12 Days of Archived Holiday Content: Age brings a Christmas bender with less booze, more video games, but it still kicks ass

January 13, 2005

Josh Kjenner

Getting old sucks. Although there are a lot of sucky things about it, one of the suckiest things to suck is the sly insidiousness with which this aging occurs.

It’s like one day you’re an 18-year-old engineering student wondering if this is going to be the year when you’re finally going to engage in some light to moderate petting, and the next thing you know you’re a world-weary, embittered fifth-year for whom half of the freshman class is ineligible for said petting, not so much on the basis of your ugliness or the personal hygiene concerns of the female population, but simply because of the divide-by-two-then-add-by-seven rule.

Yes, it’s a creepy thing when the annual Christmas break (aka Christmas bender) rolls around, and what you want to do isn’t drugs, hookers, or even it-to-it; all you want is to watch some goddam TV without any goddam interruptions. In fact, the only bending you’re at all interested in has more to do with your mom’s no-pop-after-10pm rule than with boozin’.

This, however, may not be as big of a tragedy as it sounds. You see, I learned something this year: the Christmas bender isn’t necessarily about chugging down the Baileys you ganked in the family Chinese gift exchange, unmixed, to get shitfaced on Boxing Day, or about spending New Year’s Eve sleeping snuggled up to a hot water pipe for warmth in the crawlspace of an apartment building in Banff.

It can also be about playing PlayStation until your eyes, thumbs and anus bleed. It’s basically about being as hopelessly self-indulgent as possible.

This isn’t to say that I’ve gone completely soft — although I have to give the credit for maintaining a bottle of coffee-liqueur to my brother, I did, in fact, spend New Year’s Eve (or a good four hours of it, at least) securely bestowed beneath the lobby of my friend’s apartment building in Banff, a little to the left of a warm pipe. The moral: I’m still hard as fuck, or at least as close to fuck as my shambled 23-year-old body will let me be.

It’s just that I learned to measure my Christmas bender by a different yardstick this year, and to appreciate this holiday of holidays in a different light. I learned that absolute, unadulterated slothfulness is a beautiful thing in a seedy, terrible kind of way — not unlike a 45-year-old stripper or a nice shaggy mustache.

In fact, I’d say that if there was some kind of way I could carve out an existence that consisted only of me inhaling Nuts n’ Bolts while lounging on the couch of my parents’ basement watching VIP reruns and occasionally yelling at my dog, I’d do it. Forget money, fame, fortune, family etc; all I need is Pam, some trans fats, my lucky blanket and someone (or something to yell at), and I’ll be a happy guy.

I guess if I’m trying to say anything it’s this: the Christmas bender is a time in your life when you’re free to do whatever you want, and that’s exactly what you should do. At first, I felt a bit guilty about not partying my wrinkly old ass off, but I realized something: I’m not 21 anymore dammit. If I want to lie around and soup my virtual Lancer Evo IV up to 555hp while occasionally calling my dog a fucking geek, I’m going to do it.

And that, kids, is what life is all about. Doing what makes you happy, even if it is at the expense of others or your pets. Jesus would have liked it that way.

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