It is Christmas in four days, and a holiday tradition in my house is for our family to gather together and have my father share a christmas tale for us all. This year, he has passed the tradition down for me to share with the readers of the John Larroquette Project. This, however, is not the story of the first Christmas in Bethlehem, nor is it the fanciful tales of Rudolph saving Christmas. This is a delightful story of the shame and humiliation of my friend Kevin Sawyer.
This story takes place at my church’s Christmas banquet, where Kevin (one of the founders of the Alienating Boys Club) was emotionally skewered and made to be ashamed of his very existance. I’ve changed the names to protect the innocent, but let’s listen in to how Kevin tells the tale…
You guys will appreciate this. So last night at the Christmas ball, everyone’s dancing and having a great time…. Until they play a slow song (perfect timing, 4 days after I got dumped). So I slink off the dance floor like a shmuck a la Junior High, and everything’s going great. Then, out of the blue, Mrs. D asks me to dance with her. After about 30 seconds of this stultifyiing awkwardness, Mr. D shows up and Mrs. D says “I just wanted Mr. D to notice I was dancing with someone else.” and dances with him. Then, during the same song, my friend C comes up and starts petting my arm. Not really knowing what to do there, I ask her if she wants to dance, and she says, “No, I need to find my camera.”
I’m never going to church again.
And that, my friends, is the true meaning of Christmas – humiliation, embarassment, and impotent frustration all leading up to a renunciation of faith. I’m happy for Kevin that he has finally found the true spirit behind these holiday festivities. So many of us go through the motions without stopping to reflect on the paralyzing shame that has been shoveled on us by people in our lives. We buy gifts for loved ones and listen to Bing Crosby’s mellow tidings, but we rarely allow ourselves to be made invisible to the opposite sex and ponder a lifetime of bitter singleness.
It is my hope for all of you during this Christmas that you come to understand that this season is not about Santa, not about the manger and the lowing cattle, but about drinking deep from the vulgar goblet of rejection and swallowing the acidic wine of anguish until your gullet can hold no more.