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.








Dear Mudge, I ate too much

Dear Mudge,

I hope your holiday unfolded in a way that left you both nutritionally as well as spiritually nourished.

My wife and I drove to Corvallis, Wednesday, to pick up our son who has lived there for the last two years, post-graduation, to be with his honey. He’s struggling, economically, not being able to find employment that befits his degree. Our daughter and her beau arrived for T-Day festivities and the five of us (mostly me) proceeded to consume too much food ending with a creation of my daughter, a chocolate/Nutella pecan pie, the last of which I devoured just this morning.

Overall, a lot of cooking work for too short a gathering and too many left-overs. It was nice to see and chat with my son. We discussed the Absurd Universe and how it’s a theme he’s loosely explored through his Instagram account. I have to hand it to him on that regard; he’s dedicatedly posted daily for a few years now, growing his follower count to over 100k. Due to this, he’s now managing another account with 1m+ followers. Imagine having the temporary eyes and minds of a million people. What havoc could you wreak?

I broached that topic with him and expectantly, he admitted that he’d considered it. Lost sleep over it in fact.

I offered that were he to have a secret agenda, subtly must prevail. But what kind of agenda? We discussed the fact that all million-plus accounts, on all platforms, are no doubt targets for corporate and political influence. He’s just 26 now, so, though exposed to my overt biases, he’s yet to dream up his own evil plans. The venue now exists, however. We’ll see.

I wonder, given the opportunity, what agenda might you suggest? Kindness seems like a more hands-on incentive, one that would get lost or derided in the message. My son uses humor to success in his message delivery. Could we find some means to express humorous kindness? Could that even work? Satirical kindness feels like an oxymoron.

December is here. The month of guilt and giving-envy. I’m trying to bring back Saturnalia and other pagan traditions. On the trip down to get my son I spied loads of green nodule-nests in large oak trees—mistletoe. Only the pagans would celebrate Freya’s fetish for kissing beneath a parasitic plant. I love it!