Luna de los Muertos

Christmas isn’t my happy place. The popular press has several narratives. One is a constant, Chihuahua on crack exortation to get out there and spend money on gifts and holiday meals. It’s a choir of info-babes and merchants cajoling us into spending money we don’t really have. It’s a season of giving, they say. We are also told we must help the doe-eyed po’ folk they parade before the camera once a year. This is the time when we show how compassionate and generous we are. 1 month out of 12 we hear about kids who are giving coats & blankets to the homeless, the bare shelves at the local food bank, the poor child with leukemia whose parents can’t pay for medical care and some benevolent one-percenter drops a wad of cash to cover the cost, the anonymous donor who pays off the layaways of strangers, the local charities who do the angel tree thing, you know the drill. All the while the merchants continue their nagging that we haven’t spent enough yet. Easy credit, everybody gets approved, no payments until 2115, come on down, prices will never be lower . . .

The other almost fits how I feel. It’s the “reason for the season” thing. I was raised in the church, spending Sunday mornings for most of my youth in Sunday School. I’ve been up there at the alter giving my life to Christ more than once. I am very aware of the real reason for the season. It’s about Cheeezus, and so we should spend the Advent season flopping about the floor in front of the altar speaking in tongues and confessing what a shit we’ve been then take what we were going to spend at Macy’s and give it to the church. You still end up in the same place January 1st–broke, hung-over and a little desperate.

hello-kitty-christmas-treeThough, dumping your Christmas shopping cash into the offering plate will mean some long faces Christmas morning when the family goes to look at the tree and it’s some sad, pink artificial thing with no gifts under it and a short in the wiring which means the lights don’t work and there is a scary smell of burning plastic. If you go this route I’d be careful about eating the milk & cookies. You never know.

I’ve been that grump that stomps about the mall mumbling about the show of wealth on display, how there are starving children in Africa, the world has no peas, Santa is a creepy drunk, and these people need to get themselves to revival forthwith.

This is the time of year when things feel bleak. It’s warm outside but I feel a chill in my home. I’m not in a very celebratory mood. This is when the harvest has come in, the fields are brown with corn husks and soybean plant stalks covered by manure from the neighbor’s cows. It is when the trees look like they died. The whole world seems to have picked up and moved to Hades. Anybody that can afford to has gone elsewhere, to more pleasant climes where the service staff knows the GFE game. The rest of us schlubs are still getting up at 5am to clean out the stalls, put down fresh hay, and try again to get the old tractor fixed. My yard is covered in leaves and the grass is a sickly brown. When I got back from the road the cold that had been lurking about came on full force. I feel like crap.

Something about us, that whistles in the dark against our fears and nightmares, that wants life to always be immortal sunshine and lollipops, that wishes for the days before we knew what the word, “no” meant and could count on the comforting nursery of our mothers. We don’t like to acknowledge the dead, admit that in the spring as life reawakens there are storms which flood and tear down homes. There is something desperate about us this season, as the world hibernates, that wants our binkie and desirous weather. It’s that something desperate that makes me annoyed.

Life inhales and exhales. There are seasons of the dead, of winter and miserable grey skies, the ground sometimes covered in snow, a time to sit close to a hot wood stove and read post-apocalyptic fiction by candlelight. To be asked to binge on giving, binge on food, to pretend it isn’t winter while everything is in Hades, feels like a lie. I don’t want to exhale yet. My sinuses hurt and I’m low on Kleenex. Merry Texmas, y’all.

Christmas is in 9 days. We start a new year in 16 days. Another year gone by, another few months gripping the kerosene lantern and it’s feeble light not quite beating back the malaise of the season. Typical for me, the cupboard is bare, the wallet too thin, I don’t have a job, the job I had claims that I defied some rules so no bonus for me, bills are due in a couple weeks and the well intentioned wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year don’t make me feel better.

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Adam’s Defense

This First Posted 19-Dec-2015

Adam, the first man, is dead. He’s been dead a while. The Bible says, “Altogether, Adam lived a total of 930 years, and then he died.” Archbishop Ussher of Armgah in 1650 pegged the age of the world at 4004 years, naming Saturday, October 22, 4004 B.C. as the first day of creation. For this piece we’ll say that Ussher was right and it being 2016 A.D. as I type this, the world would be 6,020 years old and counting. This means Adam has been dead 5,090 years. Mitochondrial DNA studies putting the age of Eve at somewhere above 100,000 years? Yah Yah. Can we move on?

Adam in the Garden of Eden Genesis 2:7-8
Adam in the Garden of Eden Genesis 2:7-8

Ever since I posted the piece on Eve having her reasons I’ve had Adam in my head, pissed. He’s been scolding me, saying that I didn’t understand. It wasn’t his fault. God had gone to meddling twice, first with Lilith and second with Eve. Eve offered him a piece of a fig without telling him where she got it and if God and those two women had just left him alone, he’d be fine. He didn’t need to know of good & evil. He didn’t need help.

The first mistake was God deciding that it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone. The second and third had names: Lilith (bitch) and Eve (wife). From day one with both, it was nonstop nagging and judgement. He had to wipe his ass. He had to smell good. He had to work to hunt for food. The garden of Eden was nice, but most of the plants that she liked to eat had thorns, so gathering what she liked was fustrating. There was no pleasing either of them. He’d gather figs and she’d ask for greens. He’d gather greens and she’d ask for nuts. He’d kill a turkey and she’d say she wanted fish. It was just endless.

He was happy finding a tree that had a nice overhang and some mostly clear ground. The rain didn’t really bother him and he never minded the cold. He hunted small game, fished and otherwise ate what he could find.

She. She worried about the cleanliness of the water. She wanted a shelter. Shelters took hours to make. Before the women he could just kick aside the worst of the offending thorny plants in a nice spot and catch some sleep. Not with her. No, every day included a couple hours of work on the shelter, sometimes an old one they’d had for a few days, sometimes building a new one. She didn’t want to be wet. Her skin busted out in red pustules all over her every time she got one little bug bite. She didn’t like sleeping on the ground because of the bugs. She wanted to sleep under covers. She wanted walls. She asked for animal furs to sleep on. She was incredibly annoying.

God kept on about life being better if Adam would just learn to love and trust him. Why? What had God done for Adam? Create him? Thanks for nothing. Alive in this bug infested, cackling, miserable jungle called Eden? To do what? To help her, help the ex-bitch and #2, who was somewhat better but still a huge pain in the ass. Love? What’s love? Love God? That fat lazy bastard who is always hungry and full of ‘spose to’s? Yeah, right. Sure. I’ll get right on that.

Probably the best day of Adam’s life is when he discovered that quinoa left in a gourd with some water would ferment into wine. Hala-frickin-luia. Second best was God showing him how to make fire. Beer & BBQ made her a lot more tolerable. God, drunk, was way more fun than God sober. Her, though, drunk, was a reason to leave for a few days and hunt. She was meaner than a honey badger coked out and psychotic.

And then. And then . . . God shows up and wants to know why he and Eve were covering themselves. Adam didn’t know. Eve insisted on covering her crotch and chest with leaves. She wouldn’t look at him unless his crotch was covered also. Whatever. Happy wife, happy life, right? Stupid wife. Well . . . it turns out that wasn’t just any piece of fruit. It was fruit from that tree, the one God told them not to eat from. Adam really didn’t care. There were plenty of trees that had good fruit. One less wouldn’t make any difference. She cared for some reason. Like it would really be better if he peed out of shouting distance instead of right in front of the shelter. Like her piss didn’t stink. They lost their home in the garden.

Life in the Savanna was harder. Now he had to farm. The edible plants in the savanna were nowhere near as good as what they could get before. There was less water and of what they found a lot of it was spoiled with animal piss. When they planted seed the birds ate most of it. What the birds didn’t eat the rabbits would get as it sprouted. Later the deer would feed on what they planted without having the good grace to hold still as he drew his bow.

It wasn’t fair that my piece about Eve’s reasons painted him as the bad guy. How is it his fault that God decided to meddle and create Eve? Why is he to blame because she decided that he should eat a piece of fig from the one tree he was told not to eat from? Lilith flew from Eden and he had peace and quiet for the first time in a long time? Why not let Eve slither out with the serpent?

Still, he could make beer and that made things better. Then God talked to him about children. He was cool with the part where you laid down with Eve to start the process. The rest of it, though, sucked almost as bad as hoeing a muddy field. If he could just have the sex without all the rest . . . God saying it was part of the plan he had for Adam–thanks for that, yeah, just great. Oh for the days of a meadow full of snorting wild boar and a quiver of arrows . . . It wasn’t fair that I had posted a piece saying that Eve had her reasons. He felt I should give him equal time. I needed to understand, he said. He said this as he walked away to help Eve skin one of their rabbits. Happy wife . . .

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