I’ve been reading a book entitled Fantasyland, all about how America was founded, raised and now thrives on fantasies. Lo and behold, here we are, smack-dab in the middle of fantasy-mania. One of our common themes seems to be how humans, Americans specifically, have addicted themselves to alternate realities. If this holiday season doesn’t embody the idea of the surreal and strange, I sense–primarily, to escape the drudgery of a gloomy winter–then I’m moving to Tahiti to paint bizarre landscapes and island beauties.
Winter Wonderland, Dreaming of a White Christmas, Wonderful time of the year, Have yourself a Merry Christmas, and on and on, every song it seems dedicated to describing a fabricated fantastical fairyland. Sleigh bells? Angels? Snowmen? Flying reindeer? Elves? Joy to the World? Happiness? Compassion to our fellow man? Good cheer and loud singing for all to hear? Bah Humbug!
What a bushel of blarney.
My son and I watch and mock these xmas car commercials: “Here you go honey, I bought us matching Mercedes, drained our savings, spent the kids tuitions and expect to be evicted come January — but don’t we look groovy now?”
Sadly, money lies at the coal-black center of Santa Clauses’ heart. No money? No list. Get back to work, you scab. Swill-soup will be served when you finish pumping the septic-tank.
And so, as I personally approach–and blunder through–this holiday season, I take solace in knowing that there used to be a true fantasy celebration, created by pagan Romans, that supplants this Christian nonsense, that of Saturnalia: The cycle of the seasons, the death of the old year and the birth of the new, the lighting of lights, the drinking of drink and the making of merry.
Due to the fact that one cannot actually make merry without the companionship of friends, I care to wish you a jolly and raucous Saturnalia–may you frolic in the streets, drunk, high or just stoned on life, with whomever the occasion presents. I too, will be reveling as I may with those I call friends, yet feeling the absence of yourself and others here whose cajoling camaraderie I have come to cherish.