Silent Night

My town is all lit up for Christmas.

Can we stipulate that there must be something deep within the human spirit that draws us to have a celebration in the the dead of winter? Don’t make me argue about it: For so many thousands of years, so many cultures have gotten into some kind of festival of lights right around the winter solstice. In the earliest versions, people apparently thought they had to pray and offer sacrifices or else the days would just keep getting shorter until there would be no light at all. Who wouldn’t do anything to forestall that?

I wonder how long that went on before somebody began to speculate what would happen if they didn’t have the ceremony, if the saturnalia party did not go on as usual. Every year we go through this charade, and every year everything turns out just fine — the days get longer, the sun gets warmer, the rains come, the rivers overflow, the earth is fertile and the crops are abundant. What the fuck? It must have happened eventually, but that guy (or girl) probably became the next sacrifice. When you’re talking about the possible advent of Eternal Winter, you can’t take any chances.

Ever since I learned the horrible truth about Santa when I was 17, I have had problems at this time of year. Problems with my soul, damage to my heart. I find myself out in the street at midnight, looking out at the huge blue-black sky, thinking how small I am, how small is my world, wondering what is the point of all this? In these silent nights I grow morose, the centuries invade my street and settle on me like fearsome dust. Face in my hands I cry, take away the darkness, touch my soul, heal my heart. Talk to me starless sky endless space between us touch us see us save us save me. I turn up my collar and stand in the street, and I let the night come into me, and I grow until I am the night, I fill the world, the sky is me. It’s my own little saturnalian outburst. I don’t know where it comes from. Maybe I need more sun, more light in my eyes, in my life.

The houses on my block, some of them, are decorated with brave bright lights and they warm the night. The people inside the houses dream of peace and salvation, of friendship and love and forgiveness. The planet will turn, the days will get longer. We will be forgiven. I shake it off and shove my hands in my pockets and walk back. I haven’t heard an answer, but I’ll forget that.

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3 Replies to “Silent Night”

  1. Happy holidays to you because Santa Clause is dead. Rumor has it that he took his sleigh out for a test run and an IED turned him, his reindeer, and the sleigh itself into dust. He had been wounded in past years but somehow still got around weeks preceding 12/25. But the fat guy in the red suit is gone forever now, like cheap oil and Coke Stevenson. Which leads me to why I think it’s time to promote a new product for airports, hotels, bed & breakfasts, even rooming houses or anyplace where unauthorized personnel can carry things or drive: self-cleaning floor mirrors for more hygienic cavity searches. It’s pretty simple. Passengers will remove their underwear and squat over a one-way mirror and cough until observers are satisfied that there is no illegal contraband in the portals. Each mirror would come with its own hose and squeegee. Gross? A bomb killing 68 people including women and children is gross. A dirty bomb in a suitcase placed in front of an air conditioning intake duct at a business hotel is gross. It hasn’t happened yet. But neither had 9/11. Soon people will squat over mirrors to enter the finest hotels. Please consider this: three out of five people “on the go” generally suffer some kind of temporary intestinal disorder, which could lead to diarrhea and messy cavity searches. And you know the skies won’t be friendly unless everybody’s – yes, everybody’s – cavities are completely done over by the new TSA guys. I know what you’re thinking: “Hang on, we already do cavity searches,” which is correct and true. But they are seldom now. And it requires an order by the site administrator. But soon, young guys in white shirts with emblems on their shoulders and chests will (thank The Lord) look at people with an experienced eye and select those who strip in a portable cavity search area. Anyone who fails to provide cavity access will be arrested. If you were one of those young guys and you found a passenger wearing a vest bomb, would you give the individual a strip search (and the terrorist would detonate on the spot) or would you wave the person through to spare your own life and the lives of your coworkers? I know you’d do the right thing.

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