Is there a statute of limitations on decking the halls?

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Image by Herbert Aust from Pixabay

January — that wonderful time of the year when we return to work five pounds heavier from all the holiday treats and try to get fired up about a new set of twelve months. But I’m not even returning to work in 2021; I’m just logging into a part-time gig from the kitchen. As I sit at my makeshift desk and look around our Christmas-bedecked apartment, I wonder if it’s time to put the festive cheer back in the box and get on with January.

This is a common annual quandary. I have friends who take their Christmas decor down by New Year’s Eve, but that feels a bit rushed. It’s nice to greet the new year with holly and mistletoe. There’s no guide for when Rudolph returns to the attic other than an old Christian tradition stipulating it’s bad luck to remove decorations before 12th night. That same tradition also deems it bad luck to take your decorations down after 12th night. So, you must do it precisely on 12th night, which could be either the 5th or 6th of January depending on who you ask. This imprecise holiday tradition gives you a 50% chance of getting unlucky — great news for all of us expecting more from 2021. …


One man’s monthly journey from idiot to an idiot who writes.

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Image by Comfreak from Pixabay

It was about this time last year, I wrote down three goals for 2020. I wrote them on the big wall in our kitchen we painted with blackboard paint the previous summer. The wall has a little cubby hole where we store chalk and erasers. Above the cubby hole it reads:

Goals 2020:

  1. Travel
  2. Make friends
  3. Write

Seemed reasonable at the time, but I’ve since learned if you want to make a year laugh, tell it your resolutions. …


Asking for a US president.

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Photograph: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

On January 20, 2017, the world watched another peaceful transfer of power in the United States as Donald J. Trump became the country’s 45th president. In his inaugural address, newly elected President Trump described an America plagued by crime, drugs, and carnage, which he claimed robbed the once great country of its potential. His speech was allegedly described by one ex-president as ‘some weird shit.’ And boy, would that shit get weirder as President Trump stumbled from Twitter to the Oval Office, leaving national crises, international incidents, and a seditious mob in his wake.

Trump’s administration showed clear signs of what was to come before he ever assumed office. His presidential transition was rocky, described as clumsy and chaotic, and was an overture to the shitshow that was to follow. At one point, Trump had his Chief Strategist Steve Bannon fire the entire transition team and toss all the work they’d done into the garbage. “Trump was going to handle the transition more or less by himself.” This was viewed by most Trump allies as a really bad idea, with Bannon…


Christmas birthdays are the worst.

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Image by Myriams-Fotos from Pixabay

Thanks to everyone who wished me a happy birthday last week. It was nice to see some of you take a moment from your little Christmases to remember my special day. I’m well aware how busy you people get over the holidays.

We had a small shindig at my place. In the morning we staged our annual nativity scene with Mom and Papa Joe. After centuries of my part being played by Middle Eastern Jewish boys, this year we branched out to be more inclusive. For 2020, I was played by a prokaryote from Jupiter’s moon Europa. …


Are you in danger of being ghosted?

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Image by Please Don’t sell My Artwork AS IS from Pixabay
  1. His afterlife glow seems a little too glowy lately. Why so luminous, mister?
  2. You notice him liking a lot photos of a mysterious ghoul on Instaghost. Who is this strumpet and does she own a sheet in an adult size?
  3. He suddenly decides to cut back on his nightly glass of spirits because he wants to get in better shape. Wait, there’s more than one?!?
  4. Last night he broke out some new scare tactics in bed, which felt amazing, but where the hell did he learn those moves?
  5. Rumors are circulating he was seen with a skinny banshee at Macabre, the fancy place he promised to take you on your death day! …


Christmas got awkward fast.

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Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

My phone beeped. Then it beeped again and again. On a typical day, I receive a smattering of notifications, but these multiple beeps meant something new, something urgent. I lifted my phone from the table and noticed I had lots of new followers on Twitter and one new email from my editor at VICE Romania. The subject read: Your article is now live!

Oh, shit.

First, let’s discuss the word ‘lots.’ In general, I gain one new follower on Twitter each month. Gaining a dozen new Romanian followers over several hours was a novel experience, but the email from VICE turned my piqued curiosity into a gurgling unwellness in my belly. …


Santa was Nick the Stick and he wore all black.

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

You think you know Santa, but you don’t. You love the big man in the red suit who adores children, but before that he was a skinny, unemployed musician playing Hide-the-Elf with every woman in our village, and I loved him.

He wasn’t Santa or even Nicholas back in the day. He was Nick the Stick, a minstrel traveling around the countryside with his angsty Visigoth band, the Slay Tribe. I thought he was sexy despite the eyeliner. He wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing red back then. He was Nick the fucking Stick and he wore all black.

Things were grand at first. We got married and settled into a little village. One day over breakfast he said to me, “Fenna, baby, I’m starting over. Nicky needs to find out who Nicky really is.” In hindsight, I should have known you don’t stay married to a man who talks about himself in the third person. …


And I make you really horny.

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Image by Republica from Pixabay

Oh, my god! You love me! You get goosebumps every time you hear that first piano note in the opening credits. You have the option to skip the intro, but you never do. You want to hear me wind my way to the moody point in the story where a traditional detective show has a climax. But, we don’t have those. So, you keep watching, keep listening, keep telling yourself you’re here for the writing.

Throughout the series, I bring the darkness differently depending on who’s on-screen. Detective Henrik Bjornson is a stoic man who feels guilty about the death of his wife and daughter prior to season one. I highlight his despair with a cheerless EDM score — distorted Super Mario sound effects played over the rumbling of an oak barrel full of broken He-Man action figures rolled across a cobblestone street. We add a kick drum to propel things further into hopelessness as Henrik drinks from the bottle of vodka he keeps under his car seat while you wonder whether you can fix a broken man with your tongue. …


Pass the f@#$ing stuffing!

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Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

While historians will tell you our national election schedule was determined by the sagacious leaders of America’s mostly agrarian society in 1845, I like to believe it’s the machinations of a few old, sadistic jerks who wanted to wreck Thanksgiving every four years. You see, kids, some men just want to watch the world burn. Even on Thanksgiving.

In a hyper-political year, every choice you make will be politicized. Never has the disagreement over dressing versus stuffing been so potentially volatile. Oh, how those old farmers would be amused to see the chaos they’ve wrought a mere 175 years after determining our election calendar around harvest time and Sunday church service. This year our family decided to Zoom, but even the wonders of turkey at a distance won’t overcome all the political booby traps lying in wait. …


Netflix’s Christmas sequel is a masterclass on what drives human behavior.

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Photo: Netflix

As I collapsed onto our sofa with a mug of hot cocoa in my hand, I’d planned for a relaxing evening of Netflix and holiday cheer with the family. While I felt a smidge silly for engaging in such festive fair in mid-November, I didn’t expect the sequel to Vanessa Hudgens’s Christmas tale to be a scholarly discourse on Sigmund Freud’s structural theory of personality. However, as Siggie himself might say, Sometimes a Yuletide movie is just a psycho-sexual examination of conflict resolution.

(Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t yet seen The Princess Switch 1 & 2, what are you waiting for?!? …

About

Brian Abbey

writer (hack) entrepreneur (unemployable) expat (immigrant) philosopher (unemployable hack) humorist (who says that?)

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