The Horror of January 1st

In a quiet and peaceful little house on a quiet and peaceful little street in a quiet and peaceful little neighborhood being occupied by not-so-quiet and not-so-peaceful not-so-little protesters, Sally woke up.  As Sally arose, she noticed the bright sun gushing in through her window’s half-open blinds.  In short, aside from the chants and riots outside, it was a quiet and peaceful little picturesque scene.  [Cue Violin.]

Sally tilted her head. [Narration] That’s odd, she thought, I don’t remember hiring a violin player to play eerie music. It must be one of the protesters outside having a recital, or something. [Cue animated clouds.]

That’s odd, Sally thought. The last time the bright morning turned to a dark and stormy night was when…that’s never happened before. It must be one of the protesters outside playing with even more chemicals. [Cue knocking.]

That’s odd, Sally thought. I thought my parents had gone to run errands and that I was home alone. It must be one of the protesters asking for a tuner for their violin.  [Cue ax.]

That’s odd, Sally thought. That’s not a very nice way to ask for a tuner, chopping down the door with a bloody, rusty ax.

So, Sally, doing what any sane actor starring in a horror film would do, opened the door.  Amid much screaming, blood, violence, screaming, violence, blood, violent screaming, someone screaming “Bloody-!,” bloody violence, and violently screaming blood cells [etc., cut out to preserve the PG ration of this blog and because I just ate dinner] the camera zooms out (all the way through the window) to reveal that the sun is once again shining and the scene is quiet and peaceful outside the house.  The violin music has stopped.

When the police arrive later, they notice that on the wall, written in blood, of course (because no good horror-film villain ever bothers with pens), is “January 1st was here.”

For those of you who are still here, and have not just left me to run around the house turning on all the lights, locking all the doors and windows, and grabbing a baseball bat from the garage, let me tell you-wait, is that a noise behind you? No, sorry, that was a mean thing to do (and we all know that that always stops us teens from pulling pranks…). I was going to tell you: this horror story (which I’m hesitantly referring to from now on as “Violence, Blood, Screams, etc. on Jan 1″ in case anyone from Hollywood wants to buy the rights) is actually a very accurate rendition for what you should be experiencing today.

If you’re an adult, then you’re thinking, “Wait, what? It’s the first day of the New Year.  It’s a weekend. What’s the issue with that?” Ohhh-hohhh.  Typical out-of-touch adult, I see, used to the year-round pattern of work and weekends as opposed to a nine-month period of extreme amounts of work.

The issue, as I’m sure you know, is that school starts in two days.  TWO DAYS.  That means a few things.

First, any homework that you had over winter break has to get done at some point, probably late tomorrow night.  It’s time to throw procrastination mode into overdrive.

Secondly, that means tomorrow morning is the last day you will be allowed to sleep past sunrise.  It’s time to go back to spending less time sleeping than you spend wondering if there will be a rapture tomorrow. (Which is why I’d recommend becoming a teen radio preacher as a part-time job, as you might get a bit of sleep).

Thirdly, there’s no end in sight. Your next major break from school is going to be in the spring, which is three or four months away.  The only reason you survived all the way to Winter Break is because of artificial substances like gum, caffeine, and sugar.  And to afford enough of that for the next three months, you might have to sell one of your holiday gifts (I hear people like to buy My Little Pony: Genetic Experiment Kits on Craigslist).  We all know that if you just ask for the best possible present, sugary caffeinated gum, most relatives interpret that as a plea for clothes.

But even during days like January 1st, when everything looks bleak, it’s important to stay positive: you don’t really have to start your enormous 40%-of-final-grade semester project on the history of the automatic toilet as it pertains to cultural diversity until tomorrow.  And if you decide to do an interpretive dance for your project, you probably don’t even have to start it until the wee hours of the morning of January 3rd.

3 Things About the Holidays that I (and You) Won’t Miss

A smashed radioSo far, those of you following this blog have probably determined that Holidays = family (-) + presents (+) + no school (++) + sleep (++++).  If you add that all up, you’ll see that the holidays are pretty happy. That is, assuming you don’t have to watch your 3 year old cousin for more than twelve seconds.

There are bad things about this time of year as well, though, and so, in hopes of making everyone ‘thankful’ for the next six months as we suffer through bitter weather, 5-school-day-weeks, and just enough sleep every night to keep our brains from accidentally (or possibly purposefully) killing us, I’m going to go over those things right now.  Also, we all know teens love to complain, and, well, what am I? (Hint: not a vegetable or mineral).

Commercials

Yes, you knew this would be first on my list.  I mean, first of all, I rarely see any teens in any holiday commercials.  I see perfectly groomed “roughly-shaven” 25-year-olds with their “natural yet perfect-looking” wives getting cars, beautiful-yet-harried parents shopping for toys, and young children who, coincidentally, also look to be unusually perfect.

I suppose this is because teens fall under ‘animal,’ as in you need to credit an animal trainer in the commercial at some point.  And we all know that there is no more room at the bottom of the screen for any more small white/semi-invisible words to do so, as that room is already occupied by things such as “Professional driver on a closed course,” “Restrictions apply,” “Never take commercials as financial advice,” “Professional talking one year old actor in a closed crib with unrestricted access to financial planning,” etc.

Additionally, none of these commercials are realistic.  Sure, that couple can afford a new Lexus every year even though neither one has a sign of being employed. If that’s true, then why isn’t there a group of people “occupying” their driveway?  And there just happen to be no cars on the road…and of course children love getting clothes for presents.  Okay, so maybe you could believe the absence of traffic-maybe there was a tsunami warning and it’s a coastal road-but the clothes part.

Songs

Now don’t get me wrong.  I like “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Winter Wonderland” as much as the next person.

However, I don’t enjoy getting into a car, turning on the radio, hearing “Jingle Bell Rock” played nonstop (except, of course, for the interruption by the Radio announcer interrupting the song every ten minutes to let you know, “We’re playing songs with no interruptions for the next three hours!”), getting out of the car, buying food at a supermarket while “Jingle Bell Rock” plays over the PA system, getting back in the car, listening to some more “Jingle Bell Rock,” getting stuck in traffic and fed up with ‘JBR’ (and thus turning the radio off, and then having to hear the combined “JBR”s playing in every single car around the one I’m in (each three beats behind the next)), finally getting home, taking a sledgehammer to my car’s radio, which somehow turned back on, and then walking across the street to get the mail, while listening to “Jingle Bell Rock” played by a neighbor’s inflatable decoration.  To relax after that horrific ordeal, I generally turn on the TV, only to hear some JBR overlaid with happy shoppers in stores that are no doubt playing JBR on the PA system during a commercial break.  And all of that has been going on since November. Enough said. (Not enough said? Maybe you should know that I have gone through sixteen car radios in the past seven days alone-and three sledgehammers).

IF YOU DISAGREE and love the songs, READ THIS: “Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock; jingle bells swing and jingle bells ring…” Repeat until your feet involuntarily start tapping and the song gets stuck in your head for the next six years.

The Crowds

Yes, even us teens have to do some shopping once in a while.  And that brings you to: the crowds.  The masses of people mobbing the stores for only one reason: to prolong your exit from the songs blasting from the ceiling.

Actually, the crowds are also annoying because crowds = long lines. Which means that if you are buying something, you might need to stand on top of shelves to hold your place in line.  Shelves that, conveniently, have little toy elves that dance and sing “Jingle Bell Rock” when they sense motion.  Coincidentally, a few of these elves appear to be victims of a sledgehammer.

But enough about the bad, let’s focus on the good of the holidays: the presents, the sleep, and the absence of school.  Mostly the presents, although you need to watch out for parents who give cards that say “restrictions apply” in small white on white print at the bottom.

5 Things You Must Consider when Making Your Holiday Wish List

A holiday wish listWe now have only one year and four days until the world ends.  Do you know what that means? It means I can do simple math.  Oh, it also means that this will be your last winter holiday season ever.

In that case, you had better make this one the best ever.  And it all starts with your wish list, assuming you celebrate one of the religious holidays where gifts come into play (if you don’t celebrate a holiday such as this, than pretend you are making a birthday wish list.  If you don’t celebrate birthdays, just pretend that you are making a shopping list of goods you wish you had with the price being more than seven times the income of both of your parents).

Affordability

We live in tough economic times.  This has been made clear by things such as the ‘occupy’ protests, the sole purposes of which were to land the (unemployed) protesters as Time’s Person of the Year (as opposed to last year’s winner, Mark Zuckerburg, who created jobs and a multi-billion dollar company).

So, when creating your holiday wish list, one thing you need to consider is price.  The best way to calculate this is to estimate how much your college education is going to cost, and ask for gifts that cost twice as much (this way, you can sell off your gifts in a few years at half price and still pay for college).  Also, consider that the world will end next year, and “you can’t take it with you.”

Indulgence

The holidays are a time for wants, not needs.  I mean, just look at some of the holiday car commercials: even though the same couple got a new Lexus last year, they are getting another one this year.  I don’t think having two Lexii is considered a need unless you are the owner of the company and can’t have you or your wife seen driving around in a Ferrari.

Look over your holiday list and make sure that absolutely everything on it is a want, not a need.  This has the advantage of ensuring you don’t get ugly socks or sweaters this year; if they are ugly, they are certainly not a want, and if they are warm, then they are a need and thus should not be gifted during the holidays.  If they are both ugly and warm, then they become a “stress factor,” which is not economics but health.

Bragability

While you must consider your wants, you also need to consider what you are going to say when people ask you “What’d you get for [insert holiday/non-religious day/season/ “no reason” here]?”

Most commercials you see at this time of year have already ingrained this in you, so you shouldn’t need to think about this too much (“I got my 18th Lexus;” “I got twelve smartphones-there was a deal;” “I got ‘Logistics’;”).  Just make sure that you don’t ask for something un-cool, or you’ll have to reply with something like: “I got a new stainless-steal set of teaspoons with the losers of every presidential election since 1856 sculpted onto the handle.”

Legality

I needed to throw this in somewhere, because we all know how us teens think.  Please try to follow the law in your wish list.  For example, don’t ask for a shoulder-mounted rechargeable dual-barreled blue-flaming Barbie-launcher without first asking for the required permit from your state, province, country, planet, or solar system (with weapons as dangerous as the one in the example, sometimes the extraterrestrials get involved in the monitoring process).

Length

I think we all know that it is impossible to hope that everything on your list is something you receive. Thus, you need to make your list somewhere between the length of a Stephen King novel and “Shakespeare: Complete Works.”  This way, you are guaranteed to receive enough gifts, even if only 10% of your list is fulfilled.

If you can remember to consider these five things, your holiday wish list will truly be the best wish list ever.  Please, though, don’t send me a copy, or I might start to feel guilty about the havoc I have just wreaked on your parents. (But I’ll just forget about the guilt by remembering that these are the same parents who let their teens read this blog in the first place, and so they deserve it).