Chronicles of the Cosmic Couple
Christmas Eve 2003 – It was exactly six years ago tonight, at just about this time. How well I remember. We were deep into Christmas Eve, my ladylove and I, and our brand-new pussycat Maggie, she who had just adopted us a month earlier. All of us lounged on the couch, watching the original “Scrooge” with – who was it, Robert Morley? – as Scrooge.
I remember the feeling slowly creeping up on me, like a slow burning fever that you are powerless to stop; like a tab of good acid gradually, inevitably, sneaking up on you, and suddenly . . . KA-ZAAM! There you are, in another space, a place without handholds or boundaries or limits. KA-ZAAM! And I was freaking out, ranting and raving uncontrollably about the horrors of Christmas, the unfairness of it all, how I had been manipulated into quote-unquote playing along, the stupid gifts, the tree, the lights and oh, yeah, how I hated the whole fucking business.
The poor cat, unaccustomed to seeing her new Daddy throwing such a fit, dashed away and hid somewhere. Ladylove, who had been a little tense herself this deep, deep Christmas Eve, leaped off the couch and began screaming at me. You see, it wasn’t something that Scrooge said, or didn’t say, or that little crippled kid limping around on his crutches, or his wimpy father. No, that old movie is just so damned slow and boring, dragging the viewer along like a waif who is too weak to protest, and my anti-Christmas nerves are being stretched, tweaked, tortured to the breaking point, and – I broke.
I was never big on Christmas anyway. Born into a family of half-assed Jews, in a tiny Midwest town where everybody else hated Jews as well as blacks and browns and greens and anybody who didn’t look like them, all pale-faced and pencil-necked and, of course, Jesus-loving grins pasted across their smarmy faces. And everybody knows that the Jews killed Mr. Jesus, so of course the townspeople hated us. Although I, personally, had nothing to do with his assassination. So we didn’t exactly celebrate Christmas, and we skipped right over Hanukkah because it didn’t compute, but Christmas was payoff time for my two brothers and little sister and I.
My father, bless his un-Scrooge like heart, somehow thought he could make up for 364 days of neglect and abuse by buying us off with a splendiferous array of presents on Christmas morning. There was no tree, because that would have been too Christian. But there was a fireplace above which was a mantle onto which were fixed the stockings with care. And sure enough, just as sure as reindeer can fly and an overweight senior citizen can squeeze through a soot-laced chimney, sure enough, we would awaken to a Walmart-sized display of expensive bicycles, sleds, watches (when such devices cost more than $5), electronic games, sweaters, coats, and assorted toys of the moment.
And daddy and mommy would sit back and watch their greedy offspring ripping into their booty. And the next day, daddy would be just as mean, remote and nasty as he was the day before. And yes, I have forgiven my parents for their “crimes” against their offspring (it was a hypnosis session, just a few months ago), but six years ago, during the deep deep Christmas Eve where the fever from all those old Christmas wounds and scars sort of snuck up on me, the night of the Big Freakout, it all came crashing down around me, like an eight-foot wave that I miscalculated, and it swept me under.
Well, I just want you to know that my little story has a happy ending. After the freakout fever went down, and my Ladylove and poor new kitty and I shed our tears and hugged and made up, well, I sort of got it. To my Ladylove and probably millions of other souls on this green, troubled planet, Christmas is about the joy of giving. Getting seems to hold a small piece of that pie. And Ladylove loves to give, and in fact lives to give. She is the most giving human I have ever known. So we are all still together, Ladylove and Kitty and I, and no Christmas trees are in my present or future. I am not asked to buy into the retail machine they call Christmas.
As the headline says in USA Today, “Christmas miracles do happen.” Sure they do. But I have a better headline: “Santa Claus has left the building.” —Marv Lincoln
Maggie, our newly-adopted pussycat, years later suffered from liver cancer and was euthanized in 2009. She was a Russian Blue – a fun, fantastic feline. Late in 2010, yet another Russian Blue – Sasha, we named her – became our beloved pet. Another fun, fantastic cat. She looked like Maggie’s twin sister. Another gift from Existence.