HAPPY (Bleeping) Holidays!
By DAVE KIFFER
December 09, 2013
Most of us can relate!
Okay, maybe we don’t hear Mom dropping the F-bomb every time she spills the pie filling on her shoes, but there is no question that that “holiday time of the year” doesn’t always bring out the best in us.
After all what could possibly go wrong when you combine the pressure to celebrate family with the pressure to also host and entertain said family?
Just about everything.
What day is it?
As always, your results may vary.
Hmmm, I started to write “nuclear families” in the last paragraph, but then it occurred to me that our family went “nuclear” a long time ago. So it’s probably safer from a lingering radiation standpoint that the family is now “extended.”
But I digress.
Anyhoo, I don’t think my Mom ever dropped an audible real curse word during a holiday celebration. For her the word “drat” always carried more weight than most 10 megaton F-bombs.
If you heard the word “drat” in the kitchen, you knew it was time to head for the basement or the attic and make yourself scarce. Things were not going well and if you didn’t quickly scram, you would become collateral damage.
One Christmas morning, I heard “drat, drat, drat” from the kitchen like a rapid burst of an anti-aircraft gun.
My Dad waved at me and we both sprinted downstairs into the basement and out in the snowy yard. I stood there freezing my holly jollies off.
Dad kept hoofing it down the street to the Derby Room. Eventually I went back inside. I never did figure out what caused the outburst. Our family invented “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
Behold a sign
Dad more than made up for it with a remarkably broad variety of epithets and curses. I’m not sure he ever used the same one twice. Well, certainly no more than three times.
Except the F-Bomb. He took great relish in lobbing that one around incessantly when particularly provoked.
Years after he was gone, I saw “A Christmas Story.” The scene where the father – played by one of Dad’s favorites, Darren McGavin – lets loose a string of profanities, carefully edited into nonsensical oaths, was very, very familiar.
Of course Dad used real words. Many of which were almost Shakespearean in their depth and literacy.
For example, there was the time that he decided he was tired, once and for all, of carving the holiday turkey.
Now, to me the answer would be to just skip the danged bird altogether, tradition be darned. But that never seemed to be an option in our family.
Once upon a time, great aunt Anemone brought roasted geoduck toes to a holiday dinner, so now we always have to have roasted geoduck toes every year. Of course, geoduck don’t have toes, but we don’t let that get in the way of a holiday tradition, drat it.
Anyway, Dad – always an early adopter – bought an electric carving knife. Once again, what could go wrong: My family, excessive alcohol and a sharp rapidly vibrating weapon? A match made in holiday heaven.
Well, Dad eventually carved into himself and then let loose a stream of profound invective.
Unfortunately the little kid table was in earshot and we all stopped eating to look up and listen and learn.
When he unclenched his eyes, he saw us watching him.
“Oh, good lordy gosh,” he continued on through clenched dentures. “Shucky darns and great Caesar’s Ghost. Ticky-ricky-ticky fingda crop. Falliping goshy booboo and foo diddly bing bong.”
Or something like that.
Anyway, we stitched Dad up, washed off the turkey and continued on with the holiday dinner as if nothing much had just happened. Foo diddly bing bong, indeed.
Of course, that paled in comparison to an incident a couple of years later, which I have written about before but is always worth revisiting.
One year, prior to the holidays, I mentioned that I had noticed – OOOPPSSS!!!! SPOILER ALERT, DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU DON’T WANT CHRISTMAS SPOILED FOREVER. SPOILER, SPOILER. DANGER WILL ROBINSON, SPOILER!!!!!!!! – that before Santa visited, as he did every Christmas Eve, that either my father or my older brother left the party to “check on the boat.” Therefore, I reasoned, that perhaps Santa Clause was really a close relative.
“Drat,” said Mom
“Good Lordy gosh,” said Dad.
At the appointed time, around 8 pm, just after the dishes had been cleaned up, there was a noise in the front yard.
I looked out and saw a large man crossing the yard with a big package of presents for me and my nephews, nieces and cousins. I looked back at the party and was surprised to see both my father and older brother still there.
This was very interesting to my seven year old mind. It was not computing.
Then it happened.
Apparently, Santa’s omniscience about naughty and nice did not extend to the fact there was a fresh sewer pipe trench crossing yard. There was an equally fresh falling of snow that made the yard look remarkably flat.
Anyway, “Santa” fell into the trench and “there arose such a clatter.”
“Gosh all fiddly fong, blat newber hissing stink,” he shouted. “Grap splinging, ratatat, my fang bleeber is fardly bobbelditch broken.”
Or something like that.
It was hard to hear clearly through the living room picture window.
“Fing battle, Lordy, forking, ding dong,” said Dad.
“Drat,” said Mom.
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