Monday, December 27, 2004

Festivus with my family. Well, Christmas has come and gone for another year, pretty uneventfully for me, although my parents allege it's been the most stressful yet. Cravenly, I didn't offer to help with the hellish Vic Market or Safeway excursions, and just as well really: they announced all the seafood was 75% off, and even though my dad ran to the department (this sight alone would have embarrassed me beyond belief) some crazy woman got all the prawns just before him. Seriously: she bought all the prawns! So my mum was forced to eat these little shrimps in lemon and garlic instead.

I had told everyone the night before that I was planning to get pissed at Christmas, but all I had was one glass of champagne, two beers and two glasses of sparkling shiraz, which only amounted to tipsiness. I was seriously hungover from the Bourgie Christmas party the night before - I had left at 3am, and I was woken up by screeching children who'd escaped the morning mass at the church across the road from my house. The first thing my dad offered me when I got to my parents' house was a glass of champagne and a ham and cheese croissant. I felt quite revived after this, but after the present-opening ceremony, I excused myself to have a "lie down". When I woke up two hours later, it was 4pm and Christmas dinner still hadn't happened. We didn't get round to eating until 5pm.

At about 9pm me and my brother Matt watched the director's cut of Donnie Darko, which I hadn't seen before, so Matt had to tell me which bits were new. I know I'm about two years late on this (I remember my then-officemate Sabdha was excitedly telling me about the website, so this had to be in 2002), but it totally blew my mink. I found the ending strangely dissatisfying but I couldn't think of an alternative way for it to end.

Now I should point out that my family celebrates a modified form of Festivus. We did not have a Festivus aluminium pole, nor did we make a special thing about the Airing of Grievances (this takes place at extremely regular intervals throughout the year). But sadly, the Feats of Strength have become a Festivus fixture. Last year there was an intense round-robin arm-wrestling tournament between my dad, my uncles, my brothers and cousins. In a nail-biting finish, my dad defeated my cousin Dan to reclaim the title of head of the family. He could barely move his arm for days afterwards.

This year we incorporated a new element, borrowed from The Office. The loser of the arm-wrestling had to throw the winner's shoe over my cousins' house. Dan threw Elly's fiance Joel's Birkenstock clear over the house from front to back. I was really impressed by this.

Dad had sat there quietly watching Dan take on Brendan and then Joel, but he just couldn't help himself - he had to repeat last year's triumph. You could see veins bulging on the side of his head and I thought he would have a heart attack, but he won the arm-wrestling again. Status quo - restored.

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