12/14/2013

War and Peace On Earth

Christmas is all about competition!  Whoever disagrees just doesn't understand my rules.

It's hard to say which piques my interest more - the frenzied price slashing between retailers, the people who demand attention with their elaborate light displays (I prefer a half assed effort), my own best and worst Christmas card judging event (poorly attended by all but by me) or, the contest to determine which sibling's gift to my parents will trump all others in the family canon.  Okay, it's that last one.

Through some longstanding failing, I continue to feel I must seek approval.  It's this defect that allows me to spend 8 or 9 bucks on a card as long as it gets the animosity rolling in the ranks.  It's usually an easy win with everyone getting to hear my mother repeat over and over who gave her the "most beautiful card" but on occasion, there can be added jeopardy.  

If one of my n'er do well brothers awakens from a stupor long enough to remember it's the holidays, things get more complicated.  This doesn't happen often but that's not to say I haven't been blindsided on occasion.

Once, after everyone had ponied up with cards and gifts, we were blown out of the water by my brother's genius move of crudely cutting a poem (about mothers) out of the newspaper, putting it in an envelope and easily sailing to a first place showing.  That was talked about for years and I'm nearly over it (I'm still not over it).

The threat this year comes from another brother who has managed after 40 years of saucing himself beyond the pale, to find his way out of the darkness of alcoholism.  We're very happy for his success because hitting rock bottom one more time would have left a wound too deep to recover from.  

The news ticker tells me that his evil plan for this year includes sending a box of chocolates along with a card proclaiming that these parents of ours are in fact the best parents ever!  Clearly, he's still not thinking straight but this move will have definite, immediate and major impact.  Him sending anything, including a box of dirt, would probably have the same import.

It's my definite view that the only thing my parents need, is to be institutionalized, but just the same, I've  sent them a large poinsettia to start and I'm currently narrowing the field on my final strike.  The flowers are a hit (I didn't know poinsettias came that big!) but I'm worried when those chocolates and that card arrive, my efforts will be for naught and he will have won.   

Since it is the season for giving, I'm arguing with myself about whether to give up my whiny dynamic "...but I've been here all along and he's so, so…prodigal!" or not.  It may be the best gift I give myself to just concede and let the glow of my neighbour's 10,000 watt light display keep me warm.

Who knew Christmas warfare could be such a tiring affair?  We all do.  I'm sure of it.

12 comments:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Being a fully-paid member, in good standing, of the passive-aggressive club, I salute your efforts to establish your place as favoured child! Don't let those sibs sneak in their with their tales of redemption and stolen poetry. May you win this Christmas!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

And by "their", of course, I mean "there". Except when I mean "their".

SkylersDad said...

Create your own card cut out of random letters from magazines. It has both the true meaning of a home made gift, as well as the creepy ransom note factor.

Win-win!

Dale said...

I appreciate your support at this difficult time Barbara. I shall overcome, here, their and everywhere. Or something like that.

Skyler's Dad - you are my new favourite evil genius! That's hilarious and may just be worth doing!

The Vegetable Assassin said...

Well this is easy to rectify, you are just not thinking this through. Firstly, go out and drop $20,000 on a three month Caribbean cruise for your parents and six of their best friends and make sure the entire boat is decked out in your mom's favourite flowers and that she is serenaded by oiled up Latin men (or whatever your mom is into in that area) and called "Your majesty" by all the staff and showered with praise all day by a smiling man named "Giles" who has a splendid Magnum type moustache. Everyone will be so blown away at your generosity and your mom will have a superiority complex that dictates that nothing less than the Hope Diamond will be enough from your ne'er do well brothers. WIN!

Dale said...

It's so simple now that you put it that way Vegetable Assassin! It's no wonder I've been on this quest for so long with minimal results. I should have adopted you as my WingVegetable a long time ago!

Coaster Punchman said...

Family dysfunction aside, this is the most charming post I have read in a while. There was an audible, cat-scaring guffaw from me at least once per paragraph. You rival Sedaris. And I don't pass out compliments like that lightly, though I do occasionally pass out. (Still waiting to hit rock bottom.)

Dale said...

When you do hit, I'm writing about it! Thank you Mr. Punchman, you made my night and now that pesky ear thing is cleared up thanks to the guffaws. You don't scare me!

Alan S Pastonson. said...

Go off the rails Dale, you know it makes sense.

Dale said...

Is that you Sans? I will heed your advice although the chocolates continue to be much talked about!

Sans Pantaloons said...

Yes dale, 'tis I.
I take back my advice about going off the rails. It's a nice dream, but can never be. It is your duty to be the light of the world, the rock upon which others grasp, when they start to flounder.
You are a modern day Hercules, the labours you face are arduous and demand strength of character. This is your burden

Dale said...

Strength of character has never been my strong suit Sans but if I get a magic ring or something at the end, it'll all have been worth it!