Remember that kid in elementary school... the one who always threw up? The one who was most likely to cry when the math problems weren't going well, and had that weird plastic doohickey on his pencil to improve his handwriting?
Well, shut up... that kid was my best friend.
There was one time, right around the holidays (or, "Christmas" as they call it in Colorado Springs, where I grew up, you Godless heathens!), we were sitting in class when he suddenly leaned over from his desk (which was of course at the front of the room, where the teacher could always keep an eye on him) and he hurled, all over the floor. This was a regular enough occurrence for him that they didn't even bother to send him home. He just went to the nurse's office for an hour and they sent out the janitor to powder the offending mess with those magic pink fairy crystals that solidify the offending matter into a more manageable mess for cleaning up.
Later, at recess, he confided in me, "It was the egg nog... I just couldn't stop drinking it..."
I've managed to mostly stay clear of the stuff, ever since then. I'm fond of eggs - omelets, poached, hard boiled. I like the yolks, the whites... but the act of sipping an egg's nog always makes me think unfavorably of Rocky Balboa. And that consistency... Oh, poor ol' Ralphin' Rick.
When I was a barista, egg nog lattes were the new holiday novelty, which gave the double decaf skinny mocha crowd a respite from their usual order. I, of course, scowled accordingly at any philistine who actually ordered one. It wasn't simply the fact that it was one mutation further away from actually being coffee; there was also the issue that when you steamed the 'nog, it made this unholy sound, like Santa's magic reindeer during mating season.
But here I am, all grown up now, with children of my own, looking to make our own traditions. So I figure, what the hell, let's see what all the fa la la is about. And if you're gonna get an egg nog latte, I figure there's just one place to go... that mother ship of all caffeinated bastardizations... STARBUCKS! At the drive up window, my wife actually came right out and asked the girls whether it was going to be disgusting. One gave the corporate approved answer of "it's not something that I enjoy...", but the other one seemed sincerely to like the stuff. I got a grande in one of their festive red holiday cups. I was hoping for a cup w/ the Armistead Maupin quote, but at least I didn't get the one with that "Purpose Driven" clap-trap they had to put on to appease the zealots.
You know, it was okay. Vaguely like a flavored latte (of the amaretto/vanilla variety, not the peach/lime variety) with the sensation of stuffing my head into a bucket of nutmeg at the end. I mean, I couldn't actually finish it, I dumped the last third of it onto the street, for-all-my-dead-homies-style, but it was ok. Lower case "o", lower case "k".
Maybe I'm just feeling generous. Could it be that driving through Capitol Hill, looking at Christmas lights with my family, my 5 year old son and I belting out Depeche Mode's "But Not Tonight" has put me in, dare I say it, the Christmas Spirit?
So that's it, folks. Fox News can go ahead and close up shop... their imaginary "War on Xmas" is over. I won. You know why? Because it's mine... and if I choose to celebrate it with 80's new wave music and Hanukkah candles and pagan rituals and Kwanza drums, you can't take it away from me.
I hope that everybody, regardless of what they're celebrating (or not celebrating) feels just a little bit of this, too.
And wherever you are, Rick... try and pace yourself on The Stuff.
About the Author
6 years ago