It’s getting to be crunch time.
Plans have been made, gifts have been bought, names have been dropped.
Any day now we will have to drive to some foreign place — out of our comfort zone — and see people we rarely see (and possibly their dogs), eat food that may or may not be tasty, and get all excited about the socks some one thought would be cute for you to wear.
We will watch bad television — because nobody ever watches what you want to watch.
“What show is this?” you ask.
“It’s the White Elf Queen of Christmas,” you are told.
With much gusto.
“I think there’s a bowl game on …”
“On no, this is the best part. This is where the White Elf Queen tells all the little elf children about the miracle of the green lily pad and how it saved the elven world from the Great Bear, Ronaldo,” you are told.
With much gusto.
It is moments like this that make joining the French Foreign Legion such a popular thing to do during the holiday season.
In fact, your host — who is telling you all about the White Elf Queen movie that she has obviously watched 100 times too many — is so filled with emotion at the prospect of what will transpire on her television for the next 20 minutes she is almost breathless.
“And then the little elf children will form a circle and sing … Sing their little hearts out,” she says, finally breaking down into tears.
Again, with much gusto.
You want to cry, as well.
You’re sure the Northwest Missouri State vs. South Portland University bowl game was going to be one of the best of the bowl season.
You want to go stand outside with some of your family members — the ones who smoke (because they are the only people allowed to leave the house while the little elf children sing high praises to the magic and wonder of the green lily pad and how it destroyed the Great Bear, Ronaldo).
“But you can’t go anywhere ... This is the best part,” you’re told.
You secretly wonder if this movie has a best part.
Unless, it’s when the final credits roll.
“I’m going to step outside, have a smoke,” you tell your host. She sees you, what? Once a year? You think she knows you don’t smoke?
Do you care if she knows or not? Not at this point because you see the little elf children on the television screen starting to get ready to sing.
You pretend you’re searching your coat for your pack of smokes because that’s what you’ve seen other people do.
Or maybe they were looking for ear plugs.
Either way, you’re faking it. If nothing else you can take those stupid socks and hide them in your host’s trash can.
That’s when you notice all the “smokers” outside.
They’re like … Twelve-years old, maybe as old as 16.
None are smoking.
They’re playing games on their hand-held electronic devices. None are smoking.
A couple are … Watching a bowl game? None are smoking.
“Oooooh, bless you, bless you. What’s the score?” you ask.
With much gusto.
Then you notice you’re almost breathless with anticipation.
And when you’re told it’s a three-point game and is sure to go into overtime, you actually feel yourself getting teary-eyed.
“Overtime?” you ask. “I bet it was a good game,” you say.
The smoker, who is maybe 15, looks at you with pity.
“Oh, it is a good game. Probably the best game of the bowl season and I watched it all,” he says.
Apparently, the kid’s been outside “smoking” for the better part of four hours.
Sure, it’s snowing. Sure, you’re holding a pair of goofy socks in your hand. Sure, tears are streaming down your face — though you’re not sure why.
Maybe because it’s the holiday season.
And it’s crunch time.