During the holiday season of expressing gratitude, it is necessary for one’s own sanity to set aside time for self-care by practicing the time-honored Festivus tradition of the “Airing of Grievances.”
Festivus began in 1966 as an alternative to the commercialism of Christmas. Author Daniel O’Keefe created the holiday. His son, Dan O’Keefe, popularized Festivus in an episode of Seinfeld that he co-wrote. “A Festivus for the Rest of Us” features feats of strength, a Festivus feast, the “Airing of Grievances” while holding an unadorned pole, and “Festivus Miracles” – the celebration of easily explained events to make the mundane feel special.
To begin the “Airing of Grievances,” grab a pole. Any pole will do. The beauty of Festivus is the lack of expense and effort. Suitable poles are: fishing poles, snowshoe poles, north pole poles, utility poles, snowplow poles, irrigation pipes turned vertical, and that dancing pole Christmas gift from two years ago that has been leaning on the wall in the garage ever since.
(True story: At the outhouse races one year, I asked a woman on a scooter how she broke her ankle. She said her sister thought pole dancing lessons would be a fun Christmas gift.)
Let the airing of grievances commence.
Wind. I’m not talking about a refreshing breeze that gently stirs wind chimes and flutters the aspen leaves. I’m talking about mighty gusts that weaponize pine needles, turn pine cones into missiles, fell trees, crush minivans, lift the tops of beehives, whipsnap power lines, and shear off roofs.
Screws. Everyone has been screwed by a screw, or lack thereof. Screws wiggle loose from roofs, roll down eaves, and lay in wait on the driveway to become lodged in a tire. Unattended screws leave both roofs and tires vulnerable to sudden unexpected series of unfortunate events.
Out-of-date campaign signs. Strong gusty winds should focus on clearing up the scenery, not taking out useful infrastructure.
Smoke detectors. The batteries constantly need replacing at 3 a.m. on a school night. Or is that a school morning? The only rude awakening that is possibly ruder is a mighty wind dropping a tree on the house. Where’s the alarm for that?
Bright lights at night. The only thing more annoying than a smoke detector beeping at night is an obnoxiously bright light left on at all hours of the night. Bright lights block the neighbor’s view of a perfectly fine night sky and cause night blindness. For a list of dark sky friendly lighting choices, visit methowdarksky.org.
Being sick. Painful coughing fits, throats so sore it hurts to swallow, congestion that leads to terrible headaches and sleepless nights. After getting sick at least once a year for my entire life, I haven’t been sick in over 20 months. I attribute this healthy phenomenon to wearing a mask everywhere – it’s a Festivus miracle! Protect your loved ones by getting vaccinated for COVID and flu, wearing a mask while in public spaces, and testing after possible exposure. The greatest gift you can give your family is peace of mind about your health and theirs. Happy Festivus!