Christmas (Tragedy) in July

J'MelSweat the small stuff.

By J’Mel Davidson

Cards on the table time, dear readers.

I have no idea of whom my audience consists. I’d like to believe that there is a murder of vibrant, sexy artist-type ladies with affinity for CMYK hair coloring who rush to the newsstand monthly in their chunky Mary Janes and pencil skirts just itching to read what new sarcastic, reference-filled tirade the J’Mza has immortalized in print this month. It is more likely that I have the same fan base as Daffy Duck—middle-aged men who live in basements. Represent, Cellar Dwellers!

Either way, I love my fans (if they exist). And I love to share.

So in continuing my 16-month long series of essays based on the 1969 Clarence Carter hit song “Back Door Santa,” I’ve decided to share a little Christmas in July tale with those of you in the early Christmas spirit. I only hope that my audience can take something from this tale that honestly I have never shared with anyone outside of my immediate family. I’m going to give you the real meat of the story rather quickly to save a little sauce for the day that I finally write my memoirs. (“Why me? Why me all the time!?” —The Story of J’Mel)

My family wasn’t flush with funds when I grew up. We were somewhere on the lower middle class/upper lower class line with any fluctuations being in the lower class direction. While we didn’t live in a shack like Charlie Bucket, I do know what it’s like to have my things put onto the street by order of the law. This is the story of Christmas 1991.

At the time I was old enough to understand that sometimes Santa was just broke but still young enough to really want some He-Man junk and Todd McFarlane graphic novels. Now my memory is a bit foggier on the set-up than the delivery, but I believe we’d been warned that Santa might skip us this year. So, this was the Christmas that we thought we weren’t getting anything. But later that day we were surprised with a laptop computer! It was a 1991 laptop, so you can imagine it in all its blue-and-grey LCD floppy disc, 80-pounds goodness. And we loved it.

As you can imagine, we were doubly excited because we’d already been resigned to the fact that we weren’t getting anything that year, but we did get something and it was the best thing anyone could ever have! No one knew anything about computers or the Internet or anything in 1991, so it was mostly used to play a couple rudimentary games about landing a plane on an aircraft carrier and an adult Space Invaders knock-off where you shot boobs out of the sky with a penis-shaped space ship. We’re talking class here, my babies.

We enjoyed that awesome computer for about two months until the giver asked to take it back for upgrades. Upgrades?! Hell yeah! And we never saw that computer again. We asked a couple times about it but soon realized that perhaps we were just patsies holding onto a hot Compaq laptop until the coast was clear.

So that was that.

Twenty-four years later, this experience is a lot less tragic and more of a punch line to us about optimism growing up and the evil that men do. Because some people believe there is only optimism and pessimism. But people who have had their awesome 1990s Christmas laptop given then taken under false pretenses realize that there is a grey area. A world that is just as real, but not as brightly lit.

But you get over it. It’s hard sometimes, but you do. I can buy my own laptop now. It’s pretty sweet.

I hope that my “audience” consists of the type of people who are constantly on that emotional rollercoaster of ups and downs and further downs but keep getting back into line because there’s no other way to live. Hopefully your downs will be future punch lines. Remember: Sufferings are lessons. And sufferings at Christmas are super-awesome lessons that not even sexy middle-aged shapely green-haired divorcees can deny.

So go ahead and sweat the small stuff. Trust me, ignoring the small stuff does damage to your stomach. Eventually, you’ll be able to laugh. And build up a workable tolerance to the big stuff.

Merry Christmas!

(P.S. Though I rarely get any, I still really dig gifts. Visit my Amazon wish list early and often! I need a bike and protein bars and Pacific Rim action figures!)

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