My brother hates the holidays. Not just the long winter season, but all of them. They remind him of death. If it were up to my brother, there would only be one day that repeated itself over and over again until he ran out of days and passed away, surprised to find out that he ever got old.
Christmas is depressing and crass, he says, a commercial nightmare. Everyone misses their family, or whatever they wished their family would be. People spend money they don’t have and are reminded of how much they don’t achieve. Suicide rates soar like flying reindeer.
New Years is arbitrary. Every day is the anniversary of some point on the calendar. China has its own New Year and they’re doing alright. The years will just keep coming whether we notice them or not. You can be sure of that.
Valentine’s Day is a pink sham dreamt up by card companies who produce false sentiments and litter. The sugar is an obvious metaphor for rot.
St. Patrick’s Day is the lame, white Mardi Gras. It’s also racist and makes it impossible to wear a green shirt without getting in a conversation about it. (Mardi Gras is the lame, American Carnivale. Carnivale is just stupid, especially for those who do not observe Lent. Don’t even get him started on Lent.)
Independence Day promotes nationalism, obesity, drunk driving, and sunburn. It’s a celebration of wealthy tax dodgers.
Easter is an uncanny mess stuffed with mismatched rituals and bad chocolate. Jesus was a zombie. If the Resurrection was real, then Jesus held out on the secret and that makes him a prick. The entire holiday exists to keep the basket industry afloat.
Thanksgiving is bogus. The first one was in Virginia, not Plymouth Rock, and the pilgrims were intolerant fanatics and murderers anyway. Not that it matters. There is no one out there to say, “You’re welcome.”
I worry about my brother sometimes. I don’t think he has a very good attitude. Not just toward the holidays, but life in general. I am not always sure how to be a good sister to him. Like today, as I helped my mother bake him a cake and drive to the store to buy candles. I did it for my mother. The cake will not make my brother happy.
I try not to think about death so much. I want holidays to remind me of life. Life is happening, I tell myself. Not passing by. My brother looks at an hour glass and counts the sand. I am happy just to see how it looks as it falls. My brother sees the sun as the headlights racing each day away from him like a truck on the highway. He sees the moon as its taillights glowing in the distance. I see pretty balls in the sky.
I wouldn’t be so worried if he were more mature about it. If only he thought about death in a healthy way, not dwell on it so much. Then it wouldn’t bother me that he hates the holidays. A lot of people probably do.
My brother is uncomfortable with all these people gathered around, watching him. The candlelight dances on his face and makes him look like he is listening to a ghost story. I try not to worry about the future. He’ll live, I say.
Still, it’s a shame to not enjoy the holidays, even just a little bit. Especially when you have so many of them, a whole lifetime, laid out in front of you, I think as I watch him struggle to blow out his candles. All twelve of them.