Christmas and NYE: one great big ugly belly-flop?  (Image by Pat Campbell.  Source: Fairfax Media/The Canberra Times)

Christmas and NYE: one great big ugly belly-flop? (Image by Pat Campbell. Source: Fairfax Media/The Canberra Times)

Here’s something I want to shout from my shimmering tin roof-top so I can feel the relief as the words leave my body, as my heart begins to beat again, as my brain clicks back into gear, as my whole being finds its beautiful natural shape.  IT’S OVER, IT’S OVER, IT’S OVER.

Christmas, you vacuous tart, you slobbering drunk, you’re dune and dusted.  And New Year’s Eve, good riddance to you, too.  Normal, predictable, boring days: I’m all yours, come have your wicked way with me.  These are the words I want to scream until I’m giddy with life, even if they edge me that much closer to a padded cell.

No, I’m not a fan of year’s end.

As November, that month of calm before the storm, trips over itself into December, everything good and reasonable goes belly up.  Political leaders prepare YouTube Christmas messages, hoping they’ll come across as our favourite uncle but really they’re the uncle we want to forget. Supermarkets and malls play surreptitious carols in the background as we stock up on food as though the end is nigh.  In mainstreets and malls, under harrowing heat and while being dive-bombed by blowflies, shopkeepers have their shop-fronts spray-painted white to give the impression of snow but really it just looks as though the sign-writer had a stroke.

At work, after slaving away at deadlines that are as meaningful as a blow-up Santa tethered to the letterbox, we wear reindeer antlers on our heads and in the tearoom stand anxiously as ‘gifts’ are handed around – nice, another bottle of salad-dressing well past its use-by date.

At home, we drag the plastic tree from the back of the spare cupboard, plonk it in the corner of the loungeroom, and wait for the lights to flash miraculously so we can stare at them until we pass out of an evening.  On the twenty-fifth, that hollowest of days, some of us go to church, hoping that by murdering a Thomas Tallis hymn all the evil things we’ve considered and done will be washed away and we can exit the building as happy as fat Elvis.

Later, we’ll gorge on turkey or seafood (if we want to be that little bit more ‘Australian’), we ram into our gobs fruitcake and custard, we drink booze till we pick fights about things that only matter now that we’ve received yet another seven-pack of…


Keep reading at the Canberra Times, which – rather bravely – published this piece on 8 January 2014.