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The Ghost of Christmas rubbish

"It must be the stress" i think to myself as i walk into my uncles house Christmas eve and say a few hellos, and see in the middle of the living room MY DEAD UNCLE...or is it great grandpa's brother.  i guess that would be GRAND-uncle.  Trying to deduce what exactly he was in relation to me is the only thing that kept me from going "AAAAAAHHHHH?!"

No one else was looking at him or reacting to him and he wasn't talking or reacting to anyone else. Okay, i'm hallucinating, THEN he came towards me as my cousin handed me a drink.  I slammed the drink and closed my eyes in hopes that the apparition would be gone when I lowered the glass.  I was never that close to the guy why would he haunt me?  He wouldn't...and if he is, how long has he been watching, I don't feel like answering questions or defending my actions to a ghost of a guy I barely know. Then I start to wonder what my actions and life look like to someone who doesn't know me, probably just as bad as it does to the people who do know me, but without the charm. How long does he watch? If he is only around for bits and pieces I probably look pretty awful. Like, if he didn't see all the things thatmy neighbors downstairs where doing to drive me nuts...and only saw me blowing a dog whistle into the heating vent at 3:00 am so their dog would bark and wake them all up every night for a week, then I am being haunted on a unfair assessment. Anyhow all this goes through my mind as i guzzled the drink.  I also start to think i need to relax more, I am clearly coming unglued.  all i do is work and watch survival shows about people stranded alone in the wilderness.  I am either alone or watching shows about people being alone.  not good.  


I pull back the glass and now a scant two feet in front of me is my dead great uncle, "merry Christmas" he says, and holds his hand out. I turn slowly to my left and right to see if anyone else sees him.  No one else is paying attention.  Which is annoying because I JUST GOT THERE.  There is a roomful of people who have not said "merry Christmas" or "hello" or nuthin.  What am I chopped liver?  no one gives a shit if Doug's here or not?  I was ASKED to come, I was INVITED verbally and via a card to show up.  I could be doing other watching the man vs wild marathon.  Instead here I am being ignored by everyone but the ghost of some old curmudgeon.  FINE...I'll shake HIS hand and say merry Christmas.  fuck it!  So i'm crazy. I'll shake the invisible hand or get pulled into hell or the twilight zone or whatever.

I say "Merry Christmas Uncle Ray" LOUDLY, shaking his hand one looks I dead? His solid.  I calmly sit down and deduce via conversations that where going on and asking a few round about questions that Uncle Ray didn't die his brother did. well...that's a relief.  I wondered if I should go and apologize to not dead uncle Ray for acting strangely "sorry if I was off-putting earlier, I could have sworn you where dead...see I never knew you that well, so I didn't bother going up to the casket to pray at you funeral, I just sort of lingered around until it was time to carry you out...turns out it was your brother."  Nah, i'll just let him think I'm rude, he'll be dead soon anyhow who cares what he thinks of me.

The bulk of the family is old people now, like in their 80's.  I hope that isn't hereditary, I had no interest in living past 30.  i'm just trying to run out the clock as it is.  One of the old ladies takes a bite of a Italian cookie and says "what is this? it's good"  my grandma annoyed says "it's called a pitsalli...we have them every year".  Grandma is mid 80's and in full control of her faculties and has no patience for the other elderly folks who are slipping 

"no...i never had this before it's good"  



" helped me make them when we where kids" 

At this point i am annoyed with both of them as they have the same argument every year. "You have the same argument every year" I say to grandma. 

"no we don't" i think she's starting to slip.

"...YES you do".

At this point i realize I SAY THE SAME THING EVERY YEAR IN probably none of us are slipping it's just the whole Holiday ritual of sitting in a room full of people you only see once a year and trying to come up with something to talk about.  It really is twighlight zone-ish, same scenery, same clothes same people in the same chairs with nothing new or different to say, you are just reliving the same incident over and over.

I eat some free food, have the same conversations over again that I had last year and the year before, and go home...checking the back seat in the rear view mirror occasionally half expecting to see some other dead person.  

thankfully the back seat was empty.  If by empty you mean loaded with crap I bought at an estate sale that morning when I should have been Christmas shopping, but I like to think in my own way by buying a couple of boxes of some dead guys broken tools and some books I'll never read that I did make someone's Christmas a little more merry.  That's 20 dollars less they have to come up with when they pay for the funeral.  I suggest they take a good look in the coffin thought.


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