Worst hangover ever?

We’re going to be moving on from Christmas soon and talking about The Worst Ever of all sorts of things, so let’s start with New Year’s Eve, because last night was horrible, wasn’t it? If so, we’d love to hear about it.

There’s a thread on this very subject over at DiscussAnything.com if you want to warm up your old complainin’ arm.

Got a horrible New Year’s Eve story, video, photo or audio file? Send it to us and we’ll post the best of ’em. Bonus points if no vomit is visible.

Leave a comment

Filed under New Year's Eve

Sufjan Stevens’ worst Christmas

By Your Worst Hosts: As you begin celebrating — and if this turns out to be the Worst New Year’s Eve Ever, tell us all about it — enjoy Sufjan Stevens’ take on the Worst Christmas Ever, “That Was the Worst Christmas Ever.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Christmas

Roxanne’s rotten Christmases


By Your Worst Hosts: These aren’t eligible for the contest but they’re a couple of plenty-good Worst Christmas yarns by Roxanne, who tweets as RoxPop, if that’s an at-all acceptable way to describe someone.

“Hi. I tweet as RoxPop.” Nice to meet you. I hip hop the hippie to the hippie the hip hip hop.

Parakeets

These fellows were not harmed in the writing of any post.

Anyway, she saw an announcement of our Worst Christmas Ever contest and tweeted, “I could nail this.” So we got all up in her twitter and challenged her to enter, and instead she tweeted again with links to old blog posts.

Well, we never. What kind of a cheap copout is — hey, wait, they’re pretty good.

The first one is from 2004, but is about first grade in the early ’70s in Los Angeles, where, in Roxanne’s house, something terrible happened to a member or members of the avian community, and it wasn’t the Christmas turkey.

The second one, written in 2005

Turkey

This guy, on the other hand ...

about Christmas in San Diego in 1988, actually does involve the Christmas turkey. Well not exactly the turkey but the oven Roxanne was planning to cook the turkey in. Ever heard that expression that someone ran somewhere like their hair was on fire? Let’s just say Roxanne can relate.

Early ’70s, 1988. We think Roxanne’s overdue for another Worst Christmas Ever story. While we wait, you can follow us on Twitter, or why not pay a visit to our new store and buy some dirty Xmas books?

* * *

Leave a comment

Filed under Christmas

Introducing the Worst Store Ever

By Your Worst Hosts: We’re not just in the business of getting you to tell us about the most horrible, embarrassing, revolting moments of your life in hopes of winning a little attention and a laughably small CASH PRIZE that won’t even begin to make up for the shame and humiliation you’ll carry around for the rest of your life because you’ve finally let that big family secret out. Oh no. We’re much bigger than that.

We’re also in the business of trying to get you to buy things, so we can get that money back. Since our first This Is the Worst Ever contest is the This is the Worst Christmas Ever contest, we’ve got a select but growing assortment of Christmas movies and books for sale at our new online store, which we call This Is the Worst Store Ever.

We’ve tried to stick to the theme, curating for you a nice collection of nasty Noel works like the lyrically titled “Christmas Sucks” by Joanne Kimes and the not at all bitter-sounding “My Worst Christmas Present” by By Robert A. Stirewalt, who describes his book as one “full of memories about some of the things that happened to me … during my high school years.”

Does that sound fun or what!

But don’t worry, we’re also offering some classics, such as this brand new edition of “A Christmas Carol.” Why? Because Charles Dickens practically invented the way we think about Christmas, which means you can blame him for the unreasonably high expectations you brought to the festivities just last week, only to have them dashed in amazingly swift and disgusting fashion.

Also: movies.

We’ve got classics like “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which you might think of as sappy but is pretty worst-Christmas-everish for a big ol’ chunk of it, and “A Christmas Story,” which is kinda heart-warming and charming but has some classic bad-Christmas moments like people getting beat up, mom and dad fighting and that one kid getting his tongue stuck to the flag pole.

“A Christmas Carol” makes several appearances in the movies section, sometimes because it’s so good and sometimes because, not to put too fine a point on it, it has Henry Winkler playing Scrooge.

We have “Ernest Saves Christmas,” people. We’re not well. Help us out.

We’ve added an adult section too, racy books and movies for our more, uh, mature friends. It seems there are some naughty, naughty Santa’s helpers out there.

Come on in, look around. We’ll keep adding to it as we roll out new contests, but don’t worry, it’ll always be the Worst Store Ever.

Leave a comment

Filed under Store

My sub-par Christmas

We’re pretty sure this wasn’t really, truly written by you-know-who. But fortunately, we’re not in the truth business, we’re in the good stories about bad Christmases business, so why let the truth get in the way of a good story? Enjoy.

By The Celebrity: I’m glad I found your site, because I need to do a little anonymous venting. Right now, anonymity is kind of key for me. See, I enjoy a little celebrity – can’t tell you in what field, but needless to say I’ve been in the media’s crosshairs fairly regularly. Mostly it’s because I’m good at what I do — quite good, actually, and it isn’t bragging if you back it up. But this holiday season I’ve learned that all that celebrity can go sideways pretty fast when you screw up – or around.

You see, a few weeks before Christmas the wife stumbled on an email that, well, I wish she hadn’t. I love my wife, but I also like-a the ladies, if you get my drift. In my line of work, I’m home maybe two days a week, so a little extracurricular fun is practically in the job description. I’m not exactly hard on the eyes, either, and with the fame and power, it makes for a potent aphrodisiac. I get that. The wife, needless to say, wasn’t having any of that. We argued, I got a little hammered, and we had it out  — only when I tried to leave she took, well, let’s say a baseball bat, and smashed the car window as I was trying to jet out of there. That frazzled me some, and soon my very expensive wheels are wrapped around a tree. I’m a little woozy from the crash and all the hubbub, so I lay down on the lawn for a little concussion-nap. Next thing I know the po-po are coming  up the driveway. It’s kind of a long driveway, so I have time to calm the wife down before I make nice with the men in blue. Soon enough everybody goes back to what they were doing — crisis averted.

Not quite, unfortunately. The media jackals get wind of my road exploits and start sniffing around, so I realize I have to get proactive. I called “R” (Maui, French maid’s outfit, whipped cream) and asked her to remove my voice from her message machine (lesson: never leave your real name unless maybe it’s “John” or “Steve”). Then I emailed “S” (Augusta, role-play, gag-ball) to tell her that the wife would be watching the bank account a little closer from now on, but that hopefully all that I’d already donated to the “S” “charity” was going to be honored with a little “keep your goddamn mouth shut” loyalty. I made a few more calls, and then later “D” called me. Frankly, I’d forgotten “D,” but a few gentle reminders (Torrey Pines, candle wax, paddles) jump-started my memory. “D” told me she wanted to keep quiet but, well, this recession was really hurting the hostess business and…well, I may barely remember “D” but now she’s reaching for my wallet, too.

Anyway, it goes on like this for a couple weeks. All kinds of old “friends” emerge from the woodwork, and because my attorney advised me that throwing money at the problem(s) was only going to make things worse, they begin selling their stories – our stories – to interested third parties. The numbers start stacking up and kind of surprised even me. I’d been busier out there on the road than I remembered. But these disclosures are creating significant friction for me on the home front. The wife says she’s had enough. A few days later, she’s taken the kids and gone to stay with her Mom (and I hear she’s really not feeling me right now). My attorney says to expect divorce papers soon, and that the pre-nup isn’t going to look as hot as it did back when the weekly paychecks only had five or six figures. Worse, some of my business associates have decided that they don’t want to work with me because my Q-Ratings are tanking faster than the mortgage market, and particularly with the female demographic. (This must be a different female demographic than the one that I’ve been interacting with.)

So as the “most wonderful time of the year” approaches, the jackals are all up in my shit and they’re not going away. So I have to. This year my Christmas is spent in sort of a floating limbo away from my home. The wife has the kids, the divorce papers are in the mail, the money spigot’s been turned off, and my future’s not quite as bright as it once was. So, yeah, Christmas 2009 – fuck it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christmas

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Start Loving the Christmas Bomb

This storyteller tried to find a way to keep the peace, while battling to find the right Santa-inspired gift. 

The worst Christmas had been in the making for a while. It began several weeks before the holiday when, after learning that my daughter wanted a camera, I queried her for specifications.  Somewhere in my periphery my wife signaled me frantically that this kind of questioning was totally inappropriate — like I was on the verge of overturning a rusty wheelbarrow full of our most horrid sexual secrets.  My daughter — unaware, precious and innocent — proceeded to tell me, via my leading questions, that she wanted a digital camera, “you know, like one of those HD video cameras, um, with lots of pixels to make movies about garden fairies.” 

This got me to thinking about Christmas in general. It’s another one of those holidays belonging mostly in the domain of married women, common-law wives and similar wannabes. Men simply need to hurry up and wait until mobilised.  Indeed, men often get the shit duties of Christmas, like peeling potatoes, scrubbing the latrine, or clearing minefields.  This is the stuff of MIAs and heroes.  For example, here is an inspiring hero story:

Just two weeks ago, my friend Chris disclosed a most brilliant strategy to address the annual blitzkrieg of imperial materialism exacted by his wife and her family.  Tired of the tedium of getting the right presents for a geometrically complex gift-exchange pyramid, he simply went online and purchased each family member $100 certificates to his favourite charity.  “Fucking genius,” I thought as he recounted the looks on their faces when they opened parcels containing United Way pledges.  What a stratospheric, one-two napalm strike! No one heard the B-52s approaching, or the “Ride of the Valkyries,” or the bombs falling. But, before they knew what hit them, Santa’s Village had been fireballed. He went on to explain that he, too, experienced a more marginalised role in Christmas as his boys moved out of toddler age.  He was becoming a lowly cadet in a war he no longer understood.

The same dynamic had played out for me domestically.  In the interest of full disclosure, I come with all the baggage of horrific Christmases past, particularly after my parents decided in the 70s to exercise the upper-middle class debauchery that was the norm of the era until the Christian Right wrestled control back from the cultural left under President Reagan.  But between the years of my emancipation and the birth of my children, I also experienced some of the best Christmases ever.   There were magical times, like when I was a little kid and got a large Lego set, and my extended family came round to participate in a warm, candle-lit dinner of moderate inebriation and glowing love.   There was the family Christmas in Chile the year after Star Wars came out, the Christmas in Ohio the first year I knew my wife, the Scarsdale Christmas, and the list goes on.

But the presence of children completely fucks Christmas up. Not through any fault of their own, of course. No, it’s the system that ruins Christmas.  It is a Christmas Industrial Complex of sorts, one that is deeply rooted in the notion of perfection.  It is driven by a code that demands children never be subjected to an “off-Christmas,” a holiday with normal doses of reality, of mishaps and mistakes, of benign sarcasm or humorous misanthropy, lest they be alerted to the duplicitous nature of the ultimate Christmas lie: Santa Claus.  I reckon a good sum of Christmases have been ruined by this jovial, doughnut-eating son of a bitch. 

Anyway, that is just what I was doing once again – getting involved in Christmas and ruining everything. I was filling it with the aesthetic of faultiness and asperity, scuffed and well-worn, featuring dirty city snow, peep shows, and momentarily lapses of authentic familial attitudes.  I was creating a literal pre-Giuliani Times Square of Christmas. 

So, back to my daughter and her camera. I was duly informed that my wife had already exacted specifications from her, and already picked up some cheap-ass-made-with-lead-in-China kid camera out of a catalogue targeted to bourgeois, Mozart-Baby parents of purported exquisitely gifted children who are, with providence, the next Boltanski.  But I knew that I would be called on to sort out this piece-of-shit camera on Christmas morning, which, upon learning of its sorry-ass user interface, defective lens, and proprietary and lean software, would be un-returnable because Santa would be back at his North Pole workshop, completely slammed with producing next year’s round of crappy toys.  It would be like, as the man of the house, I was being tasked a mission to transport UN inspectors from Anbar Province back to the Green Zone with a collective of undisciplined death-metal enlistees, no proper artillery, stale intelligence, and an un-armoured Humvee fleet.  This was an Irwin Allen disaster film in the making.

Additionally, I also discovered that my daughter wanted the remaining set of a book I purchased for her in England.  So I decided that it would be nice to get the complete set from the UK.  I had it all figured out: I would order it super-cheap online for immediate dispatch through Royal Mail to my cousin’s house in London, and he would bring it when he came across the pond for Christmas. 

As for the camera, I had now completely cluster-fucked everything with that gift and it was my job to sort it out.  My approach was to utilise a brief survey of the market in conjunction with a “choose, point and click” technique I picked up in the late 90s. Following these steps, I secured a simple, moderately priced but popular video camera with free shipping.  

Nevertheless, Christmas was now hanging in the balance with a number of parameters and their associated failure-probabilities notated. Would the camera work out? Would it arrive unharmed and on time? Would it be useable by our child? What would be our strategy if I failed to make good?  How would the family recover if the falsity of Santa was revealed?  As for the books, would my cousin receive the package or would postal workers strike again? Would they be the right books? Would he remember to bring them because he is both an alcoholic and a high-functioning asshole?  

Atop all these worries, add this: My birthday occurs on Boxing Day, which makes me particularly susceptible to Worst Christmases and Worst Birthdays.  This means that Christmas Eve festivities are followed by Christmas Day and evening dinner, so that by the time my birthday arrives on the 26th, I want to do nothing but eat a monk’s meal and abstain from alcohol.   It is my birthday, after all, and I should be able to demand this, shouldn’t I?  But the reality of Christmas is that I cannot be afforded this luxury.  Every year my wife insists that we have a party within a couple of days of my birthday.  But who wants to party on the 26th?  Most of my friends claim they are out of town for good reason.  I finally put my foot down and demanded that my birthday be deferred until January.  I don’t need a birthday party – I’ll just take this activity off-line and meet my friends in a topless bar downtown after work, just like the normal blokes on TV.

I was exquisitely pissed off at this point and told my wife that I was going to boycott Christmas this year if she didn’t back off and chill out.  We worked out a temporary cease-fire and demilitarised the zone around the Christmas tree but, truth be told, my wife and I were too close to the edge and on the 23rd of December, when, having successfully delivered my daughter’s two at-risk Santa gifts, she started again to exact unreasonable conditions on the packaging and wrapping of the gifts.   Oh, the details are too lengthy, too complex and too dull to endure retelling.  Suffice to say, I am certain that all of you, regardless of your race, creed, colour and gender, have been there, and can surely fill in the details with an astonishing level of detail and accuracy. 

This brief exchange on Christmas logistics put me in a funk that proved difficult to kick.  I had trouble interacting with the family.  I barely mustered up the energy to attend a highly anticipated Christmas Eve party at my friend’s house.  Dulling Black Dog depression continued into Christmas morning.  I passively participated in a round of opening presents in which my daughter gleefully received the two now-infamous gifts.  Nevertheless, dejected, I retired to my studio downstairs to watch reruns of Frontline.  Christmas dinner at my uncle’s house that evening looked highly unlikely for me.

But throughout the day, I worked on rebuilding my Christmas spirit, and by late afternoon had decided to attend the party.  My cousin would be there and I knew I could count on him to raise my spirits through his infectious hedonistic tendencies.  I went upstairs, changed and combed my hair, and put on my loud, fashionable shoes that I occasionally wear to gay discos and dysfunctional Christmases.  When my wife saw me all dolled up she’d had enough and announced that she wasn’t going. 

PERFECT!!

That’s what I had been waiting for – a Christmas gift with all the love and none of the fuss.  I could see that she was giving the greatest Christmas gift one could give, one full of self-sacrifice and realised in the truest expression of the Christian spirit.  She instructed me to tell everyone that she had a “tummy ache,” but come on, when one’s spouse fails to turn up for Christmas dinner everyone knows the reason why. The truth is that all of them have emerged from Christmas sieges of their own.  To lie would have been disingenuous and more stressful, and would perpetuate the dysfunction that got us here in the first place.  So I levelled with everyone when I arrived. I said that I had been an asshole and pissed her off, and that she needed a little break from me.  Everyone regarded both of us with loving compassion and empathy. Not one person made a fuss over it, noting, I’m certain, “there but for the grace of God go I.”

I wound up having a great time. This has actually turned out to be a fine Christmas and I think that my family might actually be able to start having fun Christmases again.   In a way, we have cleared out the fear of a bad Christmas. We have looked fear in the eyes and seen our imperfect selves, the ones incapable of expressing the faultless, low-carbon footprint, Martha Stuart holiday. The Christmas free from strife, bickering and the longing for better, more valuable store-bought gifts with greater memory, pixels and thread-count.  Tomorrow is my birthday and I will endeavour to remove all of the bullshit from that day, too. I will eat grapefruit for breakfast, expunge from my bowels the remains of last night’s Christmas dinner, and then take the kids to the cinema for a film they want to see.  I am hoping that will take the pressure off of them to produce the ideal birthday with breakfast in bed, contrived good behaviour, and poorly executed homemade gifts of nominal utility. Moreover, it will take the pressure off of me.  Perhaps this will be the year I smile and love it when they fail to deliver the perfect birthday… again.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christmas

Hide your Dogs! Protect your Granny! Christmas is Here.

Puppy dogs and Grandma’s should be safe at Christmas time, but not so for this university student and her family Christmas tale of woe

This is the worst Christmas ever, which is saying something for me. I’m attending university, the first in my family. But I’m broke. I thought, “this won’t be so bad.” I’ll bake some cookies and some bread and give that out, fake a smile for a few days and then go home.

My mom comes to get me on Christmas Eve at 1 a.m. from work. I meet her new boyfriend. During the two-hour-drive home I find out that my dog is being given away because the new boyfriend doesn’t like animals. As if that’s not enough, my mom is planning on putting her dog of 14 years to sleep (he’s still in pretty good shape for a senior).

My mom is taking care of her mother, because she had a few strokes in the past few years and can’t take care of herself, and my brother and his 7-month-old baby are also living at her house until he can find a job and move out. But, guess who’s moving out, and on Christmas Eve? That’s right, my baby niece and my big brother. He’s only one without a job yet he found just enough money to buy a present for each of us. I think this is pretty miserable but then my mom drops the bomb. Uncle boyfriend person thinks grandma should head off to the manor, so she’s being moved into the manor. This woman changed my diaper and now no one cares enough about her to keep her in her home of 65 years – the house that I always knew how to find, no matter where I lived.

So I think the misery should be pretty much over, especially after mom leaves the house in a mad huff and my brother packs his things and leaves, and I am left by myself, just me and my grandma, crying on the couch. Yes, this is pretty much the Worst Christmas Eve ever. 

But that’s just the set up. I wake Christmas morning and plan to head over to my Dad’s house for dinner because I’m pretty sure there will be no dinner here, and at least all my siblings are over there. But as soon as I head down stairs I smell a turkey roasting in the oven and I hear my mom doing dishes. I find she is still somehow trying to keep Christmas for me. But why is she apologizing to me? She feels bad that she brought me all the way out here and now things are turning to slush. She is trying to have a nice dinner but there is hardly anyone left to eat it. No older brother, no new grandbaby, she thinks I’m going to leave her all alone, like my baby brother in Vancouver, who didn’t even call.

What do I do? Leave her in this hole she dug for herself? No, I sit here with what little Christmas joy I can muster and join as many I hate Christmas Facebook groups as I can find while my mom chatters away miserably in the background and makes a ridiculously large Christmas meal.

My grandma has three kids. One calls and the other lives four blocks from here, yet doesn’t bother to come over to wish his mother Merry Christmas. She opens some presents. My mom opens some presents. I write this miserable story.

I can’t even bring myself to break it to my mother that I’ve been vegetarian since I moved to university. I feel sorta bad about eating the turkey but quite frankly anything to make these people smile. And holy fuck it’s only 12 noon.

To top it off, I had no time between all the fighting to make anything for anyone, so even though my brother used the last bit of his money to buy me some oven mitts (because he knows I love to bake) I can’t even give him some pathetic little cookies.

I thought the worst part would be the fighting and the loudness and the anger and the frustration, worrying where the new baby is going to spend her first Christmas thinking about how the New Year is going to change things for my grandma knowing I’ll probably never see my dog again.

But I was wrong. What makes the worst Christmas ever is the silence and the emptiness.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christmas

“Heartbreak Actually”

Remember those heartwarming movies where one person tells another of their blossoming affection, and the snow is falling and they’re under the mistletoe and somewhere  someone softly sings “Silent Night”?  Well this isn’t one of those stories.

I am a 3rd shift mentor at a local residential children’s home. I knew far in advance that I would be working on Christmas Eve and Christmas night so I prepared myself as best I could. As per normal when I work, I sleep as much as I could during the day. I did get up to go to the Christmas Eve service at church. I didn’t realize how tough it would be to be alone at church surrounded by so many celebrating families. I tried to keep a positive spirit and remember what the season is about but it was tough. After church I went home to watch a bit of tv before going to a Christmas Eve service before work.

 My ex-boyfriend and I had kind of been seeing each other again ever since the girl he was seeing broke it off with him a month ago. I had really been enjoying being with him and had realized how much I was still in love with him. My plan was to take him aside at the party to tell him. Did I mention that it was his parent’s annual Christmas eve get together? Alright so the party was going well but it was getting close to time for me to leave for work so I told him that I was going to let the dog out for a minute and asked if he wanted to join me. He did and we walked outside.

 I guess I was going for a whole “Love Actually” thing when I told him that since it was Christmas I felt like people should tell the truth and I wanted to tell him that I was still in love with him. I’m not quite sure what kind of response I was expecting but I wasn’t quite prepared for the one I got. He told me that something had happened last night that he wanted to tell me about but he wasn’t sure when he was going to. The girl who had broken it off with him right before we started seeing each other again had called him last night and they were going to try again. I told him that I was happy for him and I hoped he got everything he wanted. I quickly said cordial “Merry Christmases'” and goodbyes to everyone and made a b-line for the door.

 So there you go – worst Christmas ever – alone, working 3rd shift, single, heartbroken, and completely bummed out that I’ll have to work New Year’s Eve as well.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christmas

You Are Never Too Young to Have the Worst Christmas

I am 8 years old. My whole years was bad so I know this is going to be the worst Christmas ever. I know that it is going to be the worst Christmas because his has been the worst year ever because my birthday was ruined. Everybody wanted to do things that I didn’t want to do and I didn’t have a sleep over party and last year I had a sleep over party and it was the best year ever. At Halloween we had to go with a bunch of people and their was about 9 of us. We hardly got to any houses. Then we went to my friend’s house and we watched a weird movie (Robots). I think I am too grown up for that movie. The very next day was my birthday. So that was two days in a row that were horrible.
I know this is going to be the worst Christmas because I have to wait almost all morning until my sister wakes up. She is 14, she is going to turn 15 in one week. Then, we open our presents that we give to each other, which takes like, ten minutes. Then, we have to wait for my parents to get up and get ready, like my dad has to take a shower and my mom has to get some tea. Then, finally I get to look at my stocking. And then I have to wait for my aunt to show up. Then I am going to my cousins house, which isn’t so bad. I just hope next year will be better.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christmas

The Worst Night

I grew up in upstate New York, in a very small town outside of Syracuse.  Chris and I were 12 or 13 years old had had been boyfriend and girlfriend for what seemed like forever.  His mother was a good friend of my father’s, so Chris and I sort of grew up together.   Chris and I had been ice-skating the whole day in the local rink, holding hands and kissing.  We loved to ice skate and Chris was an avid hockey player.  I used to go with his mother to his home hockey games. 

That afternoon, we exchanged presents.  Chris gave me a Crash Test Dummies CD and I gave him cologne set.  I was sooo in love with Chris.  It’s funny, I think I probably always wanted to be Chris.  I wonder what he would think of what has happened to me now, being this “out” lesbian living on the West Coast, but back then it felt really sweet and innocent to be his girlfriend. 

You know the way it rains in some states, just torrentially?  Well that’s how it snows in upstate New York, just foot after foot.  But, this Christmas Eve was not like that.  It was beautiful, sunny and cloudless.  When we drove back from the rink we dropped Chris off at his house and I kissed him on the cheek and gave him a big hug.  My father kind of growled and pushed on the gas, you know, like “that’s enough now”.  I can honestly say that was the last time I really saw Chris at peace. 

That night I talked with Chris on the phone while I was watching A Christmas Story.  I still watch that movie every Christmas Eve.  On Christmas morning I woke up to the smell bacon cooking.  I’m an only child, so Christmas was always the three of us, mom, dad and me.  I woke up excited about opening my presents and wondering what Chris was doing.  Before breakfast, my dad asked me to go out and get the paper.  I wonder now why they even bothered to do a Christmas day edition of the newspaper for such a small town.  There wasn’t going to be any news.  It was all “Glorious!  A tree lighting happened!” and so much fluff.  Why even do it?  Except for this day, there was news. 

I brought the paper in.   My mom was already at the table and eating.  I gave it to her and she took the paper out of the plastic and unfolded it.  I heard her fork drop.  She called out for my father and he looked at the paper, turning it over and over and like he could not wrap his hands around what he was seeing.  He started crying.  At that point I said, “What’s happening!  What’s going on?” But they wouldn’t let me look at the paper. 

I thought, something really bad happened.  But I didn’t think it had anything to do with my life.  I thought something must have happened on a national level.  “There’s been some bad news with Chris’s mom.  I think you should call him.”  I said, “I’m not calling him until you tell me what is going on.”  He started reading the article out loud. 

Chris’s mother, the night before, on Christmas Eve, was killed in a head-on car collision.  The woman in the oncoming lane had swerved as she reached for her purse, which had slipped to the floor.  His mom was shopping late for presents for Chris and his brothers and sister.  There was a present for me in that car too.  That still gets to me. 

Every Christmas Eve I think of his mom and I think of him and I think of his brother and sister and his step father and how many people that event impacted.  I wonder what that kind of experience does to the holiday, and whether there is any celebration to that day, and whether Chris and his family have moved on.  I remember feeling like none of this matters, all the Christmas gifts and preparations.  I have something I can never give Chris.  I have the best present, I have my mother.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christmas