Apparently it’s nondenominational gift-giving season.
I’m not sure how that happened — it just sort of… did. It was fall, the days were getting shorter, I had filled the garage with more leaves than you can possibly imagine, politicians were behaving badly when suddenly, about a week before
Halloween Hallowe’en Mediocre Candy Day the first store displays and TV ads started to appear and the obligatory seasonal weirdness started to ramp up.
Now, a certain amount of weirdness is to be expected most of the time but Christmas is a bit of an overachiever. I guess when you’re talking ‘pagan festival that mutated into a religious holiday then mutated again into a celebration of rampant, frenzied consumerism’, well, things sometimes go a little John Woo.
Which brings me to severed human heads.
Last year during the marathon of angst that precedes nondenominational gift giving day I was out wandering aimlessly, looking for some sort of Inspiration for
someone anyone when I happened across a display labelled ‘holiday chocolate.’ That part was no surprise; chocolate is something most people like so it was inevitable that it should become a ‘holiday’ thing. (I guess chocolate is a little like sauerkraut. Er, sort of.) No, what was surprising was the nature of that particular festive edible — the disembodied head of Darth Vader.
Now, at that point I didn’t know that sundered noggins were a holiday ‘thing’ but you learn something every day and all that.
Unless it was an anomaly, of course. I mean, random unattached body parts don’t seem to fit with any of the seasonal traditions. At least, none that I know of.
But a couple of weekends ago I was wandering through one of those pop-up stores that sprout like, well, like weeds in my rose garden and there against the wall was an orderly row of severed human heads (with flowers planted in them to mitigate the… indelicacy somewhat).
“Wow” I thought. “Severed heads are a thing. Even if they’re not iconic figures of evil. Who knew?”
So I left and walked down the street in the vague direction of breakfast. I was confused. (I mean, I’m always confused, but right then I was rather more confused than usual.) “Why are severed human heads a thing for NDGGD? I think there used to be human sacrifices associated with Saturnalia; maybe that’s it. But wait — Darth Vader isn’t human — technically he’s an alien. And he’s ‘more machine than man.’ (Twisted, evil and delicious?) Where do bionic alien head-analogues fit into the equation? What’s the theme here?”
I may have been over thinking things just a bit.
I paused my internal monologue/debate about whether fictitious alien cyborgs counted as human when I noticed I was standing in front of a human (or at least as human as Darth Vader) posterior.
A rotating human fundament.
A rotating human fundament clad in festive red and green underwear.
“Ah. Christmas underwear. How seasonal. And not a single severed head to be seen.”
Then I noticed that the Christmas underwear was accented by cute little graphics of…
Wait, what? Ruminants having sex as a design feature on Christmas-themed clothing? That’s… odd. I mean, there’s an inexplicable Christmas tradition of ugly clothing, but I don’t recall one of clothing covered in rutting quadrupeds.
So. Severed heads and lesbian reindeer sex — two unforgettable images for Christmas 2018. But wait, as they say, there’s more.
Many Christmas images and traditions are, well, traditional: trees covered in spaceships. Alistair Sim in a hat. Bruce Willis in an air duct. Stuff like that. But two things that make it into many (if not most) shop windows are nutcracker-esque toy soldiers (apparently they predate Peter Ilyich by two centuries. Who knew?) and tinsel. So after breakfast, with images other than sugar plums dancing in my head,
we wandered towards the market, stopping to look in various windows as we went. In one of them there was toy soldiers and tinsel. The toy soldier was projectile vomiting the tinsel. (Now that’s festive.)
“Hmm. Do you think the window dresser knows that there’s projectile vomiting happening in her window?”
“We could ask her.” So we did:
“Umm, did you know that the nutcracker in the window is barfing…”
“You noticed!” She seemed positively ecstatic that we had. So yah, she knew.
This is a weird time of year. (And I’m not even mentioning the bakery that’s promoting sticky buns as stocking stuffers.)