tire

While I in my darkroom / Was printing away / Making up for the buck / That I’d spent yesterday

And she in my shirt / Her kids on the couch / TV was blaring / Someone yelled ouch!

Now the daughter was crying / The son looked asleep / He didn’t say nothing / Just proceeded to pee

My cushions were stained / With his afternoon juice / If I was a hangman / I’d be stringing a noose

Soon all was quiet / Yet the house was a mess / Two hours of wrapping / Still a turkey to dress

I had to play Santa / Took two rolls of tape / I sucked some Mylanta / Then tried to escape

But the son awoke / His pants were all wet / Out of the Lysol / I started to fret

My couch it was old / With holes here and there / Hell that could have been me /I’d drank so much beer

So I packed up the gifts / She’d brought over before / This lady went nuts / At the One-dollar store

Plastic and rubber / And paper mache / Cheap crap for their stockings / Still too much to pay

Yet I wrapped it and wrapped it / Then packed up the car / I didn’t have reindeer / But they didn’t live far

It was 3 in the morning / Not a person in sight / T’was a party at Stockman’s / But they’d gone for the night

So just me and my self / Was toting this shit / But to her and her’s / I’d be such a hit

How Santa must feel / To know his good deeds / Are loved and admired / By the kids who’d just peed

While dreaming of presents / And candy and games / But “Wait, where’s the marks?” / The tags with the names?

“Who cares,” said the mom / “They’ll loose it all soon / The wheels will fall off / Get lost in their room”

“You’ll find when you rest / On my couch or my chair / The head from a Barbie / Will probably be there”

The shit came from Tonka / Hasbro and Mattel / But it all cost a buck / Who cares, what the hell?

There just was so much / Them bucks added up / 100 items / That’s 100 bucks!

So I laid the gifts down / The tree was a’glow / But her dogs had been there / Came in from the snow

A trash can was toppled / Shit strewn around / Cans of old peas / Damn fucking hounds

Baloney and ham / The wrappers chewed up / Gnawed cans of Spam / These dogs were not pups!

So I lit up a Camel / Took the garbage outside / Then Sparky came at me / And I just saved His hide!

This Santa Crap stuff / Was too much to bear / Like stuck in a chimney / Fire burning down there

Well I made it back home / Still snoring was heard / Now the boy’s in my bed / Probably pinching a turd

I’ll have to do laundry / Then boil my sheets / They’ve been stained enough / I needed relief

So I set the alarm / I’d try to be cool / Gotta get these kids up / Clean up the drool

The mom was still snoozing / Too much Old Crow / If she’d have played Santa / She’d be stuck in the snow

Finally a stirring / I heard them all say / They’d dreamed about Santa / “Bet he’s filled up his sleigh!”

“That’s right little ones” / It was now Christmas day / I should join a union / I’d get better pay

But I grinned and I bore it / I laughed with a wink / I looked for the whiskey / I needed a drink

T’was five in the morning / But I didn’t care / I’d been up all night /Been here been there

We all piled in / We went for a ride / 8 tiny blocks / I could abide

And when we arrived / The trash now all gone / Oh a tide of yon Yule / It was just like a song

Of children who yearn / Who live for the tales / Of elves and of reindeer / Of jingles and bells

It felt good for a moment / Or maybe just two / Then like a flash / The unwrapping was through

It was just like a race / “Let me go first!” / “No that one’s for me!” / “I don’t want a purse!”

The little play kitchen / The wiffle, the bat / The stuffed teddy bears / Stuffed rabbit stuffed cat

The piles of yon paper / I’d wrapped up so neat / Just hours before / Were now at my feet

“Crumpled and torn” /I started to peep / Not talking of paper / I’m talking ‘bout me

But it wasn’t yet over / The boy said with a grin / “Nintendo Nintendo!” /Can I play it again?

And finally some breakfast / Sausage and eggs / A cold glass of beer /It’s all on my negs

I captured the moments / And they were so few / But there on the film / For others to view

Will be the first Christmas / I’ve had in a while / With kids and a mommy / T’was a test and a trial

Now it’s nearing near over / The birds ‘bout to fly/ but we’ll eat and they’ll sleep / I’ll toss and I’ll she’ll cry

Now you say what’s the moral? / The twist to this turn? / I had asked for this all / And in Hell I should burn

Guess the point to the story / The means to the end / T’was because I was horny / Yeah, that’s where I’ve been

I had to stuff stockings / And stuff mommy too / But now I’m so full / I’ve got nothing to do

But write this all down / The guts and the glory /This bastardized tale / Of my own Christmas story