Twenty years ago on December 18th 1997 the world was first exposed to the holiday of Festivus. It was invented on a Seinfeld episode titled “The Strike”. In the show George and Frank Constanza introduce us to their unorthodox celebration of Christmas---which occurs every December 23rd. My Brother and Sisters have gathered together on this day for several years now. Festivus has a traditional meal but then includes such activities as “Feats of Strength” and “Airing of Grievances” ---all around an aluminum Festivus pole. It has become very much part of the “Pop Culture” here in this country.
In that vein I have decided to publish my inaugural “Air of Grievances” list. I will limit myself to a limited amount of topics so as not to alienate all of society. So tonight I would like to thank George and Frank Constanza for giving us a very fun way to celebrate the holiday. I wish you all a Happy Festivus and New Year. Enjoy the list--- but remember “I have a lot of problems with you people”
First up is the State of Illinois. I will try not to get too political with this list but I would be remiss not to mention the Bozo’s in Springfield, IL. (The original Rompa Room). We are a state run by corrupt Chicago politicians. It is the worst kept secret in the nation. It took you two years to get us a budget and no one I knows thinks you will produce one in an election year. People are fleeing the state in record numbers (Pennsylvania just passed us in population), we are broke and we export more college students than everyone but New Jersey. As the state remains in a financial death spiral our fearless leaders (I won’t mention their names but Santa knows them) continue doing nothing but adding to the problem while lining their own pockets. So for all that--- You are on my list Illinois.
Restaurants with bathroom “attendants” are up next. Just stop. I don’t want to have to pay some poor guy $1/2 when I have to go do my business or wash my hands during dinner. I don’t care how fancy your restaurant is –it is creepy. It is hard to perform what you went there to do with a guy in a chair three feet away sitting right there watching. Also, as much as I might need a douse of Aqua Velva or Old Spice mid-meal ---because he has every bathroom product known available to man (and that is just what your waiting date wants)—I am just not going to do it. So for the sake of the attendant’s dignity and ours let’s end this silly practice.
Sticking with the restaurant theme. Dear waiters and waitresses-----there is probably an even chance I am going to hate you anyway because you are on the phone with your BAE or playing grab-ass with the guy at the bar you want to date when you should be refilling my drink--- but that has become so common place I am being worn down. However, that isn’t what is getting you on the list this year. It is all of you that think you possess some sort of eidetic memory like Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory and somehow believe you should take the entire order of a table of eight without writing it down. Don’t kid yourself. You don’t work for NASA so don’t pretend like your memory has that kind of bandwidth. You know it will end badly for everyone when you bring back my hamburger with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions when I said PLAIN three times emphatically. Let’s make life easier for all of us and just write it down. No one will judge you. I promise.
Dear National Football League (NFL). You are on the list. I am calling you out. Here is the thing—I think you are on most people’s list this year. You are a bunch of “Fat Cat’ Billionaires Boys Club members that got greedy and now it is biting you in the ass. Remember before your marketing arm got in bed with the US Military about six years ago that teams didn’t even come out for the National Anthem. Then you were forced to bring players out in order to get the money. So shame on you—you have no one to blame but yourselves for this mess (No matter what side one takes when it comes to kneeling---everyone hates you on this issue). Also, thanks for taking the Rams out of St. Louis where people loved them in order to relocate them to Holly-Weird where Fox Sports has to pay fans to attend the pregame show and the stadium is only half full even with a Super Bowl contender on the field this year. May there be a pox on all your houses for that kind of self-serving, assinine maneuver. I am not even going to mention concussions and player's felony arrest records that are as long as a ten year olds Christmas list. That present under your Christmas tree this year Roger Gooddell is 50 million dollars’ worth of coal. Hope it keeps you warm at night as you search for your soul.
Saturday Night Live (SNL). You are on the list too. In case someone hasn’t reminded you lately---you have lost your way. I remember when you were funny in the good old days. Classic comedians and skits with great writers. You remember don’t you; Gilda Radner, Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Dan Akroyd, Eddie Murphy, Phil Hartman, Christ Farley, Jane Curtain, and Tina Fey to name a few. Now you simply ride a wave of hate and discontent in this country surrounding national politics. Then you send out a retread like Alec Baldwin each week in order to keep him relevant. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind if you do a skit once in a while on politics. Just spread it out---there is a a big buffet of buffoons out there on both sides to lampoon. Just be equal opportunist in your mockery and get back to your roots. We used to come to you to laugh. Be better. We need you to be better and makes us laugh again as a country (all of us).
Cable TV. Where do we even begin with you? Whether we are discussing Direct TV, Dish Network, Comcast, NetFlix, Hula, or Amazon Prime----you all leave us wanting something. Either we can’t get news or live sporting events or we have to take out a second mortgage on the house to do so. On top of all that your customer services sucks. I don’t care how many JD Powers awards you proclaim to have received. Save that crap for your investors. I am certain my name is flagged in every computer across the country when I call in for TV assistance. Also, I really like it, as someone who has been with you for almost twenty years, that you will give a way sweeter deal to someone you have never been with you at all. Nothing says customer loyalty like screwing your long term partner. Thanks for that by the way. The only thing that makes me happy is people are starting to ween themselves off your addiction. Maybe in my lifetime we will have real ale cart television. What are you going to do when you don’t have shows like Game of Thrones to save your ass or when Leroy Jethro Gibbs calls it quits after 30 years. I will be right there on my couch having a drink and toasting some old fashion “Living Room Justice” when you get whacked like Sonny on the Causeway. ----And don’t even think about raising my rates after reading this because I assure you I will exercise whatever energy is needed to combat that---plus I will wind up getting all new wireless receivers around my house at your cost. You know I will.
Lastly I am calling out Hostess. You are dead to me. You used to be the Cadillac of snacks. Now you are like a sad over paid star athlete we once loved that can’t live up to the expectations of yester-year. Twinkies used to be the cleanup hitter in your line up. Now it is a bench player that is literally half of what it used to be (at twice the price). I don’t care about your bankruptcy and re configuring of the company. No one else does either. We want our old Hostess back. The one where we had real aluminum foil around our Ding Dongs and it took more than one bite to eat our Cherry Pies and Crumb Cakes You used to be in every lunch box in America. You were a house hold name. You made kids and parents happy everywhere. You mattered. Now you sit sadly in the back of bad gas stations like you are on the Island of Misfit Toys for snacks. I weep for you and for us.
That concludes my list for this year. Despite all our grievances there is much to be thankful for this holiday’s season including family, friends, food, old dogs, spiced rum, classic books and hand rolled cigars. I hope that everyone reading this gets to experience peace, health, happiness and rest. I also hope the New Year challenges people to start making true connections with people (especially people different than you). The world needs that now more than ever. Happy Festivus. Now to the “Feats of Strength”
“Festivus is all too real”---George Costanza (Seinfeld)