Job Layoffs - Maybe it's me but it seems to me this is the time of year when large corporations decide to announce MASSIVE layoffs. Go to Google news, use the search term 'layoffs' and you'll see what I mean. It's a big 'fuck-you-from-those-of-us-who-care' type of thing so, 'Merry fucking Christmas buddy'. It doesn't seem to matter what industry it is either. The push to spread this Christmas cheer starts building up just after Thanksgiving here in the U.S.
The first sign that this is about to happen in your company is when you realize that no one is talking up the annual company Christmas party. Also you'll begin to notice no mention of company bonuses that spreads healthy company wealth around. When/If it happens to you, all the plans you made by Halloween in late October just flew out the window and all of a sudden your 401(k) is almost worthless and the money you've been saving starts to vanish with a roaring vengeance. The worst part is that this is the worst, most depressing time of the year to have to look for a job. You look around you and people seem happy, they're buying Christmas gifts. Seeing others like this is depressing and angering. Even bums selling apples on the street corner is enough to send you into unemployed rage. Well, I say fuck 'em.
Start by dragging your ass as soon as possible down to the unemployment office where most of your work buddies are and get the paperwork going for unemployment compensation. Besides you can commiserate in equal opportunity self-delusions. This is an especially good year for that since, we elected a president that promises to extend unemployment and give each of us a turkey. Next, you should call up a few buddies that also got laid off for one last get together at a cheap Happy Hour and get plastered one last time. Spend a few bucks here buying everyone a Santa's Little Elf's Hat. The rest of the time you can spend hopelessly looking for a job and bury yourself on the couch in front of the television watching movies and playing video games until after the first of the year when you can get serious about getting on your feet.
Visiting family - For many of us, the holidays are a great time for seeing mom and dad and brothers and sisters. We get together, have laughs, eat lots of junk as well as good meals and share gifts. But for some of us, this can be a very tense time. Much of this revolves around having to deal with in-laws, people's spoiled bratty kids and wacko relatives you don't care much about. Not only that but sometimes you end up spending large amounts of time at your parent's house where the DVD seems to be stuck on the same Disney movie that seems to be in an endless loop. I don't know what it is about kids but they can watch the same Disney crap over and over and never seem to want to watch anything else. This can get even worse when even the kids get tired of these movies but everyone refuses to turn off the DVD player. Usually someone flips out and eventually turns on the news or a salvation saving football game.
Getting through this part is easy if you are well prepared. First the obvious thing to do is to drink yourself into a condition where you could chew your leg off and you wouldn't feel it. However, many times you're at someone's house where drinking is not allowed (like my mother's). If you know this ahead of time or discover this after arriving it can be easily fixed. Simply get in the car the minute you discover this and get to the nearest chain drugstore to load up on coughing medicine. I don't mean the crap that doesn't do much when you take it. I mean the stuff that is barely sold over-the-counter without a prescription that you have to sign for. Then you can tell everyone you are coming down with a cold (not uncommon for this time of the year) and you can spend the rest of your visit in a stupefied numbness, constantly taking naps and generally being left alone by everyone (they don't want to get your cold).
You won't be bothered by that aunt you always hated kissing, your uncle's bastard little kids become almost amusing, talking shit about another relative and going to Christmas Eve church services become entirely possible and almost tolerable, if not downright amusing. There have been numerous years I succeeded with this technique while spending one or two weeks out of town staying with in-laws. Have you ever noticed that one relative that does the most outrageous things and doesn't seem to care what happens? Well, they discovered the secret mixture of alcohol and cough medicine. Alcohol and cough medicine can get you through almost any family visit or visit to the in-laws. That crazy brother or sister or their spouses becomes an amusing sidebar for the holidays and you can easily throw them under the bus along with everyone else for that matter.
As an alternative method, you can also attempt to get the intolerable members of your family totally plastered. That way it can be halfway sane to be around them and it might even surprise you that they will become witty. If nothing else, this technique can take the focus off you and put it on them. Now, if Christmas is at my house a variation on this idea would be to stock up the liquor cabinet and serve lots of spiked Christmas punch. You can even sneak Ever Clear into that bratty kid's Coke who's idea of a coloring book is the walls of your hallway or the walls of the back bedroom your relatives won't keep them out of.
One year I received a phone call from my mother telling me that my sister was in the middle of a complete and total mental breakdown. She had just found out her husband had been having a kinky, sordid sex affair with his ex-wife who happened to be in town, her teenage son had ditched the complete semester of high school and knocked up one of the cheerleaders and she just discovered her teenage daughter was taking birth control and recently had an abortion. In addition to THAT she didn't have enough money to buy Christmas gifts for everyone because of the private detective fees she'd hired to find all this out. It was enough grief and stress to knock anyone's dick in the dirt.
So my mother (bless her heart) wanted to call me at the last minute to prepare me for the shock when I arrived from out of town. Damn! thanks mom but I don't think I'll be able to get tickets this year to come and visit. I don't care how disappointed everyone will be not to see me. Fortunately, all the immediate family drama ended when she was hospitalized in the local psychiatric hospital. Then everyone was able to talk about her more rigorously in the 3rd person. I survived by sitting around with my bottle of Robitussin and Sudafed (the good stuff) and laughed my way through the following week reading Shakespeare, Proust or Euripedes' Greek tragedies.
It seems like every other year there's a sister or brother that brings a boyfriend or girlfriend over for Christmas dinner who is a Vegan. Invariably, they will spend 4 hours trying to convince everyone that eating meat will make your dick fall off or give your wife breast cancer. While they are doing this the smell of prime rib or that smoked, honey-glazed Ham your mom or wife is making is driving you nuts thinking about having a bite, while half the women are preparing this wonderful meal and they left YOU to entertain this vegan jerk. In this case it is best to take them outside to the backyard and pistol whip them with a .45 revolver and tell them to Shut The Fuck Up. It works every time because they are more than likely a gun control freak as well. It will subdue them into submission and they go off and sit in the corner the rest of the day and behave themselves.
So there you have it. Hopefully, your holidays will be sane, fun and joyous. If not then these are but a few ideas to make it through the holidays and come out on the other end a little more sane and a lot more happy.
So, HAPPY HOLIDAYS