FDL Late Nite: The Airing of Grievances
Okay, during the early 1990's, I didn't get into Seinfeld. I was really busy, getting my doctorate in four years while simultaneously maintaining some inner mix of self-delusion, denial and willpower to sustain the notion that my latent attractions to men were just. . . a passing thing. You can say I was preoccupied. I worked a lot, didn't get out much. Too busy for dating or relationships, dontcha know.
So last night I'm out among friends and someone mentioned Festivus. Hmm. I heard someone bring that up in our comments recently. Then last night they mentioned the ritual "Airing of Grievances." That's when I knew I had my Late Nite topic for this evening.
The celebration of Festivus begins with the Airing of Grievances, which takes place immediately after the Festivus dinner has been served. In the Airing of Grievances, each person present at the celebration tells friends and family of all the instances where they have disappointed him or her that year (Though in "The Strike", only Frank does this, and even so, he only Airs Grievances about Mr. Kruger, as shown below;).
- Frank Costanza: I got a lot of problems with you people! And now, you're gonna hear about it. Kruger! My son tells me your company STINKS!
- George Costanza: Oh, god.
- Frank Costanza: Quiet. You'll get yours in a minute. Kruger. You couldn't smooth a silk sheet if you had a hot date with a babe….. I lost my train of thought.
Now, I have no brothers or sisters from my family of origin, though there are some poor souls who have more or less become saddled with me through no fault of their own along the way. My immediate family does not celebrate Festivus, so I sadly will lack the opportunity to air my grievances as part of any holiday revelry. Tonight, therefore, I shall air my grievances to the howling void of the Internets. In the comments, I invite you do do the same. What fun!
To my mother:
Mom, my problem with you is you're too generous. Seriously. Every year I have to come up with extra gifts for you to give me because, in fact, my wants are few, and you just don't feel good unless you're spending what I consider to be too much money. Now, I grant that I'm hard to shop for, because, well, my wants are few, but still. When I don't come up with enough extra stuff, you put money into things like that electric back massager that fits on a chair that I used for about two weeks after Christmas last year, after which time it no longer fit with the home decor (more on that below). You're too generous. You embarrass me, and I wish you'd save your money or give it to charity.
To my father:
Now, I know some of you won't like what I'm about to say. You're going to think I'm unkind to my father or not close to him, both of which are untrue. See, my Dad has suffered a few strokes over the years, and they affect him in a few ways. One of the most distressing, especially during a holiday dinner, is the way his nose runs. Big, wet gobs. And he doesn't really feel it, so he doesn't wipe it. Gross. What you also need to know about my Dad is he's at least as pigheaded as I am (where do you think I get it from?), and he hates to feel as if he's being treated like a child, even though his condition has made him more dependent in his age. It's very hard for him, and I thoroughly sympathize. Still, I don't like being snapped at when I ask you, dear old Dad, to please wipe your friggin nose! (I know I'm going to catch hell for writing this. I once thought of doing a post about "Great Moments in Politically Correct Humor," but I could never think of anything to include. Suggestions welcome).
To my partner:
When you ask me, dear, what I think about a potential paint color for the livingroom, can we please dispense with the polite fiction that you actually want to know? Hmm? Can we just get right to, "I want this color and don't you think it's great?", so I can move directly to "That's perfect, I love it!" and get the whole thing neatly over with? Also, as people around here probably know, I've been criticized for any number of things in my life, but among them is not any tendency not to say what I think or what I want, when asked (and sometimes, when not!). When you ask me something like, "How would you like to go to X restaurant?" and I say, "That's fine," and you then say to me, "No, nevermind; you don't really want to go," that bugs me. I'm not passive aggressive: I'm quite direct. Please don't infer intentions opposite of what I actually say. I'm not conflict avoidant. I'll tell you flat out if I don't feel like going to that hypothetical eatery. Really. I'm very flexible on a huge range of things, until we get to a zone where I'm just not. What's usually most important to me is the time together. I add to these grievances only that I love you madly and I can't imagine my life now without you. Please wear your seatbelt, even when I don't nag you.
See, wasn't that easy? Now it's your turn. Say to the Internets what you won't get to say at home. Get it out of your system. I'm actually a very happy, lucky guy. Oh, and if you want to include people like those with the fish symbols on their cars or the Bush bumper sticker porn all over the back of their Hummers who cut you off in traffic, go right ahead. This is not limited to family stories, though sometimes, those stories are the most fun. Humor begins at home.