Dear Mudge, Saturnalian Salutations

Dear Mudge,

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.








16 thoughts on “Dear Mudge, Saturnalian Salutations

  1. I was reviewing the wiccan holidays and noted that they’re not evenly spaced. They are consistent, however.
    40,50,40,50,40,50,40,50 –> 90 x 4 = 360 so, it’s pretty close with drift thrown in. I suppose I was thinking that the solstices and equinox are set in stone, or orbit, and the interstitial holidays, like today (Halloween), would be 45 days to either side of the quarters. But that’s not the case.
    It does work, however.
    Frankly, I’d like to have our holidays, global holidays that is, match these relatively precise divisions of the year. Maybe in a thousand years we’ll return to pagan holidays — wouldn’t that be a trip!


  2. My response to Mudge’s response to this (eaten, naturally, by the spam machine):

    “One of the hits of my family gatherings is when I tell my jingoistic, fanatically religious family members that, if not for an accident of birth, they would be Middle-Eastern terrorists today.

    That always goes over well. 😁”

    Salud, mates!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Have you noticed that the couples in the car commercials look just like the headshot posters for every Hallmark/Lifetime Christmas fantasy movie ever made? What are they doing the rest of the year? Underwear and male grooming products ads? Wholesome family oriented clothing chain catalogues? Who cares?

    Limiting that fantasyland thing, historically or geographically, to the “American Experience” is a bit limiting. Wrapped in the fundamental hypocrisy in the literal Christianity of our founding fathers you could draw a straight line to Norman Rockwell and the Hallmark mentality. You really want an eye opener study the subliminal aspects of merchandise and packaging. Holy shit. Amazon’s smiling penis logo is just the latest…

    Happy repaganizing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. And such lines are drawn in that text. A theme that continues to this day is that of the allure of the Wild West and of the country house on the prairie.
      Humans, it seems, are predisposed to living in alternate realities, which, considering all things, seems natural. Ask a dog what he thinks about and you’d get copious vittles, a hot bitch, a run through the woods and a soft warm bed. Hmm, maybe we lost something in the deal for a bigger brain.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A lot has been mythologized in costume dramas of many yesteryears, golden eras, Manifest Destinies, but I would submit that there’s a lot to be said for indoor plumbing, regular hygienic practices, even toilet paper. It would be good if all the comic con and gamer con and princess con and Jack London, Harry Potter, Lucas and Roddenberry cons remembered those things…

        “I’ll keep the door and an eye open till you’re out of the alley, then you’re on your own. You broke out, Jackson. Don’t drive in the rear view, man, just keep on truckin’. It don’t matter how fucked up tomorrow looks, yesterday was never as happenin’ as you thought it was.”

        Liked by 1 person

          1. They got too talky on me and I have 2200 of character building and no action. I mean I have action on the backside but I need them to shut up and get on it or I need to dump the romantic recon and put them to work.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Fantastic book! I have spent the day with the missus, the pups and, partially, my neighbors. On Saturday I got drunk with total strangers. In the end, it’s been another good season (and, by that, I mean I made good money at the store [alas]). What I wish you most is happiness this holiday season, and every season after, in whatever form that brings for you. Joy to the World, my friend, and Peace on Earth somehow!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As long as nature reigns, that is, life, I predict that peace on Earth will be elusive. Perhaps there will be peace at the end of the Universe. An absurd supposition.
      Regardless, when and where joy is to be had, I wish you a barrel full.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Refreshing read for those of us who are having a difficult time stomaching forced sentiments of “joy to the world” and “peace on earth.” Although, I admittedly envy those I see who are genuinely enjoying the season and celebrating with friends and family.
    But in reality, all cultures attach most of their celebrations to fantasies and myths of some kind. The Romans, like the Christians, also had their gods to whom they attached fantastical tales of love and war, good and evil.
    But agreed, the way we sell our souls to buy the most extravagant gift or remodel the kitchen in time to impress friends and family at our annual Christmas party.
    I would much prefer making merry with the Romans. 🙂
    Happy Saturnalia, my friend- a toast in honor of our virtual friendship that has made many a day richer and brighter.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello Brooke, nice to see your name.

      I believe the consensus we’re slowly collating is that we humans need fantasy; in fact, it may be a fundamental part of consciousness. As such, embracing it may be akin to a salve for our angst and anxiety. Denying it may result in psychosis. Imaging the Scrooge who absolved himself of all impossible things, embracing only the mundane. Albeit, nature and its wonders and mysteries could surely stand in for a time. I suspect however, that even the most true of the rationalists might secret away thoughts of the fantastical.

      Looking forward to 2020; yet all this time I considered hindsight to embody that number.



  6. I’ve also come to realize, sadly, that most Americans have a better relationship with the TV sit-com family than they do with their neighbors. In fact, I grew up thinking Leave-It-To-Beaver was the family that actually raised me. When I had my own family, I emulated that perfect reality…and it worked for awhile.

    Liked by 3 people

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