The Official "I Hate Christmas" Party
by Joseph Avery-North
The "I Hate Christmas Party" first began in the early 90's. If I had to guess (which I don't but will anyhow), I'd say '91 or '92. Good times. Good years as I recall them hazily through a haze of... well, never mind.
First off, let me set the stage here. I chummed around with a couple guys named Mark and Barry. Basically, I lived at Erie & 1st, Mark lived at Erie & 5th and Barry lived at 7th & Erie. I would get up, do my hair... Yes, I should explain: the 80's were still lingering, Grunge wasn't really here yet and hash was still real hash. It was still a time of skin tight jeans, ripped of course with the hanging threads carefully groomed, canvas Cons and T-shirts and jean jackets or leather jackets and guys still had cool hair and not that Billy Ray Cyrus shit either. Anyhow, Mark and Barry wore heavy metal t-shirts of course and leather jackets. I wore sport coats, tuxedo jackets and great coats and t-shirts with peace symbols and similar slogans. They were headbangers. I was an artsy. Being an artsy in the 80's and 90's was cool by the way. I was the darling of my high school's art and music and drama and english departments. I taught all grades of high school English (as a student), wrote school plays, played in all school bands. I was precocious and precious. The world was my oyster and all that jazz.
Anyhow, I would get up, do my hair, which for we three amigos consisted of ironing our hair because well, dammit we all had long blonde curling tresses which the girls loved and we hated as we wanted straight hair. This was before the Nelson Twins of course who caused many a cool guy to cut his hair. I would do my hair, walk down the street, collect Mark who had just done his hair then we'd collect Barry who had just done his hair then we would walk 2 blocks north of Barry and see "the Man" who Lou Reed immortalized in the old Velvet Underground song "I'm Waiting For The Man". We of course saw a different man because this was the early 90's, not the early 70's and needles are simply bad. Bottom line. They're bad ok? Listen to Nancy Reagan kids. Listen to Mr. T.
Anyhow, Mark and Barry introduced me to Bill. Bill was also known as Weird Willy. This was because he had some comedy sketch show he'd done for his school's drama/film dept. Kids in the Hall, SNL, SCTV, that kinda schtick. I wasn't there for that though M & B were. (That's what I'm now going to call Mark and Barry. "M & B". I'd call Bill "Weird Willy" and just abbreviate that to ww but then people might think Winterwind or written warning and that's not the case here at all.) I was in Weird Willy 2 which was one of those rare instances of sequels being better and I know it was my presence. I'm not arrogant at all. It ain't bragging if it's true as they say. Bill and I probably equally wrote the sketches as I recall. It clicked so M & B and Bill and me with some friends in bit parts did Weird Willy 2. Great fun. Would kill pretty much anyone to have a copy of that. Didn't save it. Lost to the ages.
Anyhow, this whole "I Hate Christmas" party came about one Christmas, in '91 or '92 I think. I had no family contact. Neither did Bill. Dysfunctional families. We all have them, it's just a matter of degree. I think we were both single at the time too and neither of us lived "at home", we'd both left home young and been on our own for a few years. I had planned on spending the holiday alone, drunk, high, lonely, bitter and content in my youthful arrogance and condescension of my fellow man. I sure as hell wasn't feeling any good will so why was I wishing anyone else what I wasn't getting.. They could fend for themselves as I would. Bah! Humbug indeed! Bill's tale was similar and not mine to tell so... next paragraph.
So Bill invites me over for an "I Hate Christmas" party. We figured instead of both of us sitting in our respective apartments getting wasted alone, we'd have a private party. Just us jeering at the world. Why not? Good fun! Good times! Let's turn down the sound and ad lib our own dialogue for Jimmy Stewart's It's a Wonderful Life. Let's watch Alistair Sim's version of A Christmas Carol. It's the best adaptation of Dickens' classic. Although I would like to see Patrick Stewart's interpretation. Stewart is one of my favourite actors. I always did prefer guys that came from stage and theatre backgrounds. Maybe it's my lingering longing for my time in the theatre when I was younger. The world was my oyster back then. Gifted in music, writing of all types, acting. Look at me now. Trying to run a website with a few online pals for a bunch of thankless spammers. Who cares? Who cares? If you don't, neither will I. M'kay? Anyhow, Alistair Sim's version is the best. If you don't agree not only do you have no soul but I'll come looking for you under some mistletoe with my festive happy stick.
So, over the course of the night a few more people showed up, just dying to get a way from their families. 'Welcome to the "I Hate Christmas" party' we told them as they called or knocked. The cops were called on us. What else was new for our parties. Calling cops was what a lot of neighbours did to each other in my home town. Your dog shit on my lawn. I'm calling the cops. Your car's back bumper is too close to my driveway. I'm calling the cops. In the immortal words of Lou Reed and John Cale, "there's only one good thing about a small town, you know that you want to get out". Man, twice I've mentioned Lou Reed. Songs for Drella is an album Lou Reed and John Cale did in 1990 for the late Andy Warhol. It's damn good. Buy it. If your family really loved you, you'd be unwrapping it right about now depending on where you live and what you celebrate.
So, why am I going on about this 12-13 year old party? Well, because it's that time of year and this year, I'm having the party by myself. I'll be 32 in nine days. So what? Captain Kirk was 34 when he got command of the Enterprise. There's still time for me to be a intergalactic hero. I'd say this is about the 10th Christmas I have spent alone. Birthdays too. And New Years. WTF is New Years??? Down with Dick Clark! Down with the Gregorian Calendar!
OK, background biography time. My parents were divorced when I was 3, I was raised by my maternal grandparents. They only had "interim" custody so technically, I was a "ward of the court" until I was 18 or whatever the age was back then. How very Dickensian of my life to deal me this hand. My mom and dad were in trouble with the law. I was Pip in Great Expectations. I was a ward of the Crown. I was Oliver Twist in Oliver Twist. Twice, my grandparents took the break from being "parents" and stuck me in an institution for the unloved orphans. This totalled a year and a half, from 10 til just before my 12th birthday and then from 14 til 15 & 1/2.. About 2 & 1/2 years total. Thank you mom. Thank you dad. I love you too. I called my grandparents mom & dad. Why not? So, I leave home at 16. There's more but why relate it all here. This isn't about my childhood or youth, it's about CHRISTMAS dammit! Or maybe that should be Christmas DAMMIT! Either/or. Take your pick. I'm happy if you're not. So, basically, my mom disappeared. I've seen her once in the last 22 years and that was at my grandmother's funeral. We went for a walk. I got high. She had quit. It was surreal. I don't know where she is now. She never kept in touch. My dad moved up north some where. It's been 8 years since I've talked to him. He was my sensei. I thank him for that. My grandmother that raised me passed away about 7 years ago. My grandfather remarried and disappeared. What can I say. He left home when he was 14. That was around the start of the second world war. He didn't like war either. He could have lied about his age during the war. He was 18 when it ended.. He joined a logging crew instead.
So, here I am, drinking Guinness, which is running out so I'm switching to Heineken, smoking my peace pipe and writing away on a message board/website. I have no family. I am single. I don't have a girlfriend to be with. I am going to continue getting comfortably numb. Then, I am going to walk down to the river where I will get even more numb and feed the ducks. I like ducks. I love all animals. I have good will towards them and they in turn have good will towards me. I have hope for people but man's ongoing inhumanity to man makes it hard. I've decided I'm actually glad the space programs aren't a priority. We aren't ready. We're barely managing this planet.
Whatever. Whatever you believe. I leave you with these words... "If you can do no good, at least do no harm".