“If there is a God, why did he make me an atheist? That was his first mistake. Well, the talking snake was his first mistake.”
– Ricky Gervais
I can’t be certain, but I think that leaving the Midwest has placed me out of the range of most of the people who want everyone to “keep Christ in Christmas.” I haven’t heard any of these conversations in Seattle yet, but then again, that could also be because I haven’t started my job or kept the company of strangers very much.
Regardless of the reason, I’m glad to be away from that kind of shit, as well as the people who claim they’re being bullied when they see a “Happy Holidays” sign. And I know it goes both ways. I’m not bothered by “Merry Christmas,” but I also think it’s pretty stupid when one asswipe complains and gets an elementary school’s Nativity play called a “Winter Festival.” I did go to a solstice celebration this week but that was mostly about drinking boozy hot chocolate* and less about thanking whatever fairies or goat gods (or the man chasing children in a Krampus costume) are responsible for a completely natural event. The point is that I’m not offended by “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” or “Magical Yule” and I think that anyone who is is probably less concerned about respect for their beliefs and more concerned with the potential for getting attention for them.
Because the thing is, you don’t deserve respect for your beliefs. No one does. What everyone deserves is general respect for being alive because that’s what separates us from brain-clubbing cavepeople, but when it comes to personal choices such as religion, diet, or politics, you shouldn’t need those to be respected in order to continue living your life.
That said, I don’t disrespect someone just because they believe in God. What’s the point? Their belief – unless it’s affecting my civil rights or ability to live my life as a free person – isn’t affecting me. I’m an adult. No one’s making me go to Mass or humiliate myself at Confession anymore, and it’s no problem for me to sit quietly for the 45 seconds before a meal when my family wants to pray. And now that I’m living in a part of the country where there are no Grandma Airplanes around to chirp “Jesus is the reason for the season!” at work, I don’t have to suppress my urge to hop around like a demented Science Elf going “Actually, co-axial tilt is the reason for the season, and Jesus’ birth in December is historically inaccurate and logically unlikelyyyyyyyy!”
Besides, I like Christmas. Well, parts of it. I like twinkle lights. I like the Johnny Mathis Christmas album. I like the concepts of peace, mercy and goodwill. I like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. I like store windows with model train displays. Presents are okay, too, as long as nobody I know got mine at a Black Friday event (which they never do) and everybody I know remembers that we’re adults and not really obligated to get anything for each other (which they usually do). I really like not being obligated to go home this Christmas, because in addition to not having to navigate familial minefields and explain (again) why I don’t want to spend eight whole hours at someone else’s house, like I said, I don’t have to hear anyone’s campaign to “keep Christ in Christmas.”
One of the things Seattle does make me do is search for familiar faces in a sea of people I most certainly don’t know. I’m not homesick for St. Louis, but it makes me wish so hard that the faces I think I see would just move here, already, because I think you guys would really love it. It’s not too cold here, and when it does get chilly we can all have some boozy hot chocolate.
*Boozy Hot Chocolate
– 2 disks Mexican hot chocolate, chopped (Nestle makes a brand called Abuelita that you can find in pretty much any grocery store Hispanic section)
– ½ cup dark chocolate chips
– 4-5 cups milk
– 1 cup coffee (leftover from that morning is fine)
– Booze to taste (I used about 1 ½ cups dark rum, but I imagine that whiskey, Kahlua, or, if you’re a pussy, Bailey’s would be fine)
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 tbs sugar
– 1 pinch salt
– 2 pats butter
In a thick-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Once butter is melted, add milk and stir occasionally to prevent burning.
Once milk is hot, add Mexican chocolate and whisk continuously until melted. Then add the chocolate chips and whisk for the same result.
Once the butter/milk/chocolate has been combined, add the salt, sugar, and vanilla and stir to combine. Then add the coffee and allow to warm through.
VERY CAREFULLY, add the booze and stir to combine. I like to keep this on the heat for an additional 2-3 minutes to fully combine the flavors, but don’t let it just sit there because the longer you do, the more alcohol can cook out. The point of this is to get kind of drunk, and alcohol is good for that.
Take the saucepan off the heat and carefully pour into a large thermos. Fuck pretending like you’re not drinking in public because this stuff is crazy fragrant.
(Today’s blog title is from a SPAM comment I received this morning. Just in case you were wondering how the rest of my life is going.)