I wrote “Chumbug” several years ago, for “Xmas Sucks,” a performance event dreamed up by Thomas Roche, writer of noir, erotica and humor. “Xmas Sucks” ran annually in San Francisco for a few years, then fizzled out–but good news: it’s making a comeback this year, tomorrow night in fact (See below). I might make it there, but then again I might not, so I thought I’d resurrect “Chumbug,” first published on my blog in 2006. It tends to work best on stage, enhanced by ethnic gestures and my grandfather’s Yiddish accent — so use your imagination.
Modern Day Tulip Menorah
So, nu? It’s not enough that I’ve been hocked to death by Xmas for six decades, now it’s Chanukah too!
Have you noticed the way they try to pacify Jews with equal time for Chanukah? Televised menorah lightings side by side with The Tree towering over it. Dreidl dolls with curlable hair. Latke dinners at 25 bucks a pop. I guess it serves us right for draying that we don’t get equal time in December.
HELLO? I don’t want Chanukah any more than I want Xmas. Not only is it a minor holiday, it isn’t even politically correct: it commemorates some sort of Jewish war victory. No one even paid attention to it until Xmas gradually grew, like a virus, into what a friend of mine calls our National Disease.
I mean, Xmas isn’t just one day–it’s an event that lasts from October through January. That’s three months, or one-quarter of the year, or 25% of all the time we spend on this planet. I’ve done the math: If I live to be 75 I will have spent roughly 18 years coping with the anger, resentment and depression induced by the so- called Holidays.
The real tsuris is that I’d finally gotten a handle on it, when suddenly, after so many years of making me feel I should deny my ethnicity, Christians began pressuring me to become a Real Jew. Carolers arrived at my doorstep singing “O Chanukah” and “Dreidl, dreidl” in four-part harmony, demanding latkes. I got an ecumenical card that read “As we celebrate Xmas and Chanukah.” Children’s books on Chanukah spill from the shelves—I saw one in which Chanukah was interwoven with the birth of Jesus.When I objected to a wreath being hung in my office, the poor little girl hanging it let loose with an incoherent, maudlin story about the beauty of menorahs. Huh?
Fellow Jews, we must act, and fast, before a dreidl decorates every streetlight, before Day-Glo stars of David are used to invoke guilt and capture gelt. We must organize so that come next October, when electronic menorahs play “Little Star of Bethlehem,” we can rise up in unison and shout
Holiday blues got you down? Sick of news stories about how starving bankers have to give their kids dirty socks for Christmas or risk having the Bentley reposessed? Or do the Hannukah hornies have you planning a misanthropic holiday retreat with a bottle of lube and the The Book of Judith? At Christmas Sucks, five top-notch writers share their nasty holiday horror stories with you, trading holiday glurge and Christmas schmaltz for hardcore raunch and bitter winter depression, raising seasonal affective disorder to a sleazy and viciously satiric art. Sherilyn Connelly, Charles Gatewood, Carol Queen and Simon Sheppard join host Thomas Roche for a nasty reading of holiday discontent sure to leave you feeling warmer and sloppier than a dozen of Aunt Petunia’s moonshine-laced egnogs. Hosted by Thomas “The Bitch Who Stole Christmas” Roche.
Friday, December 19
The Center for Sex and Culture
1519 Mission Street @ 11th Street, San Francisco
Doors 7:30, show 8-10pm
No door charge, but a small donation requested to benefit the Center for Sex & Culture
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.