a festivus for the rest of us!
That's another Christmas picture, obviously, though I'm not sure of the year. It had to be around '82. The specs of this personal home computer were daunting: Specs:ROM 16Kb. RAM 5Kb (3.5Kb user memory) expandable to 32Kb. Screen: 22 columns by 23 rows. Screen dot matrix: 176 by 184 with up to 16 colours. Sound: 3 voices plus white noise. Media Tape drive (controlled by VIC), Disk Drive, Printer.
We've come a long way, baby. And we're never satisfied, are we? No matter how fast and powerful our toys are, we always crave more speed and power. That computer you bought just six months ago is suddenly a huge disappointment to you when compared with the newer model.
Speaking of disappointments, I'd like to wish you all a Happy Festivus (December 23rd). You do know what Festivus is, don't you?
Seinfeld episode The Strike, from December 1997:
Frank (Costanza, George's father): Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had -- but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way.
Kramer: What happened to the doll?
Frank: It was destroyed. But out of that, a new holiday was born -- a Festivus for the rest of us!
And out of that was borne a new way in which to make family gatherings even more dysfunctional than they were already. Festivus, by definition, is the airing of grievances. You share with family members all of the ways in which they have disappointed you during the past year. Like any holiday, really, but with more formality. Those other holidays don't have the Festivus pole, after all. That's just a plain metal pole, which serves as the Festivus version of the Christmas tree. There are no decorations. No lights. No garland or tinsel. Just the cold metal of the pole itself.
Festivus also involves the Feats of Strength, where one family member physically challenges another. On Seinfeld, this is usually where George would wrestle his father - and lose. In your family, it may be your and your father fighting over the last can of beer. In my family, it's usually a belching contest.
I'd like to take Festivus a little farther this year. Why stop at bitching at your
family? I'm sure there are plenty of people and events that sorely disappointed you in 2003. Politicians. Musicians. Sports teams. Movies. We shouldn't limit our grievances to just people we know when it's common knowledge that the whole entire world sucks on a daily basis.
Why, I could dedicate an entire hour - at least - to George Steinbrenner. Grievances? I've got a laundry list for the entertainment industry. As for Feats of Strength, I bet I could shove that metal Festivus pole up Saddam's ass faster than you! And don't get me started on George Lucas. I need to set aside a whole day to take him on.
Basically, Festivus is a big old You Suck! to everyone who has wallowed in suckiness during the past year. Of course, you need to be careful, as what comes around goes around. You never know when those grievances will be flung at you, or when someone will challenge you to a tequila drinking contest. Hey, at least next year you can say "I was really upset when you puked all over my shoes at Festivus."
So join me in celebrating Festivus. Air your grievances. Share your disappointments. Make challenges you would probably never win if you had to actually perform them. There's a whole world out there just chock full of crap for you to carp about. Now's your chance. Take a whirl around my Festivus pole and let loose a torrent of atrocities.
Trust me, it will make you feel better in the long run and it will empty your soul of all the darkness living inside of you so you can enjoy the rest of the holidays in peace. Serenity now!
And yes, I'm fair game. As long as you are.