Thursday, December 24, 2009

Melancholy Christmas

'Tis the season for heartbreak, brain damage, and reading about Nazi moms. Today I went shopping for stocking stuffers, a healthy alternative to stalking someone, particularly a certain heartbreaker, and while browsing dvds, pungent fumes assailed my nostrils and I felt woozy. I looked and saw some employees sweeping up some red dust and they just smiled at me like they weren't bothered by the smell. I think that red dust on the floor, whatever it was, is what gave me nightmarish nausea. I had to seek refuge in cosmetics, where my brain began throbbing and I seriously thought I would have permanent brain damage. I tried to focus on bottles of foundation, praying for my headache to go away. I imagined myself a human vegetable lying on a hospital bed, my mom saying, "She wanted to be a novelist, but after that fateful trip to Fred Meyer that will never happen."

Well, a couple hours later my headache left. My years working out in a boxing gym and getting punched in the face probably caused more brain damage than those fumes, but still,  it was no fun at all. I admit I am a grouch this Christmas. Today, on Facebook I made my status update, "Meriwether Falk wishes everyone a plague of frogs this joyous holiday. Ribbit." I added the ribbit so I would sound slightly less grouchy. Rather than having mistletoe on my mind, I'm thinking about the movie "Magnolia," in which a plague of frogs falls from the sky.

Perhaps my brain damage was kismet because I ate two packages of German cookies that were supposed to be shared by everyone tomorrow. I thought I'd be able to replace them, and not have to own up to eating them, but when I went to Trader Joes today, they were sold out! I had to buy pfeffernusse instead. Hopefully no one will yell, "Pfeffernusse!!?" in a fit of rage when I have to confess my cookie greed.

A Charlie Brown Christmas is playing and macaroni and cheese is in the oven, so things are not all bad. And my venomous relatives did not invite me to celebrate Christmas with them, so really I should count my blessings. I bought myself books at Powell's today, even though I should only buy things for other people. I bought "Shakespeare: The world as Stage" by Bill Bryson, "Livability" by Jon Raymond, and "Adverbs" by Daniel Handler. "Adverbs" looks especially fun. Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, named each chapter after an adverb. I had a writing teacher once who acted like the adverb police, circling every adverb with red ink. She encouraged her minions in the class to mirror the same prejudice.

Anyway, moving right along. I need a funny book to read next, because the last book I read was profound and disturbing. "Let Me Go," by Helga Shneider is a memoir about a mother daughter relationship delayed by the mother's job at Auschwitz. The mother is practically the antichrist, and yet through Shneider's relaying of their relationship, the reader can pity her, despite knowing the atrocities of her past. This book will make everybody wonder about the true nature of evil. I believe in sociopaths, but I also wonder if everyone is capable of committing evil acts. If people had the power to get away with whatever they pleased, what would the world be like? This memoir is absolutely amazing. I couldn't sleep last night because it was so good. I want to meet the author and shake her hand. I want to express my deepest admiration and respect to her for being so brave and honest while writing this book.

I sometimes get embarrassed when my mom makes animal noises in public but I have my lucky stars to thank that my mom doesn't brag about performing experiments on people. And thank God she doesn't beat me with a baton, although she did whack me with a tube of wrapping paper when I accidentally walked in on her wrapping one of my presents today. :)

Everyone should read "Let Me Go." It will depress the hell out of you, but it's totally worth it.

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