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As surely as "Bah" is followed by "Humbug," this year's holidays will leave you in the unavoidable Puddle of Neurotic Depression (PND). Inevitable as the PND may be, however, this is still the season of giving. Therefore, please accept our seasonal gift to you: a small basket of fantasies to open as you trudge through your miserable holiday paces. Not only are these goodies free, they're endlessly reusable, safe, and effective!
Reality: Noisy children, or even just one loud brat, running/screaming madly for hours through the house you are unlucky enough to be visiting at the holidays.
Relief: You're at the summit of a vast, remote mountain. You are relaxed and serene. There is a distant sound of darling little birds chirping gently. Despite your being at the summit of a mountain, the weather is perfect: 75 and sunny, low humidity, gentle breeze. Absolutely no bugs, except maybe a harmless butterfly or two. Oh, and there's a gorgeous, fully furnished house, including the coolest vanishing edge pool (heated) in the back.
Suddenly, a very handsome man-in fact he bears an uncanny resemblance to George Clooney-appears before you. The most amazing sex ensues. It ensues all day, into the night, and on into the next day. Then, when you're really hungry, because of that which ensued, you discover a fabulous spread in the dining room. You and "George" indulge and then watch movies in the private screening room. Ocean's 11. Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou, Ocean's 12. Then the man pulls off his George Clooney disguise to reveal-George Clooney! More sex ensues to celebrate this excellent discovery. Rerun entire fantasy with it really being George.
Reality: Obnoxious aunt of a friend whose holiday parties you should know better than to attend. Aunt is offering her unsolicited opinions regarding your manner of dress. ("Isn't black a little 'out' these days?" "Isn't that something a much younger woman might wear?" "I suppose you must attract lots of men with those short skirts.")
Relief: You're sitting on the white, sandy shore of a sapphire-blue ocean. The sea breeze softly rustles your sun-lightened hair. You tilt your head, eyes closed, up to the generous orb. You're wearing SPF whatever, so there's no fear of overexposure. Indeed, the natural Vitamin D shining down upon your glistening body has made you look years younger.
Suddenly, a very handsome man appears above your painted toenails. "Hello," says he, "I'm George Clooney. Would you mind terribly if I joined you?"
Before you know it, the most amazing sex ensues. Neither grain of sand nor obnoxious sand fly invades your glorious pleasures. Vaguely, you hear the distant cry of sea gulls.
About six hours later, both of you could eat a horse. Luckily, George's beach house is only 100 yards away, and a tremendous feast has been laid out in the living room, which has this fabulous view of the ocean. When you finish the last bite, George asks if you'd like to view outtakes in his private screening room. Indeed, you reply, but first George initiates another ensuing of amazing sex.
Reality: Flight delays strand you at the airport. You are headed to a family holiday that you know from experience will suck the big PND sour cane. You call your relatives from the airport to try to get out of it, but they assure you the festivities will be held until you arrive.
Relief: You are lounging on a Mediterranean verandah, gazing at the French Alps, whose peaks are partly veiled by a leisurely gaggle of clouds. Far below, a winding road wraps like a bracelet . . . oh, the hell with it-George Clooney, and you have amazing sex.
Reality: Home for Christmas with The Parents. Your mother corners you in the bathroom and asks when it is you will stop giving away the milk for free.
Relief: You. George Clooney. Ensue.
Reality: You foolishly accepted yet another holiday party invitation, and now are witnessing your ex-boyfriend nuzzling his new, dead-ringer-for-Charlize-Theron girlfriend.
Relief: Serve it up.
Reality: The friend you can never say no to has roped you into caroling at eight nursing homes in one night. By the third home, you realize your best years have passed into history, and this is where you're headed.
There, there, George made it all better.
© 2006 Kate Heidel
Kate Heidel is a freelance writer living in Minneapolis. Her work includes humor essays and poetry, genres so incompatible that Kate's resulting inner turmoil can only be soothed by frequent shopping trips to Designer Shoe Warehouse.
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