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Bah Humbug

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Isn’t Christmas the craziest time. I am personally not a very religious person. I am what pretentious people like to call ‘Spiritual’, in that I probably believe something but I’m not sure what. I do believe that happiness can be found at the bottom of a glass, that frogmen are COOOL and that Star Wars figures were the best toy ever devised by mankind, but that hardly constitutes the basis for a worldwide creed. Or does it? Anyway, I do believe that Christmas has gone too far. If there is a God (and we all know he’d look like Charlton Heston) I’m pretty damn sure that he’d rather we bought the ‘Big Issue’ to help the homeless than send each other cards that deposit 4lbs of glitter on the floor when you wrestle with the envelope. When kids start any sentence for a whole month with the phrase “and I want”. Certain musicians (and I use the term very loosely) who exhort the world to be kind and good and to help the poor and the needy while they net another 14 million from CD sales. The company that makes the most money from Christmas I suspect is hallmark. Bastards. Its times like Christmas that make me consider communism.

That being said, I do love Christmas. I actually really like giving presents and watching the faces of those opening them. I know it sounds clichéd, but I do actually much prefer to hand out presents than to get them. My mother is very much the same. This creates a sort of relaxed Christmasser. We like to surface at around 10 on Christmas morning, have a coffee and perhaps a cigarette and slowly come to life before opening anything. Even then, present opening is a slow and happy thing. On the flipside are my father and Mrs Moosehunter, both of whom treat Christmas like a game of Pass the Parcel on amphetamines. They both awake early on Christmas day (my father awakes at around 6 and then charges around the house making as much noise as possible in order to wake up those with a more relaxed attitude. Mrs Moosehunter less so, but you can actually hear her twitch with the excitement of Prezzie Day. My father will shake, rattle, smell and squeeze any gift-wrapped package he can find for at least a month before Christmas in the hope of discovering something. Mrs Moosehunter will go one better, scouring the house for packages in the desperate need to find out what she’s getting. Last year I had to cycle her presents through a number of hiding places with nothing resting in the same place for two days running. This was borne out by the fact that I discovered on Christmas day that one of my most secret prezzie hide-outs had been searched, but fortunately during the 24hr recess between prezzie moves. Christmas for many of my family is a time of desperate searching and no small amount of drool.

Last night, Mrs Moosehunter came home late from work and tired. This always bodes for me, as I know that any time she’s tired I’m on the slippery death slide into the hell of being made to feel bad and insignificant. While she prepared dinner last night (I HAD been working pretty much constantly until she got home), she asked me to go out into the garden and cut some Rosemary from the herbs in the garden border. Our back garden was dark. Some of it was just ‘dark’. Other parts, like the bit behind the garden shed were ‘DAAAAAAAARK!’ I crept round the garden in the dark with my shoes on and a pair of scissors in my hand. I walked into the shed and flattened my nose. I walked back into the house.

“Honey. What am I looking for?”

“You know what Rosemary smells like.”

(Now there are a dozen jokes I can make from there. They’re all extremely filthy and I didn’t think that in her present mood, Mrs Moosehunter would want ‘those’ jokes.)

“I don’t have a clue honey.”

“Well it smells strong. And it’s the second plant along.”

Ok. Here we go. Second attempt. I gingerly creep out into the darkness and make my way round the shed without further wounding. I reach down to find the first plant and put my fingers into wet soil. Had the situation been more conducive, I would have called out “I can’t smell Rosemary, but I think I’ve just got to third base with her!”

As I say. Things weren’t condusive. I brush my hand along, picking up a small splinter from the fence until I touch a plant. I figure this is probably the second one, as a seem to be quite far from the shed. I reach down and snip with the scissors. There’s a sound like a falling tree and I end up with something the size of a matchstick. I have the horrible feeling that the next time I look at our garden in the light, a whole plant will lie dead, strewn across the lawn. Anyway, pleased as punch with myself I make my way back to the kitchen. As I approach the light, I become less convinced that I have achieved. I can’t think what rosemary looks like, but surely it can’t look like this?

“Honey. I’ve got something but I don’t think it’s it.”

I proffer the handful of dead weeds and thorny brambles to her as she has her back to me. Without turning, she says “does it smell?”

I sniff gingerly.

“It smells like a forest floor.”

“Then that’s not it.”

I spin on my heel and return to the garden, flinging away the dried vegetation. Finding my way past the shed, I brush the stumpy remains of the bush that I severed and try the next one. Obviously that one was the first. My hand touches something plant-like. It feels softer than last time, so I smile and snip and trot back to the house. This time I have something that looks a little like miniature ivy, but softer. I somehow doubt this is rosemary, but it has to be closer. I proffer it with a smile. Mrs Moosehunter tuts, rolls her eyes, takes the scissors from me and walks out into the garden. Unerringly, she walks straight into the darkness in a line, I hear a snip and she comes back with something that looks considerably more herby than any of my attempts. I am a carnivore. It’s a damn good job. If I had to rely on my knowledge of edible plants, I would have been dead some thirty-odd years ago. I would have tried to live on a diet of poison ivy and belladonna. I can just about identify carrots and that’s only because I hate them with a passion otherwise reserved only for Mimes, Game shows and anything that makes my privates itch. Oh, and gherkin. I’m right aren’t I? I’m assuming that gherkins are grown only by fast-food burger chains in order to annoy their male customers.

I do not know a male customer to any of these establishments that would eat the damn things. Women seem to love them, but then they ARE a different species. Whenever I visit McBastards or Bugger King, they seem to take great delight in shovelling barrels-full of this evil-tasting green disk-like nightmare into my food. Why? I’m a man. Surely they know I’m only going to get two feet away from the front door before I have to reach into the burger, dig in the combined slime of four sauces and three people’s carefully added bodily fluids, hook out the green disks and fling them away as if they’re about to bite me. If I’m with Mrs Moosehunter, she opens her dinner and I can drop the offending articles in her food. I’m pretty sure that these chains could cut 5 or 10 pence off the price of a burger if they’d only stop adding shit that no one wants. It’s waste! You morons! If I ever see that clown at our local one I shall attempt to knock him into oncoming traffic. Try Lovin’ It now you smug bastard!

While we’re on the subject of the hateful stuff, I’m pretty sure that Marrow, Courgette, Gherkin and Cucumber are the same thing, or at least variations on a theme. Why then do I like Cucumber in salad or sandwiches, but the presence of the other three begins to make me physically sick. Hmmm.

We have a Christmas tree in the downstairs of our office. It’s a real tree. It hasn’t apparently been watered in a while and is starting to look a little leprous. It resembles Chicken Boy in its pasty unhealthy pallor. It has three types of decoration. Firstly there are what appear to be small stained glass windows hanging from some branches. This doesn’t seem entirely appropriate or sensible, but I can get along with it. Next there are what appear to be either transparent Magic 8 Balls or Crystal Balls hanging from other branches. These are pretty damn peculiar. In fact they look like they should have hamsters rolling around in them. Even these though, seem somehow to fit. What doesn’t fit are the.. the… I don’t know what to call them. In our family their job would be done by tinsel. What they appear to actually be is a whole load of small, white, fluffy pom-poms on a string, draped in a spiral round the tree. The first time I looked at them, they struck me as resembling spherical tampons tied into some kind of streamer. Deeper observation led to a comparison with cotton wool balls. I’ve finally settled now on a comparison that I think does them justice. Due to the spiral uniform pattern, I believe that they look like fat, white gerbils climbing the tree in preparation for a suicidal leap from the summit, lemming-style.

Which brings me neatly to lemmings. It came as a great disappointment to me personally to learn that lemmings do not, in fact commit suicide at all. They don’t throw themselves off a cliff. This hit me considerably harder than the non-existence of Santa Claus, I can tell you. Believing in a jolly fat man who rides a deer powered aerial sled, covers millions of square miles in a night and then spends the other 364 days a year manufacturing toys is a little difficult. Who pays him? If he’s a charity then, yes, he can get all sorts of benefits, but still how does he pay the rent, and for food, and for the company of seals and polar bears of negotiable affection? By comparison, small furry rodents with an annual urge to throw themselves off high places with the back of their hand pressed to their cute little forehead and crying ‘Life is so empty…’ as they fall is considerably more believable. In fact, what actually happens with the lemming is that they have certain spawning grounds (you know, like southerners) and when the ‘urge-to-hump’ time of year comes over them and they get out all their pulling pants and start wearing aftershave, they head for their spawning grounds. Problem is that they are so dead set on getting it on with their little furry ladies that they hurry toward the humping ground in a direct line and don’t give a crap if anything stands in their way. They would crawl through razor-wire with their tongues lolling out and a copy of Play Lemming if need be. This is why vast numbers of lemmings die in apparent suicide. Sad isn’t it. It’s only what men would be like if they only got it once a year and had to travel to a certain place to get it.

Perhaps more update later. Enough for now.



Written by SJAT

August 20, 2009 at 2:21 pm

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