Christmas 1989…was a particularly unpleasant experience for Mary Jane and I.
We had spent Christmas in Eldorado and had been the recipients of some hurtful comments from one of my aunts.
Up until that time…I thought that, perhaps, we were one of the few families that had a dysfunctional family member…that was adept at spoiling everyone else’s Holiday Revelry…but I was soon to discover that there were others in our ‘Debbie Downer’ Doldrums.
As Mary Jane and I returned home, by way of Carbondale, we decided to take in a movie to lift our Christmas deflated spirits.
We saw the National Lampoon masterpiece, Christmas Vacation, and literally forgot all of our bad yuletide experience.
We laughed so hard that tears came to our eyes…and we knew…that there were others like us.
I could relate to so many of the scenes.
In one scene Clark Griswold, Chevy Chase’s character in the movie, is a junior executive who hopes to rise on the corporate ladder. He stands by as the CEO and several of his executive staff enter a conference room where he begins by greeting each one with, Merry Christmas, until it is obvious that they are responding to him as if he was not there.
Clark, then wishes the last four of the long line of sycophants; ‘Kiss my ass,’ Kiss his ass,’ ‘Kiss your ass,’ Happy Hanukkah.’
Cousin Eddie arrived with his family and dog, Snots, in the RV…unexpected.
In another, classic scene, the family is preparing to sled down a steep hill on metal saucer sleds, with Clark spraying silicone lubricant on the bottom of each.
Cousin Eddie asks Clark to not spray his as he would not want to have the metal plate in his head dented…or his hair part would not look right.
Eddie goes on to mention, in regards to his metal plate, ‘Every time Catherine, his wife, revved up the microwave, I’d piss my pants and forget who I was for about half an hour or so.’
Or as Clark’s Uncle Leo asked, as Clark was cleaning up his massive live Christmas Tree…that had burned up in his living room due to a squirrel biting through the extension cord, ‘If you are not doing anything constructive…bring me my Stogie!’
The hope that Clark has for his annual Christmas bonus is not forthcoming and is replaced…on Christmas Eve…with a Jelly of the Month Club Membership.
Clark had been counting on the annual bonus for a down payment that he had already placed on an in-ground swimming pool.
Clark Griswold had given his best efforts to provide a quality and memorable Christmas holiday for his family…and was thwarted by less than considerate family and a Boss…that new him so little he refereed to him as ‘Greaseball.’
Toward the conclusion of the movie, Clark asks his father how he made it through all of the Christmases that he oversaw…he responded that he had a lot of help from Jack Daniels.
So, Christmas brings surprises…every year. It is about a natural and loving interaction with family and friends…and should contain no expectations.
Christmas is a mindset…it is in your control…it can be a Season of Joy…but it starts from within you!
Photos: Stock photos of Christmas Vacation.