December 30th is upon us. Only one more holiday remains in the annual Iron-Man run through the season. One more night of excess, perhaps even a little too much, and one more too-bright, too-early morning complete with a complimentary head-vice stand between us and the start of the regular new year proper, the return to our normally scheduled lives.
As is it, many of us are beginning to look forward to the end of it, like a kid does every August before returning to school. Today especially, the day before we get out our party hats and bottles of bubbly, today the Holiday Hangover is often felt most keenly. Today is the day for idly rolling over on the couch, listlessly pressing the Guide button on the remote, and, if the energy for it can be mustered, scrolling through the day’s programming in search of a bowl game. Perhaps the Captain Dee’s Fish and Chips Bowl between Army and Our Sisters of the Poor* will hold our attention long enough for that next nap to take hold, offering a convenient diversion from considering all the terribly gluttonous things done recently in the name of Season’s Greetings.
Luckily, New Year’s Day is still officially a couple of days away, so we don’t have to wade through the annual two weeks of self-loathing, recriminations, and half-baked promises of reinvention and fulfillment just yet. No one wants to face all that until socially required to do so.
What I can say for certain is that although I scarcely believe it myself, the thought of another cookie makes my pancreas quiver, the sight of a piece of spiral-cut, glazed ham gives me the instant meat sweats, and finishing that half-full carton of egg-nog in my refrigerator is beginning to seem like a CIA interrogation/torture technique. My house is strewn with dozens of those wire things that evil toy manufacturers use to insure a child must suffer a minimum of ten minutes of parental ineptitude before being rewarded with playtime, and the tape holding all our Christmas cards to the hall closet door is finally giving up, which means I hear the resounding flap of someone’s very thoughtful holiday wish hitting floor every few hours.
My father is fond of suggesting that the key to a good life is based on moderation in all things, including moderation itself. A little excess, from time to time, is good for the soul. But every night of a little too much fun is inevitably followed by a morning reckoning, and perhaps even the Walk of Shame.
We’re nearing the end of our bender, now, and our own walk is but a few days off. In many ways, it hard not to look forward to it, to just getting it over with and moving on.
I don’t know about you, but I remember going back to school very well. A day or two of long homerooms, new clothes, shiny Trapper-Keepers, and getting reacquainted with old friends again after three months of leisure quickly gives way to homework, long division, and essays about one’s summer vacation. Returning to a normal schedule is rarely all it’s cracked up to be.
Real adult life is not really much different. Two weeks from now we’ll all be knee deep in status reports and half-assed projects for the corporate year. So maybe, no matter how tired we think we are of the trappings and wear of holiday fun, we shouldn’t give up on it all just yet. Perhaps we should squeeze every last drop of holiday goodness out of life that we can.
So get off that couch, make yourself a ham sandwich, pour a big tumbler of Egg Nog (don’t forget the rum and nutmeg!), and grab a gingerbread man cookie. By my calendar, we’ve still got 2+ plus days of merriment left. Time to shake off that malaise and get back up on the horse.
If you ask me, it’s time for a little holiday hair of the dog.
Admit it, that’s how the best Walks of Shame all begin.
*When I wrote that, I had no idea that Army was facing SMU in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. I was certainly not meaning to imply that SMU equals Our Sisters of the Poor. I’ll leave that particular determination up to each of you, individually.